On This Date In UK History
Special Thanks To Big Blue Booyah
... in 1997, my hometown friend Craig Yeast made one of the most memorable catch-and-runs in Kentucky Wildcat football history when he caught a pass and raced 26 yards for the game-winning touchdown against Alabama. This was the first victory over Alabama since 1922..........read that again........75 years between victories. It also marked the first time in history the goal posts at Commonwealth Stadium had come down. The goal posts were carried around campus that Saturday night and gave birth to a whole new generation of Kentucky football fans. In the overtime, Tremayne Martin caused a fumble and Jeremy Bowie recovered to set up the memorable Couch to Yeast game-winner. Yeast came to the sidelines and demanded Hal Mumme throw him the ball, a story that can only grow as time passes. This game was recently named as the #3 most memorable football game in program history by the Herald-Leader’s Mark Story.
...in 2008, former Kentucky head football coach Bill Curry was named the recipient of the President Gerald R. Ford Legends Center Award. To be eligible for the award, the recipient must have either played the center position in college or as a professional and made extraordinary contributions to his team during his playing career. Whether or not you agreed with his play calling as the University of Kentucky head coach, you have to give it up to the man for being an outstanding football mind and a great football ambassador. He played in three Super Bowls and two Pro Bowls and was the center for such greats as Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas. He played under coaching greats Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, and Bobby Dodd.
... in 1999, Kentucky’s much maligned defense help key an upset of #20 Arkansas at Commonwealth Stadium. The defense forced three turnovers in what would become the first victory over a Top 25 team since 1993. Through the first four weeks of the 1999 campaign, the Wildcat defense had given up an average of 393 yards and 36 points per game. Defensive coordinator Mike Major held a Friday night meeting and showed his players an article from Friday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reading, “UK defense may be cure for UA’s ills.” The power of telling college kids how crappy they are can never be underestimated. Dusty Bonner completed 19-31 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns to key the Wildcat offense. The defense was led with interceptions by Marlon McCree and Anthony Wajda, ten tackles by Jeff Snedegar, six pass break ups by Eric Kelly, and a blocked field goal by Harrodsburg-native Dennis Johnson.
... in 2007, the pollsters advanced your University of Kentucky Wildcats to #8 in the most recent AP and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 rankings. This was the highest ranking for the football Cats in 30 years. The last time Kentucky was in the Top 10 was as the season ended in 1977, occupying the #6 spot. The 5-0, (1-0 SEC) start was the best start since 1984, also a 5-0 start. The Wildcats were 10-1 in the last 11 games dating back to 2006, the best stretch since the 10-1 record in 1977. They were halfway rewarded with a Thursday night ESPN game at #11 South Carolina (4-1). It ended up being a missed opportunity on a national stage as Eric Norwood frustrated Andre Woodson all night. Norwood tied an NCAA mark by returning two fumbles for touchdowns. The win pushed Steve Spurrier’s all-time record to 15-0 against the Cats. Woodson ended with 227 yards passing, while Rafael Little added a fifth 100-yard game in six games, finishing with 135 yards rushing in Columbia.
...in 2000, Kentucky head coach Orlando “Tubby” Smith earned a gold medal as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic basketball team in Sydney, Australia. He was the latest in a long line of Wildcats to earn an Olympic gold. In the gold medal game, Alonzo Mourning and Kevin Garnett keyed the Americans down the stretch to pull away from the French 85-75. For the third straight Olympiad the American’s team was chock full of NBA players. While the U.S. used a mixture of professional and collegiate athletes for the international tournaments and trials leading up to the games in 1998-99, the roster was mostly chosen off performance from the 1999-2000 NBA season. Tubby Smith joined Adolph Rupp as the only Kentucky head coach to win a gold medal.
...in 2000, it was determined by internet voting the University’s new three year-old male bobcat would be named “Blue”. Fans of all ages went to ukathletics.com and voted over 48,000 times. The voters had three names in which to choose: Blue, Tucky, and Champ. “Blue” edged out “Tucky” by just under 1,300 votes. “Blue” lives his life just west of Frankfort at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Salato Wildlife Center. He is also available for public viewing. According to Ukathletics.com, “Blue” was not the first official live mascot as the first one was given to the University in 1921. His name was “Tom”. Other names for the live mascot have been: “TNT”, “Whiskers”, “Hot Tamale”, “Colonel”. “Blue” was born and will continue to be raised in captivity. For more information on the Kentucky Wildcat mascot, contact Wildcat or Scratch.
...in 2002, the Wildcats fell just short in The Swamp in a 41-34 loss to the Gators. Kentucky used a 28-point third quarter to take a 28-25 lead late, but it wasn’t meant to be as Florida dodged another bullet in the Kentucky series. Derek Abney led the Cats with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and later added a 49-yard punt return for a touchdown to key the special teams. Even though Kentucky was in the game late, their offense struggled, mustering only 268 total yards. The Gators amassed 509 total yards behind Rex Grossman’s 375 yards passing. Taylor Jacobs added 12 catches for 183 yards and Ernest Graham ran 102 for the balanced Florida attack.
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... in 1997, my hometown friend Craig Yeast made one of the most memorable c...
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