Each day here at WBN, we are recounting our favorite UK football moments to countdown to kickoff. With 23 days left until we kick off in Commonwealth Stadium against UT Martin, it’s my turn to remind everyone of another high point (in my opinion) of UK football history. Like anybody else, I loved upsetting #1 LSU, I thoroughly enjoyed watching us beat Louisville, the Music City Bowl win over Clemson and my freshman year at UK when we broke the Tennessee streak (with a wide receiver at QB) was one of my favorite days- period; but those aren’t the game’s I’m recounting today.
My UK football game of choice was one Rich Brooks’ final games when the Cats went down to Georgia in 2009. Brooks was in his 7th season and Kentucky hadn’t won down in Athens since 1977. Our offensive coordinator was a guy you may remember (or try not to), named Joker Phillips. Our defensive coordinator was Steve Brown.
I remember this game well for two reasons; the first was the fact that this was one of my favorite Kentucky football rosters that I can remember. Freshman Matt Smith was the backup center, at WR Chris Matthews with LaRod King behind him, John Conner (All-American first team that season) at fullback along with Derrick Locke and Alphonso Smith and of course the man, the myth and the legend himself- Randall Cobb (All-SEC first team). We also had one of our better defensive lineups that I can recall that year with freshman Taylor Wyndham at end, Corey Peters at nose tackle (Mister Cobble was third string), Ricky Lumpkin Jr. at defensive tackle, Collins Ukwu was the second string end on the other side, Randall Burden was a sophomore starting corner, Micah Johnson was starting MLB, Trevathen (sophomore) was weak side LB, and SS was Winston Guy (sophomore). Joe Mansour was your freshman kicker, Alphonso Smith and Derrick Locke returned the kicks and Randall Cobb was on punt return. A majority of the guys mentioned played some form of professional ball- several still are and the true freshmen from this year have just left UK.
My second reason this game is so memorable (besides the fact that it was awesome and we won on the road at UGA), was because I was watching this game on my couch…smack between two Georgia fans (i.e. my step dad and his brother). We all know the usual SEC banter: some fan of a “football” school tells us we are terrible, I argue that we have great running backs (see Randall Cobb) and our record is decent, blah blah blah, we can win. They reply stick to basketball…any Kentucky fan knows how it goes; this game was no different.
UK headed down to Sanford with a 6-4 record with only two conference wins (Auburn and Vandy). Official attendance at Sanford that night? 92,746. Kentucky came out aggressive scoring on a pass from Morgan Newton to Locke putting them up 6-0. They opted to go for two, but the conversion failed. Georgia wrapped up the first quarter with a field goal, ending the first quarter 6-3. The second half, things got a little ugly and Georgia had 17 unanswered points leaving us with a 14 point deficit at halftime. Coming out of the half, Cobb scored on a 12-yard touchdown and LaRod King caught a 21-yard pass from Newton to make the score 27-20. The Wildcats shut out the Dawgs in the 4th, with 14 unanswered touchdowns- one from Locke and one from Cobb, giving us the final of 34-27. Cobb had just 40 rushing yards and one reception for 19, but two TD’s. Locke had 80 rushing, 2 receptions for 80 and two TD’s as well. Newton had 137 yards going 9/17 with 3 TD passes. It was that famous Kentucky defense that made the big difference for the Cats- d-lineman Shane McCord had an INT with under 10 minutes in the 4th. Georgia fumbled on the Kentucky 2 with 5 minutes remaining and Trevathen recovered, and linebacker Sam Maxwell intercepted another Georgia pass with 1:45 that all but guaranteed the victory.
At this point, I went into all out taunt-the-Dawgs mode like any 16 year old female football fan in a room full of Georgia-natives would (I think). I remember being on the edge of my seat most of this game and nothing but excitement from that first TD, to feeling like it was hopeless going into the half, and rallying in the 4th for an exciting win.
Kentucky rounded out that season falling to Tennessee at home and losing to Clemson in the Music City Bowl; they ended with a record of 7-6. Some more fun facts for that season: commits from that year included Bud Dupree (a scout 2-star), Avery Williamson (also a scout 2-star), Raymond Sanders, Mike Douglas, and Tyler Brause. 2006-2009 Kentucky was 2-2 against Georgia and until this point we have not beat them since this fateful game (2012 was the closest in my opinion). This season I firmly believe the Cats could get the Georgia upset; a good deal of the seniors/upperclassmen are from Georgia (that’s where Joker primarily recruited) and frankly are tired of losing to their home state’s team, Georgia has lost a good number of players due to team violations, in addition to Aaron Murray being gone, and we play them at home this season.
If you remember this game, tweet me and let me know, or let me know your favorite Kentucky football memory. Like most of the BBN, I’m hoping in 23 days the Cats can start their journey to giving us some new favorite football memories as well.
Tags: Avery Williamson Bud Dupree Countdown To Kick Off Danny Trevathen Derrick Locke Joker Phillips Kentucky Football LaRod King Micah Johnson Randall Burden Randall Cobb Rich Brooks SEC Football Trevard Lindley UK Football University Of Kentucky Football Winston Guy