11 Days To Kentucky Wildcats Football Kickoff: 1951 Sugar Bowl

With there being only 11 days till our Kentucky Wildcats kickoff their 2014-2015 campaign, I take you back to the last and only season Kentucky had 11 wins in a season. Their 11th win was against mighty Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. It also proves to be the only claimed national title that Kentucky has under their belt. Imagine that, a Paul “Bear” Bryant led team winning a national title. Kentucky would only come close to 11 wins one time and the was in 1977 when they had a record of 10-1.

Leading up to the Sugar Bowl game, Kentucky absolutely steamrolled teams in the regular season. The offense scored 393 points while the defense only allowed 69 points. They blew out Ole Miss 27-0, waxed Cincinnati 41-7, dominated #17 Florida 40-6. They had one loss the whole season and it came to that team in that ugly orange Tennessee who was ranked #9 at the time. However, that did not stop Kentucky from keeping their eyes on the prize.

Kentucky still became the SEC Champions and only dropped in the rankings from 6th to 7th. They were going to play Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl and for the National Championship. The Oklahoma Sooners were coming off a spectacular 31 game win streak at the time, and back then that was one of the best sports streaks that they have ever seen at that time. Maybe the Sooners were riding their high horse and overlooked Kentucky like they did 5 other opponents during Oklahoma’s and Oklahoma had to come from being behind by a lot to win those games.

What helped Oklahoma win 31 straight games and 2 national titles was their lightning quick split T offense. In the split T offense three running backs would line up about five yards behind the quarterback. The offensive linemen would form a fairly tight group in front of the backs. In the split-T, the offensive line was spread out over almost twice as much ground. This prompted the defensive front to widen as well, which created gaps for the offense to exploit.

Bear Bryant had another thing coming for them. Something they hadn’t seen yet, he used a multi look defense were sometimes 9 guys would be on the defensive line.

The game started and within 2 minutes Kentucky’s Quarterback Babe Parilli faked a hand off and dropped a dime to Wilbur Jamerson. Kentucky was up 7-0. On Oklahoma’s possession they drove to the Kentucky 31 yard line, Kentucky got it to 3rd down Kentucky defensive player Yowarsky dragged down the Oklahoma quarterback for a 12 yard loss. Kentucky’s ball. Parilli threw a beautiful pass to streaking Al Bruno who took an Oklahoma defender down to the 1 yard line. The very next play Kentucky punched it in. Kentucky missed the extra point and would now lead Oklahoma 13-0.

Here came Oklahoma. Back on their heels now, Oklahoma knew that they must score. That’s exactly what they did. Late in the second half Oklahoma would drive to the Kentucky 17, and from there the Sooners quarterback threw a 17 yard touchdown. To draw the lead closer, 13-7. On Kentucky’s next possession they couldn’t get anything going and had to punt. Oklahoma was in prime position to drive down the field and win the game. But, like during the regular season, Kentucky’s defense was stout and Oklahoma couldn’t score thus giving Kentucky the victory and crowning Kentucky the 1951 National Champions.

That was Kentucky Footballs first national title and their last. Will we ever see Kentucky win another national title? With Mark Stoops, who knows. We can only hope.

Let’s have a great season this year Big Blue Nation and Go Cats!!!

Tags: 1951 Sugar Bowl Football Kentucky Wildcats

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