TV Time Out

Still amazed by Kentucky's win over Tennessee

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

In the words of the great Jack Buck, "I don't believe, what I just saw." Buck, the Hall of Fame baseball announcer, uttered those words as Kirk Gibson rounded the bases in the 1988 World Series, after homering for the Dodgers. More than 24 hours after watching Kentucky knock off Tennessee, 10-7, for the first time in 26 years, those words are still rattling around in my head.

In the words of the great Jack Buck, "I don't believe, what I just saw."

Buck, the Hall of Fame baseball announcer, uttered those words as Kirk Gibson rounded the bases in the 1988 World Series, after homering for the Dodgers.

More than 24 hours after watching Kentucky knock off Tennessee, 10-7, for the first time in 26 years, those words are still rattling around in my head.

I've never witnessed a more remarkable game, which featured some pretty gutsy and inspired play from the home team.  With all the WIldcats were facing-- ending their streak of futility against the Vols, knocking Tennessee out of a bowl game, overcoming the emotional pregame senior ceremonies and trying to give UK fans a reason to believe in this group and its coach -- it's a game that simply defies logic.

Oh.  And add to that list the Cats didn't have a quarterback.

Unless, of course, you count wide receiver Matt Roark, who last played the position in high school, where, according to his coach then (and his coach now), he was pretty good doing it.

This is the same Roark who earlier in the year couldn't catch a cold, had so disappointed the coaching staff that he slid to the bottom of the depth chart, only to climb all the way back to the top to regain his starting position.

The same Roark, who at North Cobb High School was so talented a quarterback, that his coach there, Tee Martin, said Roark could have played at Oregon.

But instead, ended up in Lexington.  And in his final game as a Wildcat, orchestrated one of the most memorable wins in UK history.

The last time UK beat Tennessee, Joker Phillips was a receiver for the Cats.  Bill Ransdell was the quarterback. 

Since then, not Tim Couch, Dusty Bonner, Jared Lorenzen or Andre' Woodson, to name a few, have been able to solve the Vols.

But a wide receiver did. 

Thanks to injuries to Morgan Newton (he'll have shoulder surgery this week) and Maxwell Smith ("He's broke," said Randy Sanders), and the graduation of Tyler Sargent and the redshirt on Bookie Cobbins, the Cats found themselves without a quarterback heading into the last game of the season.

Enter Roark.

Phillips said the decision to play Roark at quarterback was made on Tuesday.  The staff gave Roark a handful of plays and told the UK offensive personnel it would be a game of two yards here, theree yards there. To beat Tennessee, it was going to take guts.

The Wildcats displayed that and carried out the meager gameplan perfectly.  Seniors made plays -- Winston Guy had a season-high 14 tackles, Ronnie Sneed and Taiedo Smith had interceptions.

But it was Roark who shined brightest.  He passed for just 15 yards, but ran for 124 on 24 carries, all out of necessity. 

So hats off to the Cats -- the players and the coaches -- for one of the most improbable wins ever.  In an otherwise disappointing season, Saturday's game was a thing of beauty.

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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