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From the Pressbox: Recalling UK football's greatest upsets

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There's nothing fun about rehashing a dismal day at The Swamp last Saturday, so this week, we'll take a break from the current season and relive some memorable Southeastern Conference upsets by the Wildcats, given that the next opponent was the victim of one of those upsets the last time South Carolina visited Lexington.

These memorable moments are listed not in terms of the opponent's ranking but in terms of how unlikely the outcome seemed before kickoff.

2009:  Kentucky 34, Georgia 27


It wasn't a shock that Kentucky would knock off Georgia that season. The Cats had already won at Auburn and had only lost by four to Georgia the year before. But what made this outcome so surprising was the location - Georgia' Sanford Stadium. The Wildcats' previous win "between the hedges" had been back in 1977.

The turning point in this comeback win was a fumble that Moncell Allen forced on the opening kickoff of the second half. That led to points and ignited Kentucky's rally from a 20-6 halftime deficit.

Quarterback Morgan Newton threw touchdown passes to Derrick Locke and La'Rod King as Kentucky outscored Georgia 28-7 in that second half. UGA appeared poised to get a tying score in the final minutes but fumbled at the one-yard line. And after a UK punt, linebacker Sam Maxwell provided one of his many big plays of that season with a game-clinching interception in the final minute.

2010:  Kentucky  31, South Carolina 28

South Carolina came into this game off an upset of top-ranked Alabama, but when you have Randall Cobb on your team, getting an upset win is not all that shocking.

And how he could get so wide open for the winning touchdown pass was quite amazing. Underrated quarterback Mike Hartline had to stand in and know he was going to take the hit from an oncoming rusher in order to hit Cobb and his payoff was getting to celebrate while lying on his back.

An injury that sidelined star runner Marcus Lattimore certainly compromised USC's chances but the Gamecocks led 31-10 at that point. Coach Steve Spurrier correctly stated after the game that the Wildcats just flat outplayed his team.

Current Cat and South Carolina native Cartier Rice played a key role in securing the win. With USC throwing into the end zone for the win on the game's final play, Rice deflected a pass into the hands of Anthony Mosley and the party erupted at Commonwealth Stadium, as the Cats had their first-ever win over Spurrier.

2006:  Kentucky 24, Georgia 20

Yes, Kentucky had just eked out a road win over Mississippi State but this matchup with Georgia came just three weeks after a 49-0 thrashing at LSU. I can tell you that Rich Brooks and his coaches were growing increasingly optimistic as this game approached, because of how the team's confidence had grown after that win at State.

Keenan Burton caught two of Andre' Woodson's touchdown passes but Matthew Stafford kept the Dogs on top until the final two minutes, when UK drove down the field and Tony Dixon punched in a short-yardage score.

But UK fans were uneasy about the time left for Stafford to launch one of those rallies they had seen all too often. Brooks often talked about working to change that mindset of dread in the final minutes of a close game and this game provided the opportunity to re-emphasize the new way he wanted his players to think. Somebody needed to make a play to clinch the game and cornerback Trevard Lindley stepped up with an interception to seal the deal.

2011:  Kentucky 10, Tennessee 7

I will always believe the fact that it was Thanksgiving week was crucial to this streak-busting victory.  In a normal week, UK's plan to use wide out Matt Roark at quarterback might have leaked out.  Instead, when Roark was taking snaps on UK's opening drive, Tennessee's coaches were confused and that enabled the Cats to get one of their two long drives of the day. This one resulted in a field goal and that turned out to be the margin of victory.

Roark earned legendary status with a performance that featured a 100-plus-yard rushing performance and the leadership to inspire confidence in his teammates that they could pull this off. Unlike last week's game, the coaches knew that Maxwell Smith was out from Sunday so they developed a plan tailored to Roark's skill set and he executed it to perfection, engineering a win that set off an unlikely rush-the-field moment at Commonwealth.

2007:  Kentucky 37, #1 LSU 31 (3OT)


Sure, Kentucky featured some future NFL talent but we're talking about the No. 1-ranked team and an LSU squad that would eventually win the national championship that season.

The common theme to all of these wins is that the Cats trailed at some point in the game and with UK behind the fourth quarter, it was Lindley - again - who provided a key play at a crucial moment. His interception led to a tying field goal.

In the third overtime, Woodson had a moment similar to the one Hartline faced against South Carolina in 2010 - delivering a possible game-winning touchdown pass while knocking you're about to get drilled by a rushing defender. Woodson deftly lofted a pass to Stevie Johnson and the Cats then needed only to keep LSU out of the end zone to get the improbable win.

Braxton Kelley's fourth-down tackle on Charles Scott stopped him short of the first down stick and Commonwealth Stadium erupted.

In a league like this one, the Cats are going to be provided with regular opportunities to produce memorable moments - like this Saturday, against a top 10-ranked South Carolina team.

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