Kentucky Football Bowl Teams
Overall Bowl Record: 8-7
Dec. 6, 1947 - The Kentucky Wildcats made their first appearance on the bowl scene in the 1947 Great Lakes Bowl and came away with a 24-14 victory over Villanova before a crowd of 14,908 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
Kentucky, in its second year under head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, finished at 8-3 on the season with the victory.
Quarterback-placekicker George Blanda gave Kentucky an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Blanda connected on a 27-yard field goal to put the Cats up and it remained that way until halftime.
In the third quarter, UK’s Jim Howe scampered 29 yards for a score. Blanda added the PAT and Kentucky led 10-0 after three periods.
Bill Boller scored both Kentucky touchdowns in the fourth period, romping 15 yards on a handoff from Blanda and racing 49 yards to paydirt with an interception. Blanda added both PATs to round out the Kentucky scoring.
Villanova also added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, but it was not enough as Kentucky captured its first bowl victory in school history.
Jan. 2, 1950 - Kentucky committed three turnovers and let a seven-point halftime lead slip away in dropping its first major bowl game, 21-13, to Santa Clara in the 1950 Orange Bowl before a crowd of 64,816.
The Wildcats, 9-3, scored their first touchdown early in the second quarter as a result of a Santa Clara turnover. UK’s John Netoskie recovered at fumble at the Wildcat 49 to set up Kentucky’s first score. The Wildcats drove 51 yards in 14 plays as Wilbur Jamerson hammered over from two yards. Bobby Brooks added the PAT to make it 7-0.
Kentucky wasted a golden scoring opportunity late in the second quarter when Babe Parilli found Bill Leskovar for a 45-yard completion to the SC 3 with time running out. Leskovar and runningmate Don Phelps each were stopped short on their respective rush attempts and the clock ran out before UK could score. The Wildcats led 7-0 at halftime.
UK coach Paul “Bear” Bryant said afterward he should have sent in a pass play just before the half. “If it failed,” he said, “the clock was killed then we could have tried a field goal.”
A short, 9-yard punt by Phelps set up Santa Clara’s first score in the third quarter. After taking over on the SC 46, Bronco quarterback John Pasco hit Larry Williams on a 25-yard pass. Santa Clara eventually scored on a one-yard sneak by Pasco to tie the game, 7-7.
Santa Clara scored again later in the third period, thanks in part to a pass interference call against Kentucky. Hall Haynes went over from 4 yards to make it 14-7 after three quarters.
Parilli led Kentucky right back, hitting Emery Clark on a 52-yard touchdown strike. Brooks, however, missed the tying PAT, breaking a personal streak of 18 straight, as Santa Clara led 14-13 with 12 minutes left in the contest.
Santa Clara managed to hold off the Cats and added an insurance score with less than a minute left, a 16-yard TD run by Buster Wraith.
Jan. 1, 1952 - Kentucky arrived on the national football scene and stunned national champion Oklahoma, 13-7, to capture the 1951 Sugar Bowl before 82,000 at New Orleans.
The Wildcats, 11-1, displayed a tough defense and opportunistic offense in snapping Oklahoma’s 31-game winning streak, the longest in the nation at that time. More than 13,000 Kentucky fans made the long trip to New Orleans to watch the Southeastern Conference champions pick up their school record 11th win.
Under the direction of coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, Kentucky continually confused the favored Sooners with different defensive looks. The Wildcats used three tackles much of the time, causing OU quarterback Claude Arnold to hasten his playmaking.
Inflicting the most damage on the Sooners was Walt Yowarsky, a tackle who had played less than five minutes on the defensive side of the football in 1950. Yowarsky operated at left end, next to Outland Trophy winner Bob Gain, and repeatedly sliced into the Sooner backfield to break up passes and to make Arnold hurry his hand-offs and laterals.
Yowarsky recovered a fumble on the OU 22 that set up UK’s first touchdown. On the very next play, Babe Parilli hit Wilbur Jamerson in the right corner of the end zone for the touchdown. Gain added the PAT to make it 7-0 in the first quarter.
Kentucky marched 81 yards in the second quarter to go up 13-0. Jamerson dove over from the one to cap the drive, but Gain missed wide on the PAT.
The Wildcat defense, ranked number two in the nation, showed Oklahoma why late in the third quarter. The Sooners drove 67 yards with the second-half kickoff, sitting at the UK 3 with a first-and-goal. Yowarsky helped UK turn back the Sooners, throwing an OU runner for a five-yard loss on third down and Oklahoma eventually turned the ball over on downs.
Yowarsky, voted the game’s MVP, thwarted another OU threat in the fourth quarter as he recovered a fumbled punt.
Oklahoma did score with seven minutes to play as Billy Vessels hit Merrill Green on a 17-yard pass for the touchdown. Jim Weatherall added the PAT.
The Wildcats managed to hold on to the football for all but one play the rest of the way to claim a stirring 13-7 win.
Jan. 1, 1952 - Quarterback Babe Parilli threw for two touchdowns to lead the Kentucky Wildcats to a 20-7 victory over the TCU Horned Frogs in the 1952 Cotton Bowl before a crowd of 75,349 at Dallas, Texas.
Parilli, who completed 8 of 20 passes for 85 yards, tossed both touchdown strikes to Emery Clark. With the victory, the Wildcats ended the season at 8-4.
Kentucky got on the scoreboard first, as Parilli found Clark for the first of two TDs. Parilli hit Clark with a five-yard toss to culminate a 53-yard scoring march. Harry Jones added the PAT and Kentucky led 7-0 after one quarter.
In the second period, UK got its second touchdown when Parilli and Clark hooked up again. This time, Parilli found Clark on a 13-yard TD strike to cap a 57-yard drive. Jones missed on the PAT attempt and UK settled for a 13-0 lead in the second period with a little over 10 minutes left.
The Wildcat defense made that 13-point lead stand up until halftime as the Horned Frogs drove four times deep into UK territory. Led by All-American guard Ray Correll, the Wildcats turned TCU away on drives to the UK 4, 24, 5 and 2-yard lines to take a 13-0 lead at intermission.
TCU’s Bobby Jack Floyd sliced the UK lead to 13-7 when he galloped 43 yards on a sweep. Floyd’s run capped an 80-yard scoring drive which took only four plays. Keith Flowers added the PAT with 1:12 left in the third period.
Kentucky ended any thoughts of a TCU comeback, thwarting the only two Horned Frog offensive drives in the fourth period and scoring an insurance touchdown as well. Ed Hamilton sealed the UK victory with a three-yard score off left tackle with 3:33 left. Jones added the PAT for the final 20-7 score.
Dec. 31, 1976 - Kentucky tailback Rod Stewart scored three touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 21-0 blanking of North Carolina before a sellout crowd of 54,132 in the 1976 Peach Bowl at Atlanta, Ga.
The Wildcats, after a 25-year absence from the post-season bowl scene, returned in fine fashion as Kentucky completely smothered the Tar Heels. Kentucky outgained North Carolina 334-108 in total yards, limiting the Tar Heels to just five first downs and forcing five UNC turnovers.
After a scoreless first half, Kentucky went to work in the third period after UNC quarterback Matt Kupec fumbled at the Tar Heel 21. UK’s James Ramey recovered and the Wildcats were in business.
Seven plays later, Stewart busted over from the one for the touchdown. John Pierce added the PAT and Kentucky led 7-0 after three quarters.
Stewart sent the 37,000-plus Kentuckians, who had followed UK to the Peach Bowl, into a frenzy with his second touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats marched 57 yards in 9 plays as Stewart capped the drive with a 13-yard gallop behind All-American tackle Warren Bryant. Pierce was good on the PAT and Kentucky led 14-0 with 13:01 left to play.
The Big Blue had to go only 47 yards for their final score. Kentucky faced a fourth-and-one from the UNC 3 with a little over three minutes remaining. Once again, Stewart (104 yards on 19 carries) got the call and he picked up both - the first down and the touchdown. Pierce was true on the PAT and UK had put the game away.
Stewart tied the Peach Bowl record for most touchdowns and scoring with the 3 TDs and 18 points. He was named the game’s MVP. The Most Valuable Defensive Player of the game was UK linebacker Mike Martin, who helped hold the Tarheels to just over 100 yards.
Dec. 22, 1983 - Kentucky won much of the statistical battle but lost the war in dropping a tough 20-16 decision to the West Virginia Mountaineers in the 1983 Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham.
The Wildcats, in a bowl for the first time since 1976, outgained West Virginia 306-288 in total offense and held the edge in first downs 19-18 and passing yards 216-88. But 17 second-half points by West Virginia were too much for the Wildcats to overcome.
West Virginia scratched first as placekicker Paul Woodside connected on a 39-yard field goal late in the first quarter.
Kentucky countered with 10 points in the second stanza to take a 10-3 lead at halftime.
The Wildcats marched 54 yards in eight plays for their first score. Facing a third-and-three from the WV 26, Kentucky used some razzle-dazzle as Tony Mayes swept right, then threw-back to quarterback Randy Jenkins in the left corner of the endzone for the TD. John Hutcherson added the PAT and UK led 7-3 with 10:59 left in the second period.
Jenkins hit two big passes late in the second quarter to help set up a 32-yard field goal by Hutcherson. Jenkins connected with Joe Phillips for a 19-yard pass play and then hit George Adams for a 14-yarder as Hutcherson connected with 38 seconds left in the half.
WVU kicker Paul Woodside fooled everyone to begin the second half. Woodside tried an on-side kick to start the half and then recovered it to give the Mountaineers the football at the UK 48. Eight plays later, QB Jeff Hostetler found Rich Hollins for a 16-yard TD strike. Woodside added the PAT and it was 10-10 with 11:10 left in the third quarter.
West Virginia scored twice in a span of two minutes early in the fourth quarter to take a commanding 20-10 lead. Hostetler capped off a 10-play, 81-yard drive with a 2-yard scoring toss to Rob Bennett to make it 17-10 with 11:15 left to play.
Two plays later, West Virginia took over after an interception of a Jenkins pass at the UK 16. The interception set up a 23-yard field goal by Woodside as the Mountaineers went up 20-10 with 9:18 remaining.
Kentucky freshman quarterback Bill Ransdell led the Wildcats back, marching UK 92 yards in 11 plays following the kickoff. Ransdell hit Phillips for a 13-yard scoring toss to make it 20-16 with 5:50 left. Hutcherson missed the PAT.
The Wildcats got one more shot, but could get no further than the UK 37.
Dec. 29, 1984 - Kentucky’s Joey Worley booted a career-long 52-yard field goal with just under nine minutes remaining to give the Wildcats a thrilling 20-19 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in the 1984 Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham.
Worley, a freshman, helped Kentucky overcome a nine-point deficit in the second half with his school and bowl record field goal.
Wisconsin jumped on top early, scoring twice in the first quarter. Todd Gregoire nailed a 40-yard field goal just under four minutes into the game and Michael Howard hit Thad McFadden with a 3-yard TD pass. Gregoire added the PAT and the Badgers led 10-0 with 5:34 left in the opening period.
Gregoire added another field goal, this one from 27 yards, to make it 13-0 with 7:05 left in the second period.
Kentucky got on the board after safety Paul Calhoun intercepted a Howard pass to give UK possession at the Badger 42. It took Kentucky just five plays to score as Marc Logan went over from nine yards. Worley added the PAT to cut the deficit to 13-7 with 1:29 left in the half.
Wisconsin was not through. The Badgers used four running plays, two passes and a costly 15-yard penalty to move the football to the UK 3 with two seconds left in the half. From there, Wisconsin decided on a Gregoire field goal (20-yarder) to take a 16-7 edge at halftime.
Kentucky narrowed the gap to 16-10 on a 22-yard field goal by Worley with 11:28 left in the third quarter. But Gregoire responded with a 40-yarder two minutes later to move the count back to nine, 19-10.
Behind UK quarterback Bill Ransdell, the Wildcats marched 82 yards in 11 plays later in the quarter to get within two, 19-17. Ransdell hit Logan on a screen pass to cover the final 27 yards and with the Worley PAT, UK was back in it with 26 seconds left in the third quarter.
The next time Kentucky got the ball, Ransdell moved the Cats into position for Worley’s 52-yarder. Starting from the UK 22, tailback Mark Higgs got the call four consecutive times, then it was Adams’ turn the next four plays. Facing a fourth-and-two at the UW 34, Worley nailed the game-winner with 8:55 left.
Wisconsin came back and marched to the UK 8 with less than two minutes left. With the Badgers facing a fourth-and-six, Gregoire was called on for his fifth field goal attempt. This time, the snap from center was bobbled and UK had sealed the victory.
Dec. 31, 1999 - The Wildcats met the 24th-ranked Clemson Tigers in the 26th annual Peach Bowl and came within one minute of winning their sixth bowl in eight tries. But a Clemson TD in the closing seconds sent UK home with a 14-13 loss.
Kentucky took the opening kickoff and marched down the field to the Clemson two-yard line, where what appeared to be a QB Pookie Jones-to-WB Alfonzo Browning TD was instead a turnover when Browning fumbled the ball while attempting to extend it over the goal line.
Clemson took over on its own one and proceeded to march 99 yards for the game’s first score, a two-yard TD plunge by TB Emory Smith. The PAT gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead. Clemson ran the ball 15 times and attempted only three passes in the drive.
Kentucky was stopped again at the one-yard line before the Wildcats finally scored on Nicky Nickels’ 34-yard FG in the second period, making the score Clemson 7, Kentucky 3.
UK captured the lead early in the fourth quarter when Jones hit WR Mark Chatmon with a five-yard TD pass, making it UK 10, Clemson 7. Nickels added another FG, this one from 26 yards, to extend UK’s lead to 13-7. But after Dan Ariza’s 55-yard punt pinned the Tigers inside their own 18-yard line, QB Patrick Sapp hit Smith with a 57-yard screen pass to move Clemson into scoring position. With less than a minute remaining, LB Marty Moore intercepted a Sapp pass, but fumbled it back, giving Clemson a second chance. The Tigers capitalized when Sapp hit WR Henry Smith with the game-winning 21-yard TD pass. Kentucky got the ball back with less than 20 seconds remaining, but could move no farther than its own 40.
Jan. 1, 1999 - Playing on New Year’s Day for the first time in 47 years, the Kentucky Wildcats jumped out to an early lead, but the Penn State Nittany Lions rallied for a 26-14 victory in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
Although the game was played in Tampa, the Wildcats certainly felt at home. Heavy ticket demand gave the Outback Bowl its first sellout ever, as more than 40,000 UK fans were packed among the 66,005 patrons in Raymond James Stadium.
Kentucky got on the board first with 7:36 remaining in the first quarter. At the PSU 36-yard line, under heavy pressure, quarterback Tim Couch lofted a rainbow into the end zone that wide receiver Lance Mickelsen caught for a touchdown.
Later in the opening period, UK stretched the lead to 14-3 with a 64-yard drive, capped by a 16-yard TD pass from Couch to halfback Anthony White. Key plays on the drive included a 22-yard pass from Couch to wide receiver Kevin Coleman and a 30-yard aerial to Mickelsen.
From the second quarter, however, Penn State chipped away. Quarterback Kevin Thompson hit flanker Joe Nastasi with a 56-yard touchdown bomb. A second field goal from Travis Forney narrowed the UK advantage to 14-13 at halftime.
The Nittany Lions took the lead for good in the third quarter on two more field goals by Forney, giving him four on the day. Penn State put the game away in the fourth quarter with a 19-yard end-around TD run by Chafie Fields.
Meanwhile, the PSU defense shut out the Wildcats the last three quarters. Kentucky continued to move the ball, but three scoring opportunities came up empty - one on an interception, one on a missed field goal, and the other when the Wildcats were held on downs.
Kentucky actually outgained Penn State, 441 yards to 420. UK might have done even better, but the Wildcats offensive line was missing three senior starters, all of whom were replaced by freshmen.
Couch paced the attack by completing 30 of 48 passes for 336 yards and two TDs, completing his streak of at least 300 passing yards and at least one TD pass in every game this season. Running backs Anthony White and Derek Homer caught seven balls each. White totaled 101 yards on the day, with eight rushes for 61 yards and seven receptions for 40 yards.
Dec. 29, 1999 - Playing in back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 1983-84, the Kentucky Wildcats went down to the wire before falling to Syracuse, 20-13, in the HomePoint.com Music City Bowl in Nashville. Kentucky played before a heavily partisan crowd, as almost all of the 59,221 fans were pulling for the Wildcats.
Kentucky blazed to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. The Wildcats took the opening kickoff and maneuvered 79 yards for a touchdown. Tight end James Whalen set up the TD with a 45-yard reception and Kendrick Shanklin ran it in from the three-yard line.
The Wildcats held on defense, forcing a punt. Quarterback Dusty Bonner again drove the Wildcats inside the 10-yard line before settling for a 22-yard field goal by Marc Samuel. Whalen, however, was injured during the series and was lost for the remainder of the game. Already having caught four passes for 79 yards midway through the first quarter, his presence was sorely missed.
The Kentucky defense continued to stop Syracuse, including two fumble recoveries and a blocked field goal, but the Orangemen got on the board late in the second quarter. The Wildcats led at halftime, 10-7.
A scoreless third quarter led to a dramatic final stanza. Samuel extended the UK lead to 13-7 with a 35-yard field goal. Syracuse countered with two scoring runs by James Mungro, taking a 20-13 lead.
Kentucky got its last chance by taking over on its own four-yard line with only 1:35 remaining and no timeouts. Bonner did a great job of moving the team to the Syracuse 41-yard line, but ran out of time, and a desperation heave on the game’s final play fell incomplete.
Bonner led the UK attack by completing 30 of 43 passes for 308 yards and he also ran for 16 yards. In his final game as a Wildcat, running back Anthony White caught eight passes for 85 yards – both figures setting UK bowl records.
Linebacker Ryan Murphy led the defense in tackles with a career-high 15 stops. Linebacker Marlon McCree had an outstanding game. He tied his career high for tackles with 10, including two tackles for loss and a quarterback sack, caused two fumbles, and recovered a fumble. Defensive tackle George Massey (nine) and free safety Anthony Wajda (eight) each tied his career high for tackles.
The Wildcats blocked two field goals, one each by defensive end Dennis Johnson and another by linebacker Jamal White.
Dec. 29, 2006 - Nashville, Tenn. - Andre Woodson conjured up memories of Tim Couch and made Kentucky a bowl winner for the first time in 22 years.
Woodson threw for three touchdowns and 299 yards as the Wildcats surprised Clemson 28-20 in the Music City Bowl on Friday.
The junior completed 20 of 28 passes to finish his breakout season with 31 touchdowns - more than five times his total from last year. He joins Couch, the former No. 1 NFL draft pick, as the only Wildcats to top the 30-touchdown mark in a season.
Behind Woodson, the game's Most Valuable Player, the Wildcats (8-5) racked up their highest point total in bowl history. They won their sixth bowl game overall and first since beating Wisconsin in the 1984 Hall of Fame Bowl.
Kentucky made its first bowl appearance since 1999 in front of a huge contingency of Wildcats fans, many of whom made the 200-mile trip from Lexington.
Clemson (8-5) took the loss in its 18th bowl game since 1985. The Tigers hadn't ended their season in defeat in three years. Despite beating Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, the teams that played for the Atlantic Coast Conference title, Clemson went into a tailspin down the stretch, losing four of five.
While Kentucky's offensive fireworks weren't completely unexpected, a defense that came into the game ranked second-to-last nationally made the difference. The Wildcats held a 4-2 turnover advantage and limited Clemson to just six points until the final seven minutes when Kentucky used a prevent defense.
A large early deficit forced the Tigers, one of the country's best rushing teams, into passing situations. Running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller combined for just 77 yards, and Spiller fell short of the 86 he needed to make the tandem the first in school history with 1,000 rushing yards each.
After four straight second-quarter drives ended with turnovers - two for each team - Kentucky coach Rich Brooks sought a spark with a little razzle-dazzle.
Rather than punt from deep in Kentucky territory, punter Tim Masthay threw for the first down.
Woodson then lofted a deep pass over the Clemson secondary and found DeMoreao Ford streaking down the field for a 70-yard touchdown - the longest allowed all season by the nation's 12th-ranked defense.
Just over a minute later, Woodson threw a 51-yard pass to Steve Johnson but Lones Seiber missed a field goal to keep Kentucky's lead at 14-6 at halftime.
The Wildcats made it 21-6 early in the second half after a Clemson fumble. Woodson found Dicky Lyons Jr. on a sideline pattern for the 24-yard score and then put the game out of reach with a touchdown pass to Jacob Tamme.
Clemson cut the deficit to eight points with 44 seconds left when Proctor threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Kelly and added a two-point conversion. But, Kentucky recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
The Wildcats drove into Clemson territory on their first drive before Gaines Adams stormed through the line to strip the ball from Woodson. It was one of two sacks on the afternoon for the All-American, giving him 28 in his career to tie Michael Dean Perry for first on the Tigers' all-time list.
Phillip Merling picked up the loose ball and seemed to give the Tigers prime field position, but a replay showed Woodson's knee was down before the ball came out.
Kentucky took advantage of the second chance and freshman linebacker Micah Johnson, the state's top high school football player last year, scored his first touchdown from a yard out.
Proctor threw for three touchdowns and 272 yards, but Jad Dean missed two first quarter field goal attempts and an extra point after Durrell Barry's 32-yard TD reception made it 7-6 Kentucky.
Dec. 31, 2007 - Nashville, Tenn. - Andre Woodson threw four TD passes against a depleted Florida State defense and Kentucky won its second straight Music City Bowl, beating the Seminoles 35-28 on Monday for Bobby Bowden's first bowl loss in December.
Kentucky hadn't ended back-to-back seasons with bowl wins since 1951-52 under Bear Bryant, but the Wildcats pulled off the feat in Nashville one year after surprising Clemson, coached by Bowden's son, Tommy.
As for the elder Bowden, who has led the Seminoles to 26 straight bowls and two national titles, his December bowl record finally has its first blemish at 7-1-1. Bowden is major college football's winningest coach with 373 victories -- one ahead of Penn State's Joe Paterno.
Florida State was playing three dozen players short due to injuries and suspensions stemming from an academic cheating scandal.
Woodson capitalized on the missing depth and finished the season with 40 touchdown passes, breaking Tim Couch's school-record 37 set in 1998. It was the 19th consecutive game with at least 200 passing yards and a scoring pass for Woodson, a senior who figures to be among the first quarterbacks taken in the NFL draft.
The Wildcats took the lead for good midway through the third quarter on Woodson's 2-yard slant to Rafael Little, who ran for a season-high 152 yards on 28 carries. It was the 13th 100-yard rushing game for the senior running back, tying him for second on Kentucky's career list.
Antone Smith had a career-high 156 rushing yards for the Seminoles.
Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford pulled the Seminoles to 28-21 with 8 minutes left on a 1-yard bootleg run -- his first career game with two rushing TDs. Weatherford completed 22 of 48 passes for a TD and two interceptions.
Woodson immediately answered, dumping off a short pass that Steve Johnson took for 38 yards for his second TD reception. Johnson led all receivers with 126 yards.
Weatherford would add a TD pass to Greg Carr with just over 2 minutes remaining, and Florida State got the ball back at the 1-minute mark behind by one score.
Linebacker Micah Johnson appeared to come up with a game-icing interception, but a fumble gave the Seminoles another chance. Weatherford's last-second pass fell incomplete in the end zone.
Kentucky improved to 4-1-1 against the Seminoles in their first matchup since 1965. It was the first meeting ever between Bowden and Brooks, friends for nearly three decades.
The score was 14-all after a first half in which Bowden and others on the Florida State sideline gave the officials an earful after two close calls.
The Seminoles disputed an offensive pass interference call on Carr that negated a touchdown. Gary Cismesia wound up missing a field goal -- he didn't make any in the game and finished the season with 27, tied with Sebastian Janikowski for the Atlantic Coast Conference record.
Florida State got the ball right back after Carr's mistake, recovering a second fumble by Little. Kentucky ended that possession with a goal-line stand, but the Seminoles' Tony Carter picked off Woodson's next pass and returned it 24 yards to tie the game.
Kentucky appeared to pull ahead at the end of the half on a field goal by Lones Seiber, but Florida State was called for personal foul on the play. Brooks decided to try for the TD rather than keep the points, and Seiber eventually missed from 39 yards.
Kentucky scored first, taking advantage of a blocked punt. Woodson soon connected with a wide-open Jacob Tamme from 14 yards out.
The next time Kentucky had the ball, Little fumbled just short of the goal line. Carter grabbed the loose ball and ran 51 yards, stopped only after colliding with teammate Andre Fluellen.
Weatherford, not known for dashing speed, scampered 27 yards on Florida State's first play of the next drive and later ran it in from 6 yards out to make it 7-all.
Jan. 2, 2009 - Memphis, Tenn. (AP) - Ventrell Jenkins barreled his 285-pound frame 56 yards with the ball in his arm, but it would take some improvisation to reach the end zone and help Kentucky achieve history.
"I saw the quarterback coming and I knew I had to outrun him," the Wildcats' defensive end said. "I did two moves in one - a stiff arm and a high step, and the next thing I know, I was lying in the end zone with my team on top of me."
Who can blame them? This wasn't your garden-variety, go-ahead fumble return by a lineman.
No, this one gave Kentucky a 25-19 win over East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl on Friday, and gave the Wildcats a third straight postseason victory - a distinction not even Bear Bryant's teams were able to achieve decades earlier.
"I know it wasn't the Sugar Bowl or the Cotton Bowl like Bear Bryant, but it is significant," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "I'm very proud of these young men, the whole group of seniors. They accomplished something historic."
Jenkins was an unpredictable MVP after two straight Music City Bowl wins in which Kentucky's former record-setting quarterback Andre Woodson led the way.
Kentucky (7-6) never led in this one until the fourth quarter, when fellow lineman Myron Pryor , who had his own 72-yard fumble return TD earlier this year, forced a fumble with about 3 minutes left. In the scramble for the loose ball, Jenkins came up with it and rumbled down the right sideline untouched.
Lones Seiber's extra point attempt was blocked - the third blocked extra point of the game and second off Seiber's foot.
That gave East Carolina (9-5) plenty of time to drive for the win, but the ensuing kickoff was downed at the 1. The Pirates wound up punting four plays later, and Kentucky picked up a first down before running out the clock.
"I told our guys, 'We only need seven points,"' East Carolina coach Skip Holtz said. "I thought we'd find a way, but Kentucky did a nice job."
Coming off its first Conference USA championship, East Carolina jumped to a 16-3 halftime lead before failing in its attempt to win a third game this season against a team from a BCS conference. It had already defeated West Virginia and ACC champion Virginia Tech.
Moments before Jenkins' heroics, it appeared Kentucky might get the go-ahead score with another fumble return - albeit not nearly as long - by linebacker Micah Johnson . However, instant replay determined East Carolina quarterback Patrick Pinkney was sacked on the play by Memphis native Jeremy Jarmon , so the Pirates retained possession.
Even before that, the Wildcats' defense missed another chance at a game-breaking play in the fourth quarter when Sam Maxwell's interception deep in East Carolina territory was negated by a holding penalty on teammate Winston Guy.
Although Kentucky's defensive stars were outplayed in the first half, they saved their best for when it counted.
"We only won three games my first year," said senior defensive captain Braxton Kelley . "It means a lot to me to know we rose from the bottom to the top."
Bryant, who took his Alabama teams to four Liberty Bowls - including the inaugural game 50 years ago and the final game of his career in 1982 - was the only other Wildcats coach to lead the program to three straight bowl games. Unlike Brooks, Bryant only won two of them.
Kentucky saved virtually all its magic for the second half, in every aspect of the game, and it started when David Jones took the opening kickoff for a Liberty Bowl-record 99-yard TD.
"After I scored that touchdown, it was like everything swung our way and came into place," Jones said. "It put a big spark in the whole team and got us going."
Minutes later, quarterback Mike Hartline , starting for injured freshman Randall Cobb , gave Kentucky its lone offensive TD when he hit Kyrus Lanxter on a crossing pattern for a 19-yard touchdown that tied the game 16-all midway through the third quarter.
Hartline completed 19 of 31 passes for 204 yards and one interception. Brooks said he had been sick with the flu and praised his performance.
Pinkney finished 18-of-36 for 297 yards for East Carolina, most of it going to Davon Drew and Darryl Freeney. Drew caught five passes for 120 yards, and Freeney had five catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.
"I felt like we came out and competed, but we were unable to get the job done," Drew said.
Trevard Lindley , elected the Wildcats' team MVP, hyperextended his elbow while deflecting a pass in the end zone. The cornerback, who is considering leaving college a year early for the NFL, said afterward that he hadn't yet made a decision but doubted the injury would affect it.
While acknowledging his team's postseason accomplishment, Brooks, who has helped turn around the longtime Southeastern Conference bottom-feeder, said he has loftier goals for the future.
"We still aren't where we want to be," Brooks said. "Seven-and-six is not what we want to accomplish, but the last 30 minutes was about as beautiful of football that I have ever seen."
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - C.J. Spiller scored a touchdown and had 172 all-purpose yards in his final college game, leading Clemson to a 21-13 victory Sunday night in the Music City Bowl.
The Tigers (9-5) hadn't won a bowl since the 2005 Champs Sports Bowl.
Kentucky (7-6) was trying to make program history by winning a fourth straight bowl game. The Wildcats certainly had the home-field advantage with blue filling nearly two-thirds of the lower bowl at LP Field.
Spiller, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, scored his 51st career touchdown - a Clemson record - on an 8-yard run with 10:14 left in the fourth quarter to make it 21-13.
Spiller scored three plays after Clemson linebacker Kavell Conner stripped Gene McCaskill after a short catch and Jarvis Jenkins recovered the ball at the Kentucky 19 for the game's only turnover.
Kentucky tried to answer.
Punter Ryan Tydlacka ran for 9 yards on fourth-and-3, then coach Rich Brooks used his last time-out with 5:38 left before going for it again on fourth-and-8 at the Clemson 32. The Cats couldn't convert. Freshman quarterback Morgan Newton scrambled only to be tackled by Ricky Sapp a yard short.
Spiller helped the Tigers run out the clock and start the celebration. He finished with 68 yards on 15 carries and 57 yards on three catches to earn game MVP honors.
But the Wildcats did a decent job of slowing down one of the country's most dynamic players. He became the first ACC player to rush for at least 1,000 yards and have at least 500 yards receiving in the same history at the end of the third quarter when he took a shovel pass 3 yards.
He didn't return a kick longer than 30 yards. Kentucky kicker Lones Seiber perfectly placed one kickoff into the right edge of the end zone near the pylon for a touchback, and Spiller caught another near the same spot for another touchback.
Kentucky held onto the ball for more than 34 minutes and ran 22 more plays. Clemson still outgained the Wildcats 321-277 and the Tigers held on to the ball for the final 5:27.
Winds gusting to 22 mph affected both teams on a cold night.
Richard Jackson's 44-yard field goal for Clemson into the wind came up just short with 4:32 left in the third. Kentucky called a timeout with 2 seconds left in the third, and Dawson Zimmerman's punt went just 24 yards before bouncing back for the Wildcats.
The Tigers forced Kentucky three-and-out, and Tydlacka had to deal with that wind himself. His punt went only 14 yards.
Clemson led 14-10 at halftime as Kyle Parker found Jacoby Ford all alone in the end zone for a 32-yard TD pass to cap a four-play, 90-yard drive Spiller jumpstarted with a 42-yard catch-and-run.
Seiber put Kentucky up 10-7 in the second with a 39-yard field goal, then Spiller had a 30-yard kickoff return. Tailback Jamie Harper handled all the work on a five-play drive as he picked up 60 yards and capped it with a 1-yard plunge to put the Tigers ahead 14-10 in the second quarter.
The Wildcats' only TD came on their opening drive when Newton found Chris Matthews in the end zone for a 17-yard TD pass and a 7-0 lead.
Clemson-Harper, J 8-79; Spiller, C 15-67; Ellington, A 4-20; Parker, K 3-16; Ford, J 1-2; TEAM 2-minus 4.
Kentucky-Morgan Newton 13-23-0-98; Randall Cobb 2-3-0-12.
Clemson-Parker, K 8-14-0-141.
Clemson-Spiller, C 3-58; Ford, J 3-44; Palmer, M 2-39.
Kentucky-Danny Trevathan 5-3; Paul Warford 5-0; Micah Johnson 5-0; Corey Peters 3-1; Jacob Dufrene 2-1; Trevard Lindley 2-1; Randall Burden 2-1; Taylor Wyndham 1-0; Mark Crawford 1-0; Martav. Neloms 1-0; A.J. Nance 1-0; Matt Lentz 1-0; Ashton Cobb 1-0; DeQuin Evans 0-2; Calvin Harrison 0-1.
Clemson-McDaniel, D 6-7; Conner, K 6-3; Gilchrist, M 3-5; Thompson, B 4-1; Bowers, D 3-2; Hall, R 3-1; Hawkins, C 2-3; Branch, A 2-2; Alexander, K 2-1; Chancellor, C 2-1; Ashe, T 2-0; Sapp, R 2-0; Butler, C 1-2; Jenkins, J 1-2; Campbell, J 1-2; Maxwell, B 1-1; Goodman, M 1-0; Adams, S 1-0; Chavis, M 1-0; Brewer, X 0-1.