UK snatches defeat from jaws of victory

The Gators have handed the ball to QB Chris Leak, but is the freshman ready?

Originally Published: October 2, 2003
By Pat Forde | Special to
Like farmers who have endured drought, flood and pestilence, Kentucky fans can grimly recall all the times their team has found ways to blow the Big Upset: The LSU miracle pass last year; the blown 21-point lead against Tennessee in 2001; the fumble on the return of the game-clinching, last-minute interception in the 1993 Peach Bowl against Clemson; the Danny Wuerffel-to-Chris Doering Florida touchdown pass with three seconds left in '93, as the 'Cats somehow lost after intercepting seven passes; Mississippi State's 16-point fourth-quarter rally in 1992 behind the immortal Greg Plump; Alabama's 17-point rally to win at the gun in 1998 behind a third-string quarterback; Mark Higgs' four failed tries from the 1-yard-line against Tennessee in 1987; etc. The list undoubtedly goes back to the pre-facemask days for this cursed program.

But now it has a new entry worth a space on any Bottom Ten: the Oh-No J-Lo Throw against Florida last Saturday. With his team nursing a 21-16 lead, quarterback Jared Lorenzen tried his usual escape-a-sack act, throwing the ball while his huge carcass was being dragged to the turf. Only this time the ball wobbled right into the hands of cornerback Johnny Lamar, who returned it to the Kentucky 1. Thirty-seven seconds later Florida had the winning score, having erased an 18-point deficit after three quarters.

"That's a new script," former athletic director Cliff Hagan said on his way out of the press box after the latest debacle.