Former, current Tigers remember Bluegrass Miracle
 
 
By Matt Vines The Daily Reveille

October 12, 2006

Baton Rouge, LA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- Everyone is familiar with the famous cliche, "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings."

In 2002 the Kentucky Wildcats had to learn that lesson the hard way.

When the Wildcats roll into Baton Rouge for Saturday's game against LSU, the boys from the "bluegrass state" might have a little revenge planned for the Tigers.

The last time the two teams met in 2002, the Tigers squeaked out a 33-30 victory in Lexington, Ky., following a play that would go down in history as "The Bluegrass Miracle."

After Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen engineered a 14-point, fourth-quarter comeback, kicker Taylor Begley connected on a 29-yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 30-27 lead with 11 seconds left.

"I still remember [when] the big quarterback Jared Lorenzen had doused [Kentucky coach Guy Morriss] with water," said former LSU fullback Kevin Steltz. "We are taught to never stop until the game is over. I didn't think it was over, and then that play happened."

Steltz said the students had begun to pour out the stands and were standing on the sidelines ready to rush the field.

"I was on the sideline," Steltz said. "I remember at the end of the game when the equipment managers told us to put our helmets on. We were losing, and it looked like the students were going to rush the field, so we didn't want them to steal anything."

Former LSU quarterback Marcus Randall began the LSU drive deep in enemy territory but completed a 20-yard pass to Michael Clayton to set the Tigers up at their own 25-yard line.

"Everybody forgets about the play before that set it up," said LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher. "We threw a 20-yard pass to [wide receiver] Michael Clayton from our 3- or 4-yard line and called timeout with two seconds left. That allowed us to throw it deep enough down the field on the next play."

Randall dropped back to pass and heaved the ball 65 yards into the Kentucky sky.

"I saw [Randall] go back and throw the ball," Steltz said. "I saw the ball get tipped, and then I saw the backside of Devery [Henderson] running it in."

The ball ricocheted off two Kentucky players' hands, and wide receiver Devery Henderson snatched the ball one-handed and dashed into the endzone for his third touchdown of the game.

"The next thing I remember was our whole team was on the field," Steltz said. "It happened that quick. Some of the student section was already on the sidelines, but we were on the field before they realized they had lost."

Fisher remembers the exact play-call and said LSU still uses that play today.

"The play was 'Dash right, 93 Berlin,'" Fisher said. "It is a play that we always have for the end of the game because you never know when you will need it. Every now and then the play will tip right but very rarely does it work. It just happened to work that day."

Senior right tackle Peter Dyakowski had redshirted as a freshman that season but said he was watching intensely on television from his East Campus Apartments dorm room.

"I was watching this game go down to the end, and I was just trying to think of scenarios where we would win," Dyakowski said. "When I saw Devery catch the ball, I was running around yelling in my dorm room in the ECA. I was proud. I was happy. I was thrilled to watch that play."

LSU would go on to lose to Arkansas 21-20 and fail to win the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference, but Henderson and the Tigers made the 2002 season memorable by bringing home an ESPY award for "Best Play of the Year" at the 2003 ESPY Awards.

(C) 2006 The Daily Reveille via CSTV U-WIRE


 
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