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Kentucky vs Florida: Memories From The Last 30 Years

The painful memories of prior losses to Florida will make ending the streak that much sweeter, whenever it comes.

Kentucky Wildcats v Florida Gators Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Where Were You?

Where were you when Chris Doering caught the Florida touchdown to beat Kentucky? I know where I was vividly. For those of us fans older than 40, we remember Kroger Field before the end zones were filled in. The blue and white metal stands that were hot in the sun, and freezing your tush in the late fall. When the Cats intercepted Florida 7 times, yet still lost on the last play of the game, I was there. Standing in the end zone it happened. Standing next to the man that gave me my passion for sports, my Dad. He had been taking me to UK football games since I could walk, however this the first one I remember the most (for all the wrong reasons).

Dad had seen all of this before of course. The “Oh so close” games. Games like Mark Higgs failing to get in the end zone against Tennessee at the goal line in 1987. For me, the Florida game in 1993 was my first “Oh so close”game. In the East End Zone, halfway up, and off to the side, I can still see the ball coming right down the seem and into Doering’s hands. Commonwealth Stadium may never have been louder before the pass, never quieter after it. As we left the game Dad said, “That’s Kentucky football.” He was right for many more years. Not until Stevie got loose and the 3-OT win vs LSU did I feel that the “That’s Kentucky football” mantra could be put to rest.

Where Were You?

Where were you when the play clock hit 0 and not 1 official threw a flag? UK appeared poised to end the streak 3 years ago in the Swamp. Garrett “Juice” Johnson slashed his way to a huge game. Freshman Boom Williams reversed field touchdown in OT felt like the final push to end the streak. It took an officials blunder to help keep the streak going. It didn’t help UK would finish the season 5-7, finishing short of Coach Stoops first bowl team. The streak remained, but it felt like it was in it’s death grip. For 2 more years we were wrong.

I won’t pretend that I remember beating Florida in 1986. I was only 12. The streak against Tennessee has been broken. South Carolina has been stomped on for 4 years now. All that remains is the Florida streak, 30 years in the making. For all the players, coaches, fans, staff, school, but most importantly for my Dad, it’s time to see the streak end. 30 years is long enough. For Kentucky to push it’s way up into the upper ranks of the SEC power teams, the streak must end. Be early. Wear Blue. End the streak.

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