The second game of Denzil Ware’s Kentucky career is still one of his best, thanks to one heroic play.
With 8:09 left to play in Columbia, South Carolina, Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks scored to shrink the Kentucky lead to two. Just two yards away from a tie game, Pharoh Cooper did not put the ball into the end zone, he put it on the ground.
“At the end of the game, in their stadium, hearing everybody go quiet…It felt good. I felt like Steph (Curry) when he hit the three in the fourth and silenced the game.”
Ware’s 97-yard scamper changed the game for good. It was the straw that broke Spurrier’s back. The legendary coach left the profession for good exactly one month after the 26-22 loss to Kentucky. Most importantly, it was an SEC win on the road, something Kentucky had not done in a long time.
“We hadn’t won a road game in like 80 years.” Ware’s math is a little fuzzy, but it felt that long at the time. He certainly did not feel good about it entering the game. His first memories of his first road game were not of that decisive two-point score.
“I just remember me having a 103 fever before the game. Them rushing a lot of fluids in my veins and all that trying to break my fever, sleeping with the heat on, and then just going out there.”
Playing through sickness, Ware learned two important things in his first road game. Each could benefit the Cats on this week’s road trip to Columbia.
“I like playing on the road more than I do here;” and, “The 11 guys who hit the hardest is the 11 guys who’s going to win.”