1997 and 1998: Tim Couch (QB)
Combined Stats: 67-89, 896 yards, 11 TD’s, 1 INT
Rundown: Simply put, the greatest player statistically in the history of the series. In 1997, Couch set school records for completions and yards in a game in a 38-24 victory in Lexington. But he will likely be forever remembered for the 1998 performance. In the first game ever played at Papa John’s Cardinals Stadium, Couch threw for 498 yards (school record) and 7 TD’s (school record which he already held). The Cats romped 68-34. Couch threw 5 touchdown passes in just the 1st quarter of the two games combined.
2002: Vincent Burns, Otis Grigsby, Dewayne Robertson, Jeremy Caudill (Defensive Line)
Combined Stats: Opening can of whoop-a** on Dave Ragone
Rundown: People forget Ragone was a legit Heisman candidate that season. And it all folded in one game for Ragone. That defensive line made Ragone scramble so often, he actually was recorded for 14 carries in that game, to go along with 3 sacks. He threw an interception and lost a fumble and finished throwing 14 of 39.
2007: Andre Woodson (QB)
Stats: 30-44, 275 yards, 4 TD, 0INT
Rundown: Even if Woodson didn’t throw the famous pass to Steve Johnson, he still had a fantastic game. But that pass essentiallycemented him as a legend and likely made this the 2ndbest performance by a QB in the game, behind Couch. It had to be extra nice for Woodson, who was only 9 for 24 in the previous years game, a 31-point blowout loss. Although, Woodson did throw 3 TD’s in that game, along with his 2 TD’s as a sophomore, giving him 9 touchdowns with no interceptions in the series. But he needed this win to get into the Hall of Fame.
2007: Rafael Little (RB)
Stats: 27 carries, 151 yards, 1 TD
Rundown: Yeah, Woodson and Johnson get all the hype, but Rafael Little may have been the best player on the field that day. Not known for his workhouse carries, Little carried 27 times in this game. He was especially key in the first half, when Kentucky jumped out to a 12 point lead and Woodson had not yet hit his stride.
2007 and 2008: Myron Pryor (DT)
Stats: 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Fumble Recovery, 1 TD
Rundown: In a game where basically nobody stood out for Kentucky individually, one play certainly will forever resonate with the fanbase from the 2008 game: Pryor’s scamper to the endzone after a fumble recovery. It was a feel good moment for a good guy in the program, and it put the finishing touches on a dominating defensive performance.
2008 and 2009: Derrick Locke (RB/KR)
Combined Stats: 25 carries, 104 yards, 1 TD, 100-yard kickoff return for TD
Rundown: Locke was fairly non-existent in the 2008 game (so was everybody else), but his steady running and explosive kickoff return was bright spot in a lackluster UK performance in 2009. Coming into the game a 14 point favorite, UL actually stormed down the field and scored quickly in the 1st quarter, bringing back worries of a flat UK performance. Locke erased that with his untouched 100 yard return.
QUICK QUESTION: IF MIKE HARTLINE WINS ON SATURDAY, BECOMING THE FIRST UK QUARTERBACK WITH THREE WINS OVER LOUISVILLE, DOES HE BELONG ON THIS LIST?
(Because I know somebody will ask, why isn’t Steve Johnson on this list. Again, Johnson will forever be remembered , and rightfully so, for his catch. But, in case you didn’t know, Johnson only caught 3 passes that entire game. And zero in the previous years game. I can’t put a guy in the Hall of Fame who caught 3 passes in 2 games.)