The Kentucky football season featured a ton of highlights. The following five plays are the best of the best from the Cats’ historic ten-win season. Who didn’t make the cut: Honorable Mention, Nos. 10-6.
5. Mossing with C.J. Conrad
Fans clamored for Eddie Gran to get C.J. Conrad the football. When passes went his way, incredible things happened. In the middle of the pouring rain at Kroger Field, Terry Wilson threw it up for Conrad to make a play. It produced the most spectacular reception of the 2018 season.
Dr. Mike captured the moment, one that’s even more impressive seen frame by frame.
4. “Coach, I’m feeling it.”
The best of the best perform when it’s needed most. That’s exactly what Lynn Bowden did in Columbia.
Entering the trip to Missouri, fans called for a change at quarterback. Mark Stoops said before the game Gunnar Hoak and Danny Clark would get an opportunity to see the field. All of the moving and shaking created an awful afternoon of offense. After three and a half quarters of crap, Bowden had seen enough.
Trailing 14-3 with five minutes to play, Bowden subbed himself into the game. “Coach, I’m feeling it.” He wasn’t lying.
Bowden’s 66-yard score injected life into the team and ignited an improbable fourth quarter comeback.
3. Let It Rip
The most magnificent play from Kentucky’s win over Florida was accompanied by the most accurate UK Radio Network call.
Kentucky had a 14-10 lead on the opening possession of the second half. Facing a third and 16 in their own territory, the wise thing to do would be to play it safe on third down and let the defense win the fight for field position. That’s exactly what Tom Leach said.
“Just try to play it safe and if you don’t get a first down, punt them back into a hole.”
Shortly after the snap, Jeff Piecoro interjects, “THROW IT!”
As the ball sailed through the air, Piecoro knew. “Got it,” was followed by his signature celebratory “I can’t believe that just happened” laugh to cap off a 56-yard rocket from Wilson to Bowden.
2. A Walk-Off
It’s rare to witness a win on the last play of the game in any sport, but when they happen, they’re remembered forever. This buzzer-beater does not qualify as a buzzer-beater because there was no time left on the clock.
After an abysmal afternoon of offense at Missouri, Terry Wilson put the team on his back in the final minute of the game. Needing a touchdown to secure a victory, the drive began on the 19-yard line with 1:24 to play. Wilson found one target, then another and another; just like that, the Cats were rolling. With just a few seconds remaining, Gran dialed up a shot at the end zone, calling on rarely used 6’6″ Ahmad Wagner to make a play on the jump ball. His fade route went out of bounds, but Wagner still reeled in an incredible one-handed reception. Since he was forced out of bounds, officials threw a flag, giving the Cats one final untimed down.
Like Bowden, Conrad told the coaches to call his number. Typically not used in two-minute drive packages, Conrad knew the perfect play to win the game. From two yards away, the tight end shook his defender and Wilson fired the ball right out of the pass-catcher’s break. Kentucky won in spectacular fashion.
Once the referees signaled a touchdown, Mizzou’s athletic director cursed and I did not know what to do.
Absolutely stunning loss for Missouri. Kentucky scores on TD pass, last play of game. Mizzou loses 15–14. Crushing defeat. pic.twitter.com/swo77ydf7M
— Rod Smith (@RodKRCG13) October 27, 2018
The euphoric celebration on the field carried into the locker room where Mark Stoops’ crowd-surfing made Mo Bamba the biggest Kentucky football song since Grove Street.
Taking off from Columbia like… ? pic.twitter.com/WZd1OERRnM
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) October 28, 2018
1. A Storybook Ending
If you wrote a script for a movie, the running back would break the unbreakable record with a touchdown in the championship game. That’s exactly how Benny Snell ended his Kentucky career.
Chants of “Benny! Benny! Benny!” roared as Snell lined up 12 yards away from the end zone. Like many times before, every person in the stadium knew he was getting the ball, but they couldn’t stop him. Snell rushed directly up the middle and powered into the end zone for a touchdown. Overcome by emotion, he fell to his knees as Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher.
Benny Snell’s record-setting Citrus Bowl moment will never be forgotten. A once in a lifetime experience, it was the perfect way to end an historic season.