By Ricky Blair – Could lightning actually strike twice? In the case of Kentucky pulling off a big win while wearing their black jersey uniforms – the answer on Saturday was a resounding – Yes!
The last time the Wildcats wore the black jersey uniform, they ended a 26-game losing streak to the Tennessee Volunteers (2011) using a wide receiver with the #3 (Matt Roark) at quarterback. Well, once again, it took a #3 lining up at quarterback to pull off the magic of a big win. This time it was running back Jo Jo Kemp who lined up as quarterback out of the ‘Wildcat’ formation, providing the offensive spurt that led to a 45-38 UK win over the visiting South Carolina Gamecocks.
Kemp rushed 17 times for 131 yards and three touchdowns on the night. On this magical night – all five of Kentucky’s offensive touchdowns came out of the ‘Wildcat’ formation. In addition to the three that Kemp scored, there was also a 38-yard touchdown run by Brandon Heard in the first half. Then, in the second half, Ryan Timmons pulled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Patrick Towles after Kentucky ran a double reverse pitch back pass out of the formation.
The Wildcats’ determination came through as they overcame a 14-point deficit in both the first and second half. South Carolina jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, but the Wildcats were able to even the score at 17 apiece going into the halftime intermission.
In the second half, the Wildcats took a seven point lead when Towles hit Timmons on the 48-yard pass play, but the Gamecocks came storming back with 21 unanswered points to go up by 14 points for a second time.
Just when it looked like the game may be over for the ‘Cats, they turned to Kemp and the ‘Wildcat’ formation to score back-to-back touchdowns and tie the game at 38 with 2:46 left in the contest. However, unlike in times past where the home team fostered hope for Big Blue fans only to have it stripped away with a heartbreaking loss, this time the magic was on Kentucky’s side. South Carolina’s pass attempt by quarterback Dylan Thompson was batted up in the air by UK senior defensive lineman Mike Douglas and intercepted by fellow senior defensive lineman Bud Dupree, who ran six yards for the game-winning touchdown.
Most of the season high 62,135 crowd stormed the field after the win in celebration of a truly amazing victory. With that win, the Wildcats move to 4-1 on the season and 2-1 in the SEC.