Sunday, November 10, 2002
Hail Mary heave halts fun for UK
LSU's stunning TD swings celebration from Cats' sideline
The Associated Press
LEXINGTON, Ky. - LSU practices desperation pass plays every Thursday, but quarterback Marcus Randall said they never work. On Saturday, the Tigers made one of them work when they absolutely needed it.
Devery Henderson caught a deflected 75-yard touchdown pass from Randall as time expired to lift the No. 16 Tigers to a stunning 33-30 victory.
"We always say we need to play for 60 minutes," said LSU coach Nick Saban. "There is the reason why."
LSU (7-2, 4-1 SEC) appeared headed for a second straight league loss after Taylor Begley's 29-yard field goal with 11 seconds left put Kentucky (6-4, 2-4) ahead 30-27.
Hundreds of blue-clad fans crowded the sidelines and were poised to charge onto the field as the Tigers got the ball back at their own 13-yard line. Before the final play, the Wildcats doused Coach Guy Morriss with a cooler of Gatorade.
Randall passed to Michael Clayton at the 25, and LSU called a timeout with 2 seconds left. Saban gave Randall simple instructions on the sideline.
"Coach Saban just told me to throw it as far as I could," said Randall, a sophomore making just his third career start.
Randall took the snap, avoided the rush to his right and heaved the ball more than 60 yards.
"I've never thrown a ball that far," Randall said.
"He doesn't have that strong an arm and, then he throws it from his 20 to our 30," said Kentucky cornerback Leonard Burress, one of eight Wildcats who had a chance to make a play on the ball.
As the ball sailed through the air, fireworks exploded out of the Kentucky scoreboard, and Wildcats fans attacked the goal post at the east end zone.
At the other end, Kentucky linebacker Morris Lane and two other Wildcats tipped the ball, and Henderson caught it inside the 20.
"I don't know who it was, but I thought we had a chance to intercept it," Morriss said. "I don't know just how it happened, but we had our hands on the ball."
Cornerback Derrick Tatum missed a diving tackle, and Henderson reached the end zone as Kentucky fans continued to pull on the goal post at the other end, oblivious to the incredible outcome.
"I caught it, and then I slowed down," Henderson said. "I said, 'Lord, just let me get to the end zone with it.' I just kept running."
The jubilant Tigers raced to mob Henderson, who finished the day with three TD catches.
"It was the biggest play of my life," Randall said.
Kentucky fans slowly realized what had just happened. Many sat at midfield as a small group of LSU fans celebrated.
"I saw it all happen. I can't believe it," said Kentucky junior kick returner Derek Abney. "From one emotion to another, it's utter confusion."
The bitter defeat was Kentucky's 13th in a row against a ranked SEC opponent.
"It's always hard when you come back in a game like this and something crazy like that happens to you," Saban said of Kentucky. "I've never been on a team that had it completed, but I've been on teams that's had it completed against them.
"It's a little bit of disbelief."
Jared Lorenzen threw three touchdown passes to Aaron Boone, and SEC-leading rusher Artose Pinner had 143 yards on 27 carries, his seventh 100-yard game of the season.
"That's the kind of thing you only see in movies," Pinner said of the final play.
Lorenzen led a 98-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter, the longest scoring drive of the season against LSU, which had the nation's top-ranked defense.
LSU appeared as if it would punt early in the second quarter when facing a third-and-9 from its 30. But Randall took the snap and shovel-passed to Henderson, who was heading in the other direction. Henderson turned upfield and outran the Kentucky defense for the score to tie the game at 7.
Randall found his rhythm in the closing minutes of the first half, going 7-of-13 for 157 yards with two TD passes.
On LSU's first offensive play of the second half, Joseph Addai swept left and sprinted untouched for a 63-yard touchdown against the SEC's worst rushing defense for a 21-7 lead.
After Kentucky cornerback Deion Holts blocked a punt, Lorenzen threw a 3-yard TD pass to Chase Harp with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
John Corbello tied his career-best with a 49-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give LSU a 24-14 lead. Lorenzen connected with Boone again for a 25-yard touchdown play with 10:05 remaining.
Abney fumbled a punt in the fourth quarter, and LSU's Adrian Mayes recovered. Corbello kicked a 19-yard field goal with 6:02 left to give LSU a 27-20 lead.
Four minutes later, Lorenzen hit Boone to tie the game at 27-27.
UK-Boone 43 pass from Lorenzen (Begley kick), 6:19.
LSU-Henderson 70 pass from Randall (Corbello kick), 12:33.
LSU-Henderson 30 pass from Randall (Corbello kick), :05.
LSU-Addai 63 run (Corbello kick), 13:17.
UK-Harp 3 pass from Lorenzen (Begley kick), 3:43.
LSU-FG Corbello 49, 14:12.
UK-Boone 25 pass from Lorenzen (kick failed), 10:05.
LSU-FG Corbello 19, 6:02.
UK-Boone 44 pass from Lorenzen (Begley kick), 2:24.
UK-FG Begley 29, :11.
LSU-Henderson 75 pass from Randall, :00.
|Time of Possession||32:55||27:05|
RUSHING-LSU, Addai 9-91, Davis 20-76, Randall 10-36, Henderson 3-10. UK, Pinner 27-143, Lorenzen 4-11, Boone 1-3, Boyd 2-(minus 3).
PASSING-LSU, Randall 10-23-0-264. UK, Lorenzen 12-26-0-210, Boyd 2-3-0-11.
RECEIVING-LSU, Henderson 5-201, Clayton 4-54, Davis 1-9. UK, Abney 5-60, Boone 3-112, Cook 3-9, Harp 2-22, Pinner 1-18.
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