Spurrier beats — and beats down — Kentucky year after year

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistOctober 16, 2010 

Head coach Steve Spurrier watches his team during the Garnet and Black spring game Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium


It's not that Kentucky is 0-17 against Steve Spurrier-coached teams. ... OK, it is.

Yet it's not just that UK is oh-for-all-eternity in football games against the Head Ball Coach that makes Spurrier such a thorn in the sports psyche of the commonwealth.

"Steve Superior" has long had the knack for sticking a snarky verbal knife right through the heart of The Long-Suffering UK Football Fan.

On the Saturday when the Cats try yet again to throw off the yoke of Spurrier, let's relive some of the coach's greatest "hits" on Kentucky.

1997 Hopelessly behind in the second half against Spurrier and Florida, Hal Mumme orders his team to continually onside kick after UK touchdowns in what was a 55-28 Gators pasting. Spurrier is asked about it after the game:

"If Hal's defense doesn't get any better, he'll have to start kicking those every time."

2000 Hopelessly behind in the second half against Spurrier and Florida (detect a pattern?), Mumme orders his team to continually throw stats-padding passes throughout the fourth quarter. Watching that, Spurrier reaches his breaking point and orders a last-second bomb that goes for a touchdown in what was a 59-31 Gators pasting. Spurrier doesn't wait to be asked about it after the game:

"I guess they're upset about that pass. Well, I called it. They were padding their stats and I decided we were going to pad ours. Because ours were sufferin'. If Kentucky wants to be mad about it, we'll be up in Lexington next year, and they can do something about it then."

Florida and Spurrier did come to Lexington in 2001. Gators 44, Cats 10.

2007 After he failed in a stint with the NFL's Washington Redskins, Spurrier promised to be "kinder and gentler" toward foes when he came to South Carolina. Sportswriters everywhere are grateful that he just can't help himself. In '07 at SEC Media Days, the Ball Coach was asked about Kentucky, which had won eight games and beaten Clemson in the 2006 Music City Bowl.

"I really admire what Kentucky did last year; go 8-5 and win the bowl game."

Then it was like his muscle memory kicked in.

"We thought we did something big beating Clemson — then Kentucky beat them, too."

2007 South Carolina fans were in a celebratory frame of mind after the Gamecocks beat Georgia. Spurrier wasn't impressed.

"It wasn't like they (Georgia) were some big, powerful team. ... Kentucky and Vandy beat 'em last year."

2009 Running from the Wildcat formation, Kentucky star Randall Cobb gashes the South Carolina defense and rallies Kentucky to within 28-26 with a 2-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. However, rather than stay with Cobb in the Wildcat on the potentially game-tying, two-point conversion attempt, Kentucky inserted backup quarterback Will Fidler (starting QB Mike Hartline had been knocked from the game) who tried a pass (to Cobb). It failed. Afterward, Spurrier poured a boatload of salt into the wounds of a Kentucky fan base that thought Cobb should have had the ball snapped to him on the two-point try.

"We're all happy they didn't put that running quarterback in there, Randall Cobb. I'm glad they didn't use him the last possession ... . We couldn't tackle him."

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