Date story was published: Sunday, September 17, 2000
When the off-season coaching clinics fire up, the defensive video from last night's Kentucky-Indiana track meet does not figure to be a best seller.
But there will be one defensive player jumping off that video.
The two biggest plays of Kentucky's 40-34 win over the Hoosiers were turned in by an 18-year-old defensive tackle playing his third college game.
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Kentucky's Dewayne Robertson twice forced IU quarterback Antwaan Randle El to fumble. Twice those fumbles led to UK touchdowns, including the game winner with 1:57 left.
And that meant UK had to find a hero's mantle large enough to fit the 6-foot-3, 308-pound freshman.
Said Kentucky Coach Hal Mumme"Our defense is not that young, but our best play of the night was made by a true freshman."
He meant Robertson.
Said Kentucky strong safety David Johnson"Those two forced fumbles were the plays of the game. Dewayne stepped up huge for us."
Robertson, for his part, was rather a stoic hero. Then again, men of few words make the best heroes.
"I just made the plays I had to make," he said. "I give the rest of the credit to God."
The second of Robertson's big plays came with the game tied at 34 and only 1:57 left to play.
With Indiana facing a third-and-9 at its own 34, Robertson shot untouched through the Indiana line and got up close and personal with Randle El.
"I think a guard must have missed his assignment or something," Robertson said. "Nobody blocked me. I was on Randle El right away. I don't think he ever saw me."
When he got to Randle El, Robertson wrapped him up. But he said he did not think he knocked the ball out.
"He had the arm with the ball behind his back," Robertson said. "When I hit him, he lost it. I don't think I ever touched it."
However the ball came loose, UK's Matt Layow scooped up the fumble and rumbled 21 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
"The loudest sound I've ever heard," Robertson said of the Commonwealth Stadium crowd of 70,776 while Layow was returning the fumble.
As big as that play was, UK most likely would not have been in position to win had it not been for Robertson's first forced fumble.
With 57 seconds left in the first half, Indiana led 26-14 and, with the ball at the 50, had a chance to add more.
Since the Hoosiers were to receive the second-half kickoff, IU had a golden opportunity to slam the door shut on UK.
But on first down, Robertson broke into the Indiana backfield and wrapped up the elusive Randle El.
After he grabbed him, Robertson knocked the ball loose and then fell on it at the Hoosiers' 42.
That eventually led to a 21-yard Jared Lorenzen touchdown toss to his old Highlands running mate Derek Smith.
It also changed the entire tenor of the second half.
"We just weren't making plays and I was getting sick of it," Robertson said. "There were some guys saying we need to get a turnover. I sort of had that in my head."
If his teammates are right, Robertson's heroics last night will be the first of many such performances.
"He's got a chance to be special," Layow said. "He's got incredible strength for a freshman. And he has a knack for making plays. When he really learns how to play at this level, watch out."
Added Johnson"He's a load. I'm glad he's with us."
After all, the fact Robertson was with Kentucky last night means there was at least one standout on that defensive video.