Kentucky had waited through 17 excruciating losses — run-it-up blowouts, a buzzer beater, many L's in between — to throw off the hold Steve Spurrier had on it.
Let's go back to Oct. 16, 2010, in Commonwealth Stadium. With liberation from the hex of the Head Ball Coach hanging in the balance, UK's fate suddenly rested on the unlikely duo of Anthony Mosley and Cartier Rice.
Behind a career night of passing from Mike Hartline and what turned out to be the final act of fourth-quarter heroics in Randall Cobb's illustrious UK career, Kentucky had rallied from 18 down at halftime to take a 31-28 lead over South Carolina and Spurrier.
Problem was, the 24-yard Hartline-to-Cobb touchdown pass (followed by a two-point-conversion run from Cobb) that put UK ahead came with 1:15 left in the game.
The Gamecocks, gulp, would still have time for one final drive.
Drive they did.
Taking over at its 31 with 1:09 left following the kickoff, it took South Carolina only five plays to advance the ball to the Kentucky 20.
South Carolina was now easily in position to force overtime with a field goal. The Gamecocks called timeout with only 11 seconds left in the game to form their plan.
One wonders whether Spurrier was thinking back to 1993 in the same stadium? That was when his Florida team threw seven interceptions against Kentucky, yet won 24-20 anyway on a 28-yard Danny Wuerffel-to-Chris Doering TD pass with three seconds left in the game.
You can bet every UK fan old enough to remember was thinking about that game.
Even though his South Carolina quarterback, Stephen Garcia, was known for being mistake-prone, Spurrier decided to try to break Kentucky's heart at the finish once again.
Eleven seconds to go. Kentucky 31, South Carolina 28. Gamecocks ball, first-and-10 at the UK 20.
A converted wide receiver playing cornerback for Kentucky, Mosley was lined up as the nickel back. He was only in the game because Martavius Neloms had gotten hurt.
As the Gamecocks came to the line of scrimmage, Mosley made a point to find South Carolina star wideout Alshon Jeffrey, who was lined up in the slot. "We were a little more attentive to him because he was the big playmaker," Mosley said Tuesday. "We thought they would go to him."
When the ball was snapped, Mosley watched Garcia's eyes and saw that the quarterback was instead going to take a shot into the right corner of the end zone.
There, Kentucky's Rice, a 5-foot-10 career backup, was isolated one-on-one with 6-3 Carolina wide receiver Lamar Scruggs.
"I was totally surprised he took a shot for the end zone," Rice says now. "The ball was coming at me, but it seemed like it took forever. I tried to grab it."
Instead, the Duncan, S.C., product tipped the ball into the air.
In its often star-crossed football history, that is the kind of scenario that has frequently led to Kentucky heartache.
Meanwhile, Mosley was running toward the play.
"They tried to go deep on Cartier, and I turned around to go back and try to help him," Mosley says. "Cartier deflected it, and I saw the ball."
The funny thing, Mosley says now, is that he doesn't remember his hands moving toward the football.
"It just seemed like they automatically went up," he says. "(The ball) didn't come right to me. My hands just kind of went to it. Suddenly, I was like, 'Wow, I got an interception.' "
For the Ellenwood, Ga., product, it was the first of his college career. It is still the only one.
In that moment, two most unlikely UK football heroes had been born.
Rice says the exact instant of the interception "was a crazy feeling. I don't even remember hearing the crowd, I was so excited."
Mosley remembers. "It was explosive," he says of the noise in Commonwealth.
Coming back to the present, Mosley, now a senior, and Rice, a junior, will be on the field Saturday in Columbia against the team and the coach they helped take down a year ago. South Carolina is a massive favorite to earn revenge.
Whatever happens, nothing can take away from the moment when Rice and Mosley secured a permanent place in UK football lore by putting the finishing touch on something many in these parts thought they would never see.
A Kentucky win over a Steve Spurrier-coached team.
Says Rice: "It was definitely one of the highlights of my career."
And Mosley: "Something I'll tell my grandkids about someday."