Date story was published: Sunday, November 25, 1984
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Those UK fans who liked Boston College-Miami on Friday must have loved Kentucky-Tennessee yesterday.
Why? Because a second generous helping of dramatics was dished out this holiday season and it was Kentucky - for a change - giving thanks in Knoxville.
For Kentucky followers, UK's 17-12 victory over Tennessee had all the heart-stopping qualities of Friday's Boston College-Miami classic. Of course, B.C. beat Miami 47-45 when Heisman Trophy winner-to-be Doug Flutie threw a touchdown pass on the game's last play.
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Yesterday, UK had its defense backed to within 12 yards of the brink. Tennessee's last pass, however, flew harmlessly out of bounds as the Vols, out of timeouts, tried to stop the clock. All UT stopped was the hearts of 93,791, the largest crowd ever to see a Kentucky football team.
Time had expired.
Tennessee's Tony Robinson, who threw the pass, begged for one second to be put back on the scoreboard. Request denied, Robinson angrily walked off the field.
UK players ignored the futile protest and rushed Neyland Stadium field in triumph for only the second time since 1964.
In Hollywood lingo, it was a wrap.
Maybe that's why UK equipment manager Tom Kalinoski ceremoniously handed Paul Calhoun an air pump afterward and called it an Oscar.
The UK punter became a best supporting actor when he hit the ground after a fourth-quarter kick. Calhoun's fall prompted a roughing-the-kicker penalty, which kept alive a drive that netted a 34-yard field goal by Joey Worley.
Those points, which increased a 14-12 Kentucky lead by three, proved decisive. Without them, the Vols would have needed only a field goal in the final minute. Earlier in the game, Fuad Reveiz had kicked two field goals, extending his Southeastern Conference record streak of three-pointers to 18.
That streak ended late in the first half when Reveiz barely missed from 57 yards. Thanks to Calhoun and Worley, a new streak wasn't started.
Calhoun certainly wasn't the only UK hero.
The others included:
George Adams, who cashed in a personal trifecta. The tailback from Lexington rushed for more than 100 yards (110 to be exact) and became only the third Wildcat to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. Adams raised his total to 1,085, joining Sonny Collins (1973 and 1975) and John "Shipwreck" Kelly (1931) as thousand-yard Wildcats.
Adams also scored two touchdowns, raising his season total to 14, one more than the school record.
The third achievement? He helped beat Tennessee and got to strong-arm the Beer Barrel back to the UK locker room after the game.
"This is the best feeling of my life," said Adams, who announced that he would treat his offensive line to steak dinners on Tuesday. "Some day my boy (infant son D'Andre Pierre) will know his father got a record."
The UK defense, which again bent but didn't break. Its most golden moment came when Robinson was stopped two yards short of the end zone on a two-point conversion bootleg early in the fourth quarter. That stand preserved a 14-12 UK lead.
UK's opportunistic offense, which converted a first-minute Tennessee fumble into a 7-0 lead.
Calhoun's fall, however, will probably be remembered longer. It came at the most dramatic moment.
UK was still clinging to its 14-12 lead when the senior from Louisville dropped back to punt with five minutes remaining. Tennessee linebacker Reggie McKenzie broke through the right side. McKenzie's futile dive was late, but Calhoun's kicking leg came down on McKenzie. Calhoun fell to the ground. A flag followed.
"I came in hard, but I didn't touch the man," McKenzie said. "He came down on my foot and that isn't roughing the kicker. I thought it was a poor call; plain and simple."
So did fellow linebacker Carl Zander, who called for an all-out attempt to block the kick.
"When he first threw the flag, I thought it was for acting," Zander said. "I said, 'On him?' The ref said, 'No, on the Orange.' I said, 'That's got to be the worst call I've ever seen.' "
Calhoun admitted that the contact McKenzie caused "wasn't a vigorous hit."
Whatever its merit, the penalty gave UK a first down at the Tennessee 47- yard line. Seven plays later Worley kicked a 33-yard field goal.
The time remaining (2:09) was almost enough for Tennessee.
Despite a suddenly fearsome UK pass rush, Robinson guided the Vols from their own 11 to the Kentucky 12.
The dramatic drive nearly died in infancy. The Vols were facing fourth-and- 10 from their own 11 when Robinson hit Tim McGee for 15 yards.
Given life, the drive grew to menacing proportions. Twice, Tennessee had to call timeouts to set up fourth-down plays. Each play yielded the necessary yardage.
Tennessee took its last timeout with 20 seconds remaining and the ball at midfield. Robinson's scramble up the middle gained eight yards and a first down, but he had to waste a down with a pass out of bounds to stop the clock with 11 seconds to go.
On the next play, McGee got between UK's short man coverage and its deep zone and caught a 32-yard pass at the 12. McGee was hit immediately and couldn't get out of bounds.
Robinson took the next frantic snap with four seconds showing. He flung the ball to the near sideline. As the ball hit out of bounds, several yards outside the sideline, the clock read 0:00.
Did the ball cross out of bounds with any time left? Tennessee thought so.
"I kept waiting for them to give us that second," Robinson said, "but they never did."
Robinson said that the Volunteers practice the pass to stop the clock. In practice the play consumes no more than two seconds, he said.
UK put forth a feeble pass rush in the first half, but the Wildcats turned tough after intermission. The Cats netted five sacks, four in the second half and one on the final drive that caused Tennessee to use a timeout.
A strategy change at halftime caused the difference, co-captain David Thompson said.
"In the first half, we went with one-on-one pass rushing," Thompson said. "In the second, we had all four down linemen crossing each other."
Thompson said that UK had used the stunts liberally against Vanderbilt but only occasionally in other games.
"We went with it on almost every down in the second half," Thompson said.
The effects were telling. Said the elusive Robinson, who had had success using audibles against the blitzes of previous opponents: "There wasn't anything to check to. All those twists made it tough for the offensive line to keep making the blocks over and over."
UK made a big play on the game's first play. Thompson's tackle caused Tennessee's Charles Wilson to fumble at the UK 30.
Six plays later, Adams pulled over from the 2 with 11:35 remaining in the first half.
UK was never headed. But it took 56 minutes and 35 more seconds for Tennessee to be subdued.