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Wednesday September 19, 2012 Muschamp, Pease and the Bluegrass Miracle

Updated: 5:07pm, September 19

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The date was Nov. 9, 2002 and LSU’s defensive coordinator was well down his team’s sideline and headed for the locker room when Tigers quarterback Marcus Randall launched a prayer.

Its answer was the “Bluegrass Miracle.”

“Fans were running all over the place. Most of them didn’t even know what had just happened,” said Florida coach Will Muschamp, who happened to be that defensive coordinator -- the one on the winning side -- that miraculous afternoon (photo right). “I just sort of stood there. Couldn’t believe it.”

Muschamp LSU Randall’s roll-out “Hail Mary” heave caromed off the fingertips of Kentucky linebacker Morris Lane and into the hands of LSU wideout Devery Henderson, who caught the ball in full stride, split two defenders at the 20 and sped into the end zone as time expired for a 33-30 victory before a chaotic (and cursed) crowd at Commonwealth Stadium.

The success-starved UK football faithful -- yes, they actually do exist -- had been waiting years for a signature victory. They were right there, up by a field goal against the defending Southeastern Conference champions. In fact, hundreds of fans already had emptied from the bleachers and were on the sidelines ready to erupt.

Wildcats coach Guy Morriss was doused with water from the Gatorade cooler with two seconds left after LSU called its final timeout.

And there was Muschamp, thoroughly frustrated with the performance of his unit, storming for the exit and thus violating the sacred coach’s creed that says the game is never over until it’s over.

“I admit to that fatal flaw,” Muschamp, whose 14th-ranked Gators (3-0, 2-0) host Kentucky (1-2, 0-1) Saturday, said  when asked about that game of nearly 10 years ago. “I was just so disgusted with the way I had coached and the way we had played.”

At the root of that disgust was UK quarterback Jared Lorenzen (4 TD passes), the beefy  Big Blue pocket passer with the big left arm.

Old Pease Time again, Lorenzen shrugged off Tiger tacklers in the backfield and was able to get off his throws. At one point -- “Probably the last time and maybe the only time ever,” Muschamp said -- LSU coach Nick Saban ordered his coordinator to quit trying to pressure the Cats QB.

With Kentucky mixing in nice doses of the running game (154 yards that day), Muschamp and the Tigers could never get a feel for what was coming. That, Muschamp said, was a credit to the guy who was calling  plays for the Cats that day.

That guy was Brent Pease (picture right, back in the day), UF’s current offensive coordinator, who obviously made quite an impression on a day that left a lasting impression on college football.  

“Those are the things that I remember,” Muschamp said. “That and ‘How did we win the game?’ I still don’t know.”

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