'Bluegrass Miracle' still amazing even to LSU

August 01, 2003

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The "Bluegrass Miracle" still seems as unbelievable to LSU's Stephen Peterman as it did nine months ago.

"Every time I see it, I get chills. It is amazing to say I was out there blocking on that play," said Peterman.

Kentucky players and fans get chills, too. Those chills, though, are because of the sick feeling that game left.

LSU won 33-30 on a 75-yard pass from Marcus Randall to Devery Henderson on the game's final play. Kentucky had fallen behind 21-7 before rallying to take a 30-27 lead on Taylor Begley's 29-yard field goal with only 11 seconds to play.

Kentucky fans were ready to storm the field and celebrate perhaps Guy Morriss' biggest win in his two years as UK's head coach.


"All I remember is our equipment guy telling us to strap our helmets up because the fans had been taunting us and we didn't know how they might react to beating us," LSU defensive tackle Chad Lavalais during the Southeastern Conference Media Days here Thursday. "We thought the fans might throw something at us or do some weird things because they were really excited. I remember putting my helmet on and just praying that nobody bothered me because I did not want to be messed with.

"I was walking to the locker room. I was headed off the field. Then I saw him catch the pass and run it in. I just ran on the field and pointed my finger at the Kentucky fans. The goalposts were coming down. They were pouring Gatorade on their coach. Fans were celebrating. But we had won. It was pretty weird."

Peterman was on the field providing pass protection on the game-winning play. He was no more optimistic than Lavalais.

"I remember telling the tackle next to me to just run off the field because there fans were coming," Peterman said. "The ball was snapped and the guy we were blocking fell down. I heard the fireworks go off and thought the game was over. Then I looked up, saw the b all was still in the air and then watched him catch it. To this day, I still can't believe it.

"You always think you have a chance to win and we practiced that play. But it never worked like that. If you actually look at the play, people were in different spots from where they were supposed to be. It was just a miracle and what makes college football so great."

LSU later got a taste of what Kentucky felt when it lost to Arkansas on the final play. That allowed Arkansas to go the Southeastern Conference championship game rather than LSU.

"There was more at stake for us in that game than what Kentucky had at stake because they couldn't go to a bowl," Lavalais said. "But I know how Kentucky feels. You went from a high to a low in a few seconds. But you have to get over it. It was not the Super Bowl."

"That Arkansas game still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, so I can imagine how Kentucky feels about losing to us, especially since we had beat them the year before with a late drive and touchdown," Peterman said.

Kentucky gave LSU a chance to even get off the last play by taking an ill-advised timeout before Begley's field goal that kept time from running off the clock. But Lavalais said Kentucky should never have been in position to win.

"It was the second year in a row we had Kentucky backed up with the lead, let them back in the game and then had to win on the last play," Lavalais said. "The fans loved the Bluegrass Miracle, but as defensive guys we got our butts chewed out the next week and should have. Probably the same thing happened to the Kentucky defensive guys because they never should have given up that score, either."

But Kentucky did and the play won't go away. It has been shown thousands of times on TV highlights. The play recently won an ESPY as the play of the year.

Peterman has saved "three or four" videos of the play and still likes watching the play.

"Twenty years from now I can show my kids that play and tell them their father was out there blocking. That's pretty cool," Peterman said.

Kentucky and LSU won't play this year because of the SEC's rotating schedule. Lavalais is glad.

"I hope we don't have any more games like that this year," Lavalais said. "If we had to play Kentucky, you know they would really be after us to make up for the last two years. Let them take it out on somebody else and maybe we can beat someone else without having to go to the last play."|None***

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