Two of the last players to leave were tight end Jacob Tamme and Keenan Burton.
"The fans have always embraced us and helped us get to where we are today," Tamme, who had a 14-yard touchdown catch, said. "I'm not going to suit up with this senior class again, but I'm sure proud to go out this way with them."
Burton was not even sure he was going to play two days ago. He not only played the entire game on his injured knee, but he made seven catches for 56 yards.
"No way was I going to miss this," said Burton. "This was my last game with these guys and I wanted to make sure I did all I could to help us win."
It was a bizarre, entertaining game that featured big turnovers, nifty offensive moves, mental mistakes and questionable officiating. Each time the Wildcats were on the verge of putting the game out of reach against a Florida State team decimated by suspensions and injuries, some miscue kept the Seminoles close.
'We found a way to make the game entertaining'
It wasn't until a desperation Hail Mary pass on the game's final play was knocked down that UK knew it could start its own New Year's Eve celebration.
"We found a way to make the game entertaining," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said.
Here's what Brooks meant:
* Rafael Little, who ran for 152 yards and had eight catches for 50 yards, fumbled at the Florida State 10-yard line after a 14-yard pass completion. UK was leading 7-0 at the time. However, Little's fumble was returned 51 yards to set up the Seminoles' first score.
"We are ready to go up 14-0 and then have a 14-point swing," Brooks said.
* Little's 47-yard run to the Florida State 20 was negated by a block in the back by receiver Steve Johnson over 20 yards behind the play.
"I don't know yet what I did. The play was gone," Johnson, who more than compensated for the miscue with seven catches for a game-high 124 yards and two touchdowns, said.
* After a great defensive stand on fourth down and inches inside the 1-yard line to halt a Florida State scoring drive, a miscommunication between Woodson, who was 32-for-50 passing for 358 yards, and receiver Keenan Burton led to a 24-yard interception return by the Seminoles' Tony Carter to tie the game.
"We make a great fourth down stop and then have one of Andre's worst passes of his career," Brooks said.
* Two passes to Johnson gained 50 yards to get the Cats to the 11-yard line before Woodson was sacked and Lones Seiber hit a 37-yard field goal. The Seminoles, though, gave UK new life with a personal foul penalty that UK wasted when Woodson was called for intentional grounding on third down and Seiber missed a 40-yard field goal on fourth down.
Still, maybe it was fitting that nothing came easy for this UK team. Remember it was midway of the 2006 season when Brooks job was in jeopardy after a 49-0 loss at LSU when the Wildcats regrouped and earned a bowl bid. That's why there are no bad bowl wins at UK.
"I am thrilled we got a win when we did not play our best," Brooks said. "That we were able to overcome our mistakes and get a wins says volumes about the character of this team."
It also says that slowly this program is getting to where it might be able to sustain success annually. The players already believe it. Fans want to believe. Rivals are still skeptical.
"We're getting there," Brooks said. "We've not arrived after going to back-to-back bowls. It's a start, but we have a lot of work still to be done. However, getting to a bowl and winning again certainly makes it a little bit easier to continue that work and I couldn't be prouder of my team again for what it did this year."