This segment is returning now. I'm done with my blogging moratorium. Whether we win or lose, I enjoy dissecting games. It's just tough to do that following a loss to Vanderbilt.
Why it was important: Kentucky jumped out to an early seven point lead. The Rebels had been unable to answer on two possessions. If Kentucky could have gone down the field and gone up by 14, the crowd, who was surprisingly into the game, would have probably been lost. Instead, a sophomore linebacker stripped the ball away from Kentucky's best player and a true freshman linebacker picked it up to help set up a game-tying short TD drive.
Why it's not #1: Two things. First, it happened in the first quarter. #1 game changing plays just don't happen that early. Second, Kentucky answered the touchdown witha long touchdown drive of their own to take the lead back.
2. Fourth Quarter: HB Brandon Bolden runs for 33 yards on 3rd and 19 which allows the Rebels to enter the Victory formation.
Why it was important: It effectively ended the game. When Bolden picked up the first down, there were roughly 55 seconds remaining in the game. With Kentucky out of timeouts, we were able to end the game by kneeling the ball and escape from a potential collapse.
Why it's not #1: It was tough for me not to place this at the #1 spot, but I'm just not sure that it's as much a game-changer as it is a game-sealer. The Rebels had the lead and didn't have to score on that posession. Even if we had given that run had only been for 5 or 6 yards, Kentucky would have had to go the length of the field in 25 seconds with no timeouts. I guess that's a possibility though considering how decimated our secondary was by the end of the game.
1. Third Quarter: PR Jesse Grandy returns a punt 73 yards to the Kentucky 2 yard line sets up the Rebels' final touchdown.
Why it's #1: The touchdown set up by this play would be the difference in the game. The Rebels were up 35-28 before that drive. After two plays of offense, they were up 42-28. With the final score being 42-35, it's understandable that the Rebs needed this one. More than anything though, this punt return placed fear in Kentucky that we weren't giving up. Granted, we eventually sort of gave up, but our white flag came out later than Kentucky wanted it to come.
If you think I've missed a play, please tell me about it. This was a very difficult decision.