Best beginning. On the first play from scrimmage for either team, Erik Ainge faked a handoff to Arian Foster, who was running left. Ainge then rolled right with the rest of the team (and the rest of the defense), while Foster snuck out on a wheel route. Ainge then stopped and threw to a wide open Foster, who caught it and weaved through defenders 65 yards for a touchdown.
Best return to action. Brad Cottam, who, cast and all, caught a short pass from Ainge and took it 59 yards down the field to set up Tennessee's second touchdown in its first three drives of the game.
Best sight for sore eyes. A 35-yard pass from Ainge to a leaping and stretching Lucas Taylor that actually went over the top and behind the secondary for 35 yards.
Best where have you been all my life. Ricardo Kemp, who played a fantastic game, recording five tackles, two sacks for 12 yards, and one interception, which he returned for nine yards.
Best not-so-fast. Xavier Mitchell, who, immediately after Kentucky intercepted a second-quarter Ainge pass, played his lane, timed his leap, and came down with an interception of his own, which he returned for 14 yards.
Worst luck. Montario Hardesty, who twisted his ankle. Again.
Worst killer instinct, I. The Tennessee offense, which had several opportunities with time disappearing in regulation to seal the game by getting some first downs.
Worst killer instinct, II. The Tennessee defense, when Kentucky, down by a field goal in regulation but starting at their own nine yard line, went into the dreaded prevent defense in hopes that the 'Cats would get no more than a game-tying field goal. Twenty, yes twenty, plays and 86 yards later, the defense was defending from the end zone as Kentucky had a first and goal from the five yard line with almost no time left and therefore no time for Tennessee's offense to counter if Kentucky got a touchdown instead of a field goal. The Big Blue could could have ended the game right then and there.
Best survival instinct. The Tennessee defense, who, while possessing an inadequte killer instinct, has a killer survival instinct. With Kentucky at the five yard line and down by three, the defense held. Brent Vinson defended well on first down, almost intercepting an Andre Woodson pass, but committed a pass interference penalty on second down, moving Kentucky to the two yard line. Xavier Mitchell and Jerod Mayo then combined to hold Kentucky's Rafael Little to a one yard gain, and Woodson's third down pass to Kennan Burton fell incomplete. Field goal forced. Finally.
Biggest huh? The officials (and the rules) essentially pardoning Kentucky's brutal facemask on Eric Berry as he was headed for the end zone after Tennessee's blocked punt in the second overtime and then assessing a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Tennessee for the fourth overtime due to Arian Foster throwing the ball into the air in frustration after failing to convert the two-point attempt in the third overtime. Those may be the rules, but they're still a huh?
Best offensive hit. Arian Foster, who, in the first overtime, after pulling a direct snap out of the sky, headed left and sent a would-be tackler sailing just before going out of bounds.
Best defensive hit. Jerod Mayo, who absolutely snot-knockered Kentucky tight end Jacob Tamme as he went up for a pass across the middle. Tamme lost control of the ball, and Ricardo Kemp was there to pick it and run the other direction.
Best catch. Gerald Jones, in the first overtime, when he both twisted and stretched out to grab a much-needed touchdown reception. He cradled it just enough to secure the call on the field and the presumption on the replay. Upon further review of the further review, he had possession with a foot down before hitting the ground and possibly bobbling the ball on contact.
Worst game-changing moment. On the second play of the second overtime, Ainge threw to a covered Lucas Taylor, and it was tipped and intercepted. No points for the first team on offense in overtime is almost always the death knell for the team.
Best game-changing moment. After denying Tennessee any points at all on their turn in the second overtime, Kentucky played over-conservative on their series, losing two on first down, gaining seven on the next, failing to convert on third down and four, and settling for a 34-yard field goal attempt. Tennessee's Dan Williams bull rushed the long-snapper, heaved his bulk into the air, and blocked the kick.
Most frightening moment, I. Tennessee intercepted Kentucky's two-point conversion attempt in the third overtime, but fumbled it trying to run it back. It bounced into the end zone and could have been picked up by Kentucky at that point. Fortunately for the Vols, it bounced out of bounds.
Best YACcer. Gerald Jones, who, with Tennessee needing a touchdown to tie in the third overtime, caught the ball on third and eight about five yards shy of the first down and facing two defenders between him and the first down line. Jones made one move, then split the defenders and drug them across the line giving Tennessee a new set of downs. On the next play, Jones was an instrumental blocker on the screen play to Austin Rogers for the tying touchdown.
Play of the game, II. With the team starting from the 40 instead of the 25 in the fourth overtime due to the huh personal foul penalty on Arian Foster, Ainge in Orange threw a beautiful ball on a perfect call to a wide open Quintin Hancock, who caught it and dove into the end zone.
Play of the game, III. Antonio Reynolds' tackle of Andre Woodson to end the game in the fourth overtime.
Most frightening thought, II. That I had not extended the recording time on my Tivo enough to capture the entire game. Shoot, that I had enough room on the Tivo to record the entire game.
What have I missed?