Welcome back to The Terry Baltimore Cup, a 12-play tournament to pick the best play in UConn football history. We've reached the semifinals. Our second contest pits Larry Taylor's fake fair catch vs. Kashif Moore's one-handed grab. The winner will advance to take on Dave Teggart's BCS-clinching kick in the finals. You have until 6 a.m. tomorrow to vote for your favorite.
Today's first contestent is Larry Taylor's 'un'fair catch against Louisville. Here's what we wrote about it last week:
It may be hard to remember now, but at the start of 2007 Louisville was widely considered a national title contender. By the time they visited East Hartford those dreams had already fallen apart (they were 4-3 and the world was just beginning to see the damage Steve Kragthorpe could do), but for an upstart Husky team sitting on a 5-1 record the Cardinals posed a formidable challenge.
Things started out poorly -- UConn was shut out in the first half -- but the Huskies got a massive boost from a little returner when Larry Taylor took a third quarter punt 74 yards to the end zone. Of course that description leaves out what made the play so memorable: Taylor's did he or didn't he fair catch signal. In a lovely bit of trickery, Taylor conferenced with a referee before the play, clarifying that to signal a fair catch he needed to wave his arm back and forth over his head. With that image implanted in the ref's brain, Taylor then raised his arm, not making the full signal. Louisville's defenders pulled up, Taylor took off, the refs did nothing and UConn was on the board.
This was merely the craziest play in an absurd game -- Lousiville took what appeared to be a commanding 17-7 lead before a late Husky comeback and UConn fans showered the field with novelty wigs when the refs took away what appeared to be a UConn fumble recovery on Louisville's one yard line -- but it was the spark that ignited a magical three-game stretch that sent the Huskies to heights that wouldn't be topped until they made the BCS three years later.
Taylor's catch is matched up against Kashif Moore's one-handed catch in the PapaJohns.com bowl. Here's what we had to say about it:
UConn's 20-7 win over South Carolina in the Papajohns.com bowl was a wonderful end to the most difficult of seasons. Two and a half months after the murder of Jasper Howard the Huskies had managed to get their season back on track with an emotional win over Notre Dame and strong showings against Syracuse and USF to wrap up the Big East season. They were off to a bowl, but their draw was against Steve Spurrier's South Carolina team. South Carolina isn't a powerhouse, but neither is UConn and the Huskies had never beaten a SEC team before this game.
Kashif Moore helped change that. His one-handed touchdown catch set the tone for the day (UConn had a 20-0 lead at one point and USC's only points came on a garbage time score). The Huskies came to play and beat up their opponents on both sides of the ball. If we're being honest, the best performance of the day belonged to the defense, who allowed USC to convert only three third-downs in fifteen attempts, but it was Moore's catch that sticks with fans to this day. UConn may not have SEC speed, but Moore showed that it did not matter.