For the next two weeks we will be hosting The Terry Baltimore Cup, a 12-play tournament to pick the best play in UConn football history. Today, we're introducing the top four seeds, which get a bye into next week's quarterfinals. Tomorrow we'll have our first opening round matchup. Our second nominee? Larry Taylor's unfair catch.
The Date: October 19, 2007
The Game: UConn vs. Louisville
The Play: 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.