By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Kentucky tight end Jacob Tamme cannot pick out a “favorite” memory from his UK days. He thinks back to the 2006 win over Georgia where fans stormed the field and he cried as he celebrated with them. There were the dramatic wins in 2007 over Louisville and LSU, the eventual national champion.
“I go back and forth on a favorite moment. A lot of times I say Georgia because we knew what that game meant. It was the first time for us to get over a big hurdle like that. We knew we could play better than we had and that win was the first time the fan base really started believing in us,” Tamme said. “I had been part of that fan base growing up and and knew all about the football team’s struggle. I wanted the fans to believe in us and I knew beating Georgia started something pretty special.
“We knocked off Louisville, a top 10 team. No one thought we could beat them and then we beat a team (LSU) in overtime that won the national championship in dramatic fashion. Fans were all over the field. I’ll never forget that. Three crowd rushes makes for a pretty neat deal.”
But he also will never forget the games that got away that year that kept a good season from becoming a great season.
No loss hurt more than the four-overtime, 52-50 loss to Tennessee in 2007 when the Cats missed a 35-yard field goal in the first overtime that would have won the game.
“Beating Tennessee had been one of my dreams since I was a kid,” Tamme said. “I wanted that win so bad. Personally, it was devastating to me. It took everything I had to recoup and get ready for the bowl game. It was heartbreaking but at least we won the bowl game (against Florida State) to end on a high note.”
“I was really proud of the way way I played and the team played. I will see clips of that Tennessee game on TV even now and can remember we laid it all out there. I made the best catch of my career in that game. I don’t want that blurred out of my memory because we played so hard. I just wish we had won because it would have been another incredible experience for the fans.”
Kentucky also had a chance to beat Florida when ESPN College Game Day came to UK that season. Instead, UK fell behind early and lost 45-37.
“We had not got it done a year earlier at their place and really wanted that win at home for a lot of reasons,” Tamme said. “Then we had Mississippi State the next week at home and had our worst performance of the season. You look at those three games and we could have won 10 — or 11 if we had not lost at South Carolina — and competed for the SEC title.
“You can think about what you didn’t do or just be proud of what we did do. It could have better, sure, but we did have darn good season and changed way UK football was looked at and the experience the fan base could have.”
Now the 2018 team is doing the same thing. It’s off the same 5-0 start the 2007 team had but that 2007 team lost four of its final regular season games after the win over LSU. That 2007 team also had just one SEC win — over an unranked Arkansas — in its 5-0 start. This UK team is already 3-0 in SEC play.
Tamme has been active on social media praising UK’s play this season. He’s been on various radio shows expressing his excitement about UK’s play and hoping this team can finish the season better than his team did and turn what already is a good season into a great season.