Originally posted on Bearcats Blog  |  Last updated 7/11/13
Twitter is abuzz of talk of the finest moment of Rick Minter's career, the 1999 upset victory over Wisconsin. Since I haven't forgotten about Throwback Thursday, what better time to recap that game than now? There have been two previous entries of this feature that covers UC games before there was a Bearcats Blog, they were Cincinnati's NCAA tournament game with East Tennessee State, and the time Steve Logan outscored Southern Mississippi. In keeping with the throwback theme, this article is the majority of something I wrote on the old blogspot version of Bearcats Blog. This version is better because I have polished it up. And because this version is happening now, and now is better. Enjoy. This edition of Throwback Thursday covers a game that is near and dear to my heart. It happened way back in 1999. The opponent was the mighty the Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin came into this game ranked #9. This Badger team would lose the next week to Michigan before running the table and winning the Rose Bowl. They had Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. The Bearcats team? They were coming off a loss to Division II Troy. Troy is respectable now, but back then they were hot garbage. Of course, there is no record of that game at all, besides the score, so I can't tell you more about it. I had a friend who lived in Wisconsin at this time. I sent him emails every day for a week that taunted him of how Cincinnati was going to beat Wisconsin. He laughed it off because the Badgers were really good and the Bearcats were not. But that ladies and gentlemen, that's why they play the games. I was at this game with my dad. We were on the Wisconsin side, because every time you bought tickets at the gate back then, you were always on the visitor side. In fact, I don't remember any time I've been behind the Cincinnati bench. Always visitor side or end zones. I almost caught an extra point once. It wasn't at this game, so I don't know why I brought it up. The game was pretty slow starting. It was dominated by Wisconsin in the first quarter. Cincinnati had the ball to start the second. With the ball at their 49, the Cats handed the ball to this man. Robert 'Sterling' Cooper. Only Cooper didn't get tackled, like in the photo. He ran 51 yards for a touchdown to stake a 7-3 Cincinnati lead. Cooper had 143 yards on the day. After a Wisconsin field goal, the Badgers looked like they took the lead, but an 81 yard punt return TD by Nick Davis was called back. The Bearcats added the lead in the third quarter, when Deontey Kenner ran a QB draw 5 yards for a touchdown. I loved Deontey Kenner. I wonder what happened to him? From a quick google search, he was a personal trainer at the Cincinnati sports club as recently as 2012 . Apparently he played softball with a man on June 18.   That was from Greg Harrell, who is a guy a lot of you follow on twitter. Kenner had a little write up in Sports Illustrated after the Ohio State game that you can read here. After the Bearcats drove to make it 14-6 with Mr. Softball, Wisconsin went on a 96 yard layin the smack down drive for a score. Ron Dayne, who had 28 carries for 231 yards, ran in from 18 yards. Believe it or not, Dayne was injured with a sprained ankle. He didn't play the whole game. And he had 28 carries for 231 yards. Pro Ron Dayne was a bust, but college Ron Dayne was special. In this game, he passed Archie Griffin for most yards by a Big 10 back. Wisconsin ended up going for 2, but the pass was broken up by Tinker Keck. Another blast from the past there. Always loved that name. Nothing says late 90s Cincinnati football like Tinker Keck. Tinker Keck would have another big play in the fourth quarter. With 8 minutes left, Wisconsin punted. Captain Tinker Keck, known for his near recklessness, was set to return. The kick went back to the 10. The ball bounced off Keck's facemask, Wisconsin recovered. The Badgers gave the ball to Dayne on the second play of the drive. It looked like he was going to score, but Bobby Fuller had other ideas and popped the ball out. Jeff Burrow recovered as Cincinnati avoided a big one. I remember sitting there and seeing the ball come flying out of Dayne's hands and jumping up and down like a spaz when UC recovered. It looked like Dayne was walking in for a score. The Bearcats wouldn't convert a first down, but their punt was muffed by Davis. He was blown up by LaVar Glover, allowing Carlton Sykes to recover. When Davis dropped the ball, the whole side of the stadium across from me jumped up at once. It was really cool to see. I still remember it, that should show how cool it is. UC would go 3 and out, Jonathan Ruffin showed why his number is retired by drilling a 41 yard field goal with 5 minutes left to make it 17-12. The Badgers drove down the field for their game winning drive. They stalled late and had to make a play on 4th down. For a second, it looked like they did. Scott Kavanaugh threw to the end zone, finding a familiar name, Lee Evans. The touchdown was wiped out by an illegal motion penalty as Nippert gave a sigh of relief. With 6 seconds left, Kavanaugh went back to pass. This time, he threw too high for Nick Davis. All that was left was this: Immediately after Kenner took the knee to end the game, the crowd did this: and also this: I was one of the people who stormed the field. I even shook Rick Minter's hand. It was pretty awesome. It was all pretty awesome. The win over Wisconsin was the first win over a top 10 team in Cincinnati history. I remember having to twist my dad's arm to go. I'm so happy that we went because this game still brings back a flood of memories despite the fact it happened nearly 14 years ago. It was one of the best sports moments of my life. It was one of the best moments in Cincinnati football history. I'm glad I got to be there for it.
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