Nov. 25, 1950
Probably the watershed moment of the rivalry, Tennessee football finally got its revenge on Kentucky for what Kentucky used to do to it in the Southern Conference. During Robert Neyland’s first run in the late 1920s and early 1930s, he had five undefeated seasons from 1926 to 1932, but they all had one blemish: a tie with either Kentucky or Vanderbilt.
Three of those ties were with Kentucky, and all three cost them the Southern Conference Championship. One of them cost the Vols a trip to the Rose Bowl. Well, here was UT’s turn. The Vols had suffered an upset loss to the Mississippi State then-Maroons in the second game of the year. They then rebounded to get to 8-1.
At No. 9, Tennessee football was set to host the best Kentucky team in history. Bear Bryant had gotten the Wildcats to 10-0 and No. 5, and because of the scheduling, they had already clinched the SEC Championship and a trip to the Sugar Bowl. This was their shot at a national title and for Bryant to finally beat Neyland.
It didn’t happen. The Great Appalachian Storm of 1950 hit the week of the game, and a blizzard wrecked Rocky Top as the game kicked off. That resulted in a series of fumbles all over the place. Somehow, the Vols found the end zone once to win 7-0. That was all they needed.
UK was the better team, but UT won, and after beating the Texas Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl, the Vols were able to claim a share of the national championship. This game more than any other proved Kentucky was cursed against the Vols.