FINAL: Kentucky 27, Florida 16
1st Quarter: Gators 0 Wildcats 7
Gainesville, FL- The Gators opened their SEC Schedule tonight against a Kentucky Wildcats team that they have beaten 31 consecutive times. Only, this isn’t the same Kentucky team that has lost 31 years running. This was a team that was determined to get that monkey off of their backs.
Florida had possession to begin and found mixed success in their opening drive but ultimately were forced to punt. Kentucky’s opening possession was a picture of efficiency. Led by the rushing attack of Benny Snell Jr., the Wildcats found paydirt on a 29 yard completion from Terry Wilson to David Bouvier.
For a young quarterback making his first trip to the Swamp, Wilson showed significant poise despite turning the ball over a couple of times in the first half.
Feleipe Franks: 17/38, 232 YD 2 TD 1 INT
Terry Wilson: 11/16, 151 YD 2 TD 1 INT
2nd Quarter: Gators 10 Wildcats 0
After giving up the early lead, Florida bounced back to put up some points of their own. Nothing came easily to the Gators though as they seemed to struggle to find a rhythm for most of the game. The flashes that were shown, would propel the offense just enough to make plays when they needed to.
After putting together a promising string of plays on the last possession of the first quarter, the Gators capped off the drive with a 29 yard Evan McPherson field goal. The next two Wildcat drives showed promise but ultimately were killed by a fumble and and interception, respectively.
The next scoring drive for the Gators seemed to be sparked by Kadarius Toney. Twice tonight, we saw the 1-2 combination of a pass completed to Toney followed by a direct snap to Toney. Both times, the combo of plays by the electric playmaker were successful.
It was the first time that this package was used that set up an 18 yard touchdown pass from Feleipe Franks to Moral Stephens. It is worth noting that on the season, Florida has 7 passing touchdowns and just 1 on the ground. This is a little concerning given the wealth of talent in their backfield.
Kadarius Toney: 2 REC, 35 YD
Freddie Swain: 3 REC, 30 YD 1 TD
Moral Stephens: 1 REC, 18 YD 1 TD
Lynn Bowden Jr.: 4 REC, 79 YD 1 TD
David Bouvier: 2 REC, 43 YD 1 TD
3rd Quarter: Gators 0 Wildcats 14
The Gators front seven were on their heels for most of the night as Kentucky chewed up yardage and won the battle in the trenches. For the second week in a row, the Florida defense gave up an enormous amount of rushing yardage. Kentucky would have two rushers reach 100+ on their way to 303 yards rushing as a team.
After a long opening drive, the Cats regained the lead when Terry Wilson took a designed run 24 yards for a score. Wilson was efficient in the passing game and racked up 105 yards on the ground as well.
For all of the talented running backs that Florida has, it is a problem that Feleipe Franks was the leading rusher both in touches and in total yards. For Florida’s offense to work, they need to open up the play action on the backs of Scarlett, Davis, and Perine.
With the third quarter winding down, Wilson and the Wildcats found themselves in a third and sixteen situation. The Wildcats offense was unphased as Wilson connected with Bowden Jr. for a 54 yard touchdown that left the Gators reeling.
Feleipe Franks: 11 CAR, 44 YD 4.0 AVG
Lamical Perine: 4 CAR, 34 YD 8.5 AVG
Jordan Scarlett: 7 CAR, 25 YD 3.6 AVG
Benny Snell Jr: 27 CAR, 175 YD 6.5 AVG
Terry Wilson: 10 CAR, 105 YD 10.5 AVG 1 TD
4th Quarter: Gators 6 Wildcats 6
With their backs against the wall, Florida would attempt to rally in the fourth quarter for the second year in a row. The comeback was dealt a significant blow when Evan McPherson missed a field goal attempt on what would be a very controversial call. The ball appeared to hook inside the uprights but the officials called the kick no good.
After a defensive stop, the offense went back to work. Franks would lead the offense 99 yards for a touchdown with just 3:34 left in regulation. Freddie Swain hauled in the 4 yard touchdown to put Florida within striking distance. Mullen opted to go for the 2-point conversion and Franks had Malik Davis wide open but chose to go to the opposite side of the field instead, throwing incomplete into tight coverage.
Once again, the defense held to give one final chance. But alas, every streak must come to an end. With a final play, Franks dropped back to pass but was hit from behind as he was throwing. The ball came loose and, at first, appeared to be an incomplete pass but was ruled and confirmed to be a fumble. Kentucky scooped it up, returned it to the 1-yard line, and nearly handed it to an official before realizing the play wasn’t dead and scoring a touchdown as time expired.
With the game in the books, it is clear that the Gators still have much to learn about what it takes to be a championship caliber team.
Time of Possession
East Standings Conference-Overall
Georgia 1-0 2-0
Kentucky 1-0 2-0
Mizzou 0-0 2-0
Vandy 0-0 2-0
Florida 0-1 1-1
South Carolina 0-1 1-1
Tennessee 0-0 1-1
Florida takes on Colorado State
at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Saturday, 9/15 @ 4 p.m. on