“They were ready to play, and they flat out beat us.”-Florida Head Coach Billy Napier
For the second straight week, a Florida Gators opponent focused on stopping the run. And for the second straight week, the Gators offense struggled to get in a rhythm as a result.
Kentucky jumped out to a 23-0 first half lead and never looked back. The Wildcats put the ball in RB Ray Davis’ hands and let him do the work.
The grad-transfer from Vanderbilt put together one of the best days on the ground in program history as the Wildcats defeated Florida, 33-14.
Davis rushed for more than 200 yards before the game was twenty minutes in and finished with 280 and four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving).
The Gators opened the drive with a three and out thanks to a holding penalty on a big third down gain by Montrell Johnson. From there, it was the Ray Davis Show.
A crucial stretch occurred near the end of the first quarter. The Gators, trailing 10-0, forced a Kentucky punt, and were to begin possession near midfield, but a leaping penalty gave the Wildcats a new set of downs. The very next play, Davis went 75 yards for a touchdown.
Head coach Billy Napier said afterward about the penalty, “we just got a young player out there that made a poor decision, and he knows he made a mistake. I do think that was a pivotal moment in the game.”
Trailing big, the Gators finally gained some momentum late in the second quarter. QB Graham Mertz found Hayden Hurst in the end zone for the freshman’s first ever score. Florida added another touchdown in the third quarter when Mertz hit Ricky Pearsall from 33 yards out.
Despite the struggles against the run, the Florida pass defense was terrific. Kentucky QB Devin Leary completed just nine passes for 69 yards. The longest reception of the day went for just twelve yards for the Wildcats.
“Not a lot of positive to talk about today,” said Napier, “hats off to Kentucky and Coach Stoops. They were ready to play, and they flat out beat us.”
Florida returns home and will take on Vanderbilt for Homecoming Saturday. The game is scheduled for 4:00 PM.