31 games. 31 years. That was how long it had been since the Kentucky Wildcats had beaten the Florida Gators in football. Key word: “had.”
The Wildcats went into the Swamp and beat the 25th-ranked Gators to the tune of 303 rushing yards from Benny Snell, Asim Rose, and Terry Wilson. The Cats rushed for about 7.4 yards per carry, while Terry Wilson threw for a surprising 9.4 yards per attempt.
Kentucky started off strong, marching down the field for a touchdown on their first drive, but Florida kicked into gear after that. Mostly controlling the rest of the first half threw turnovers, while scoring on a touchdown pass from Feleipe Franks to Moral Stephens. The Gators went into half up 10-7.
It was all downhill from there for the residents of the Swamp. Kentucky took over the game on the ground, and the Gators could not stop them. Florida looked lost, and it didn’t help that one of UF’s best corners, Marco Wilson, went down with an ACL injury early, which shellshocked the defense.
Meanwhile, the Gator offense sputtered. The offensive line could not get push in the ground game, despite holding up in pass protection. Franks struggled to hit his receivers, and even when he could get it to them, many of them dropped the ball.
Late in the third quarter, it looked like Florida was building momentum and was poised to take a field goal, cutting the game to one score. Florida freshman kicker Evan McPherson lined up and seemed to knock it through the uprights. But in a controversial call, the referees deemed it a miss. The play was not reviewable because it passed over the uprights.
While the fans were irate, Florida still could not get anything done on offense as the game went on. The Gators mounted a late touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, but had to be aided by several penalties to do so. Kentucky ran some of the clock out, hit an excellent punt and gave Florida only 30 seconds to go 99 yards. Florida couldn’t, and Kentucky scored a late touchdown off a scoop-and-score fumble as time expired.
Kentucky starts conference play with a win and looks to be a team that can shake up some of the contenders in the SEC. Build Mark Stoops a statue.
Dan Mullen, meanwhile, has his work cut out for him with the Gators. It’s hard to make a soft team tough overnight, and Mullen has several more nights to go.
Led by a physical and dominating ground game as well as an underrated night from Terry Wilson, Kentucky finally ended 31 years of woes. It is not an understatement to say history was made.