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Kentucky vs. Florida Recap

Updated: Oct 8, 2023

Kentucky fans were up early pounding beers and getting amped up to watch the wildcats face the 22nd ranked Florida Gators. Kentucky would eventually move to 5-0 and win their 3rd straight over the gators for the first time since 1951. Here is how it went down:

First Quarter:

Kentucky won the coin toss (5-0 on the year) and decided to defer to the second half. The gators went 3 and out on their first drive thanks to a holding penalty that negated a nice run. Kentucky's offense trotted out and went on a beautiful drive. It was a heavy dose of Ray Davis that got UK moving the ball. Eventually the drive fizzled out in the red zone after Barion Brown dropped a seemingly wide open pass in the back of the end zone for what would have been a touchdown. Alex Rayner would come on and give UK an early 3-0 lead. The very next gator drive, i witnessed one of the most creative things I've ever seen Brad White do as a defensive coordinator. On a 3rd and medium, Deone Walker was in a 2 point stance and looked primed to rush the passer. Instead, he dropped back into coverage and Mertz fired a pass right to a receiver over the middle and Walker laid a hit that jarred the ball into the air where Trevin Wallace intercepted it and returned it to the Florida 15 yard line. Kentucky wasted no time cashing in on the gator turnover. Leary found Ray Davis on a dump off pass and Davis fought through a few tackles and Eli Cox helped pull Davis across the goal line. Kentucky led 10-0 after 10 minutes of play. Just before the end of the quarter, a Florida mental error cost them 7 points. Kentucky was set to punt from deep in its own territory when a gator defender leaped over a blocker on the punt team. This led to a Leaping penalty that is a 15 yard penalty and an automatic 1st down. Kentucky's offense caught a break and the very next play, Ray Davis took it 75 yards to the house. The PAT was blocked but the cats led 16-0 after 15 minutes.

Second Quarter:

Kentucky continued to blank the gators early in the second quarter. After another gator punt, the offense put together another great drive on the back of Ray Davis. He would ultimately punch it in from 3 yards out to extend the lead to 23-0. After trading punts, the gators finally found some momentum just before half. After a missed sack by D'Eryk Jackson early in the drive, the gators would go on to score a touchdown with less than 40 seconds to play after Mertz found his TE in the end zone. At halftime, Ray Davis had 12 carries for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns to go along with 1 catch for 9 yards and a receiving touchdown.

Halftime Score: Kentucky 23, #25 Florida 7

Third Quarter:

Kentucky got the ball after half and once again, it was a steady diet of Ray Davis. After a 31 yard run by Davis and a catch by Barion Brown, Kentucky was threatening once again. The gators got UK to 3rd and goal but a pass interference call gave UK a fresh set of downs at the 2 yard line. Ray Davis would punch it in despite Florida having 13 players on the field after a substitution miscommunication. The lead would swell to 30-7. Florida would immediately respond with a touchdown of their own after a crazy 4th down play by the gator QB. Kentucky had Mertz all but wrapped up on 4th and 2 but he was able to flip it too his running back who was able to move the chains. Mertz would find Ricky Pearsall for a 33 yard touchdown after a blown coverage. Florida still trailed 30-14. Kentucky and Florida would trade drives and punts through the rest of the 3rd quarter.

Fourth Quarter:

Kentucky's defense was the star of the show in the 4th quarter. Florida's first drive of the quarter was ended after they tried to go for it on 4th and 4 but Alex Afari made a tackle on a tight end a yard short of the sticks. Kentucky would take the ball and add on 3 points after Alex Rayner nailed a 50 yard field goal to really seal the game. Florida would turn the ball over on downs again on their next drive after Keaten Wade blew up a run on 4th and 2. The offense would milk the final 4:03 to put the game away and extend the winning streak over the gators. Ray Davis ended his historic day with 26 carries, 280 yards rushing, 4 total touchdowns (1 receiving, 3 rushing). He tied Shipwreck Kelly for 3rd most rushing yards in a single game in UK history. He was 20 yards shy of breaking Moe Williams record of 299 yards.

Final Score: Kentucky 33, #25 Florida 14


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