Ranking Kentucky’s Most Heartbreaking Losses To Florida
For 31 consecutive years, the Kentucky Wildcats have lost to the Florida Gators. It is the longest current losing streak in all of college football and tied for fourth most all-time. A few days ago we put up a poll on Twitter and Cat fans answered. As some sort of therapy session, let’s dive in and begin ranking Kentucky’s most heartbreaking losses To Florida. In addition to the countdown, we will give you a preview and prediction on this year’s game.
Giving The Champs All They Can Handle
Number Five- Florida 45 Kentucky 37– One week earlier, Rich Brooks’ squad knocked off number one LSU in three overtimes. Their reward was a visit from Tim Tebow and the defending National Champion Gators.
In front of the College GameDay crew, this was arguably the most hyped Kentucky game ever. The contest more than lived up to its billing. Quarterback Andre Woodson had a career day throwing for 415 yards and five touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, Tebow threw for 276 yards and four scores. In addition, he ran for 78 more yards and another touchdown.
The seventh-ranked Cats jumped out to an early 7-0 lead. But, Tebow and company quickly took over leading by as many as 18 points. Woodson led a rally in the second half but could get no closer than seven.
Blowing A 21-3 Lead
Number Four- 2003- Florida 24 Kentucky 21– As the title suggests, Kentucky led the Gators by 18 at the end of the third quarter. However, the Cats totally melted down in the last stanza as Ron Zook’s club ran the streak to 17 straight.
With the Cats up 21-16 late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Jared Lorenzen attempted to throw to prevent a sack. Unfortunately, it turned out to be ill-advised as the Gators’ Johnny Lamar intercepted. A few plays later, a Ran Carthan touchdown turned out to be the game winner. With 44 seconds remaining, Taylor Begley missed a 49 yard field goal and the Gators ran out the clock.
Seven Interceptions Aren’t Enough
Number Three- 1993- Florida 24 Kentucky 20- The Wildcats best chance at being Steve Spurrier came in this battle in Lexington. However, as it has happened so many times before, the Cats came up just short.
Bill Curry’s club dominated most of the game but couldn’t seal the deal. The Cats intercepted the Florida quarterbacks a school record seven times. But, with time expiring Danny Wuerffel hit Chris Doering with a touchdown pass over the middle as the Gators escaped again.
It would be a decade before Kentucky came that close to ending the streak.
As we continue Ranking Kentucky’s most heartbreaking losses To Florida, it’s time for the top two. The Wildcats could and probably should have beaten the Gators three of the last four years. That fact is further illustrated as both of these games took place during this time period.
A Missed Call Leads To More Heartbreak
Number Two- 2014- Florida 36 Kentucky 30 3 OT’s- In Mark Stoops’ first trip to the swamp, the Cats nearly broke the streak. Kentucky went toe to toe with the Gators for four quarters and into overtime.
In the first extra frame, Florida faced a fourth and seven trailing 27-20. As the play clock hit zero, Jeff Driskel hit Demarcus Robinson in the end zone to continue the game. Replays showed the play never should have happened but that’s Kentucky football luck for you.
— Dan Hutchinson (@MeWizeMagic) October 5, 2014
A one yard run from Matt Jones gave the Gators the win as the streak hit 28.
A Come From Ahead Loss
Number One- 2017- Florida 28 Kentucky 27- To no one’s surprise the most recent loss was voted the worst.
Leading 27-13 heading into the fourth quarter, the Cats were thoroughly outplaying Jim McElwain’s club. However, it was not to be as the Gators rallied yet again.
Luke Del Rio led Florida down the field and hit Freddie Swain for a five yard touchdown to put them ahead 28-27. Unbelievably, Kentucky left Swain wide open. The second time in the game it happened both leading to scores. As one would expect, social media went wild with all kinds of comments.
This should be the cover of the 2018 Kentucky Football Media Guide because nothing sums up Kentucky Football better than this. pic.twitter.com/D5WlyN5FGY
— Mark Nagi (@MarkNagi) September 24, 2017
Despite little time left on the clock, Stephen Johnson led the Cats into Austin MacGinnis’ field goal range. However, a questionable holding call on Nick Haynes moved the Cats back ten yards. MacGinnis’ 57 yard field goal fell just short and the streak reached 31. As they have several times since 1986, the Gators escaped once again.
Does The Streak End On Saturday?
Now that we have taken a look back, let’s take a look into the future. Kentucky did some really good things in their 35-20 win over Central Michigan especially on defense. One thing they have to work on is turnovers. Starting in his first game, Terry Wilson, had two fumbles and an interception. Also, the team had four total miscues. The Chippewas converted those into all 20 of their points.
When Wilson went out of the game late in the second quarter due to injury, Gunnar Hoak stepped up and led Kentucky to a score right before the half. Wilson came back into the game in the second half and is listed as number one on the depth chart.
Going into the season, the Wildcats rushing attack was thought to be a strength and it was. Both Benny Snell and A. J. Rose ran for over 100 yards and two touchdowns each. For the game, the Cats rushed for 299 yards, their most in almost two years.
On the other side of the ball, the Cats held Central Michigan to 255 yards and only 97 in the second half. Josh Allen and Kash Daniel led the way for the Kentucky defense.
The Gators looked impressive in a 53-6 win over Charleston Southern. In Dan Mullen‘s debut in Gainesville Feleipe Franks looked liked a totally different player. Throwing for five touchdowns and 212 yards, the sophomore was much more comfortable in the pocket.
There are many who think Kentucky’s window to break the streak is closing due to Mullen taking the helm at Florida. While at Mississippi State, Mullen went 8-1 against the Cats.
If there is a ray of hope, it is the fact the Gators gave up 222 yards rushing to an FCS school. For Kentucky to spring the upset Snell has to have a career game. Even by controlling the game on the ground and limiting turnovers it still may not be enough. Perhaps next year will be the year the streak is broken.
Florida 27 Kentucky 20
Thanks for clicking on ranking Kentucky’s most heartbreaking losses To Florida here at Last Word On College Football. Next week, the Cats host an in-state rival in the Murray State Racers.