Cats Make History
On Saturday the Kentucky football team had a chance to do something it hadn’t done in 70 years; beat Florida three straight years. In front of a rowdy Kroger Field and a rare early kickoff for these two teams, Mark Stoops’ club did just that. Let’s break down all the fun as Kentucky dominates Florida 33-14.
A Magical Performance
It’s safe to assume that Ray Davis enjoys playing against Florida. A year ago when he was at Vanderbilt, Davis rushed for 122 yards as the Commodores knocked off the Gators 30-22. On Saturday he had a career day running for 280 yards and three touchdowns. That total put him third in school history behind only Moe Williams’ 299 against South Carolina in 1995 and Lynn Bowden’s 284 versus Louisville in 2019.
In addition, Davis caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from Devin Leary meaning he had a hand in every touchdown on the day. It’s also the second time this year he’s had a rushing and a receiving touchdown. The first came two weeks ago in the win over Akron.
Davis came into the game fourth in the league in rushing and will certainly be at the top with this performance. Overall it was a great day for the Big Blue Wall who’s had some struggles recently. Kentucky ran for 329 yards against a defense that was only giving up 82 yards per game. This puts them 14th in the nation.
It wasn’t just Davis who had a big game on Saturday. The defense shined as well.
Coming Up Big
Heading into Saturday’s game Florida had one of the top rushing attacks in the nation. However, Brad White’s defense did a remarkable job shutting them down. Trevor Etienne ranked just ahead of Davis in rushing with 329 yards. But UK held him to only 29 yards on the ground on 16 attempts. Overall the Wildcats’ defense held Florida to 69 rushing yards.
A Trevin Wallace interception of Graham Mertz led to Davis’ first score. In addition, they sacked Mertz three times to go along with nine tackles for a loss. Overall they held Florida to 313 yards of total offense. In fact, the Kentucky defense has held each opponent to under 350 yards so far in 2o23. Put it all together and it equals a huge win as Kentucky dominates Florida 33-14.
With the win, Kentucky moves to 5-0 for the second time in the last three seasons. More importantly, the Wildcats are 2-0 in SEC play. Furthermore, they should be ranked in the Top 25 this week. We’ll also see how the win enhances their bowl projection.
The Cats have the ultimate test next week as they head to Athens for a date with the two-time defending National Champion Georgia Bulldogs. Kentucky’s looking to end a losing streak to the Bulldogs that currently stands at 14. The Wildcats’ last win came in 2009 when they won in Athens.
As for the Gators, they drop to 3-2 on the year and 1-1 in league play. They host Vanderbilt for homecoming next Saturday afternoon in Gainesville. As we mentioned earlier Florida will be looking for some revenge against the Commodores for what happened in Nashville last year.
It can’t be stated enough how big of a win this is for the Kentucky program. For years the Cats were dominated by the Gators including that 31-year losing streak from 1987-2017. However, UK has now won three in a row and four of the last six. They gave away the game in 2019 so it could easily be five of the last six. It’s another testament to what Stoops has built in 11 years in Lexington.
.@UKFootball has allowed a total of 43 points in their last 3 games combined against Florida. Between 1990 and 2016, Florida scored at least 43 points against Kentucky in a single game 13 times.
— Corey Price (@coreyp08) September 30, 2023
For a series that’s seen nail-biter after nail-biter in recent history a blowout win was even more sweet. Kentucky came into Saturday a one-point favorite. That was the first time since 1988 UK was favored over the Gators.
Again it’s a great day in the Bluegrass as Kentucky dominates Florida 33-14. It’s the first time since 1948-1951 when Bear Bryant roamed the sidelines that the Wildcats have won three straight against the Gators.
Thanks for checking out our recap here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll be back later in the week with a Georgia preview.