LEXINGTON, Kentucky — – Trevin Wallace answered a blocked field goal from 76 yards for the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter, Chris Rodriguez Jr. had a 9-yard scoring run early in the fourth and Kentucky made a final defensive stand to hold off number 10 Florida 20-13 on Saturday-evening.
The Southeastern Conference East Division showdown was more of a slog than a brawl for much of the night, with the Gators (3-2, 1-2) poised to add Jace Christmann’s 48-yard field goal attempt to their 10-7 lead .
Kentucky defensive end Josh Paschal got a hand on the low kick that sent the ball fluttering across the line to Wallace, who flew past a tackle on the left sideline and cut back through a small seam to race for the game-changing TD.
The Wildcats (5-0, 3-0) turned it around on downs at the Florida 34 to start the fourth quarter, but created another chance when linebacker JJ Weaver intercepted Emory Jones’ pass for a first down at the Gators 29 Rodriguez took over from there, rushing three times for 22 yards including the 9-yard TD for a 20-10 cushion with 11:32 remaining.
Florida came in within seven on Christmann’s 33-yard field goal with 6:23 to go before getting the ball back a few minutes later and driving to the Kentucky 5 using a defensive facemask penalty. A 4-yard loss on a pass play and false start penalty brought the Gators back to 14, but they had one last chance of 8 before Jacquez Jones knocked out a fourth-down pass with 18 seconds left to claim the win. seal.
Fans stormed the field as Kentucky defeated Florida in-house for the first time since 1986 and took a big step to challenge Georgia in the East.
The Wildcats did despite beating 382-211, but got a 41-yard TD pass from Will Levis to Wan’Dale Robinson and 99 yards rushing on 19 carries from Rodriguez.
A slew of false starts included many of Florida’s 15 penalties for 115 yards. Jones completed 23 of 31 passes for 203 yards, but the Gators were held well below their average of nearly 541 yards, which came in ninth.
Florida expects to drop a few slots with its second SEC loss. Kentucky has made a strong case to be in the rankings for the first time since the memorable 2018 season.
THE TAKE OUT
Florida: The Gators moved the ball with Jones and Anthony Richardson, but couldn’t help but finish their first TD. Christmann’s 51-yard field goal gave them a lead, but the block and interception dug a hole they couldn’t climb out. The false starts in a loud environment were especially costly when stalling drives.
Kentucky: The Wildcats really only had one sustained drive and committed another turnover that nearly cost them until Paschal and Wallace prevented that with a pairing that played special teams and TD. Weaver’s pick-off secured an insurance score, a rare takeaway that proved crucial in a defensive battle.
Florida: Host Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Kentucky: Host of LSU on Saturdays.