Kentucky’s win over No. 10 Florida was a unique achievement for the entire British squad.
The Wildcats defeated the Gators, 20-13, to score the school’s first home win over Florida since 1986 when Kentucky defeated Florida 10-3.
Florida had won 16 consecutive games in Kentucky between then and Saturday-evening. But Kentucky took the lead in the third quarter after Trevin Wallace returned a blocked 78-yard field goal for a touchdown.
The extra point wasn’t good, and that loomed big when Florida had the ball for its final drive. Needing only a touchdown and an extra point to tie, the Gators made it to the Kentucky five with less than a minute to go, but then fell back. The Gators came back to eighth in fourth, but Emory Jones’ pass fell incomplete after it was deflected on the goal line.
Florida went backwards towards the end of the game due to another false start. The Gators made eight false starts during the game. Florida was penalized 15 times for 115 yards, while Kentucky was penalized only four times.
The Fading Hopes of SEC East in Florida
The Gators’ chances of repeating as SEC East champions are very slim after the loss. No. 2 Georgia defeated Arkansas 37-0 at home and it looks like it could go 12-0 in the regular season. Florida now has losses at number 1 Alabama and Kentucky.
That means Georgia has to lose to Florida and another team, while Florida remains undefeated for the rest of the season so that the Gators can return to the SEC championship game. And that’s not even counting Kentucky, a team that is now in a position to be Georgia’s main challenger in the East. The Wildcats now have an effective three game lead over the Gators in the event of a tie between the teams.
Florida went into the season as the clear No. 2 team to Georgia in the East. And it’s hard to see how narrow the gap between the two teams is, even after Florida’s two-point loss to Alabama earlier this season.
What is the Kentucky ceiling?
Saturday night was not the best win if you look at the box score. Kentucky took advantage of Florida’s penalties and had just 224 yards in total. QB Will Levis passed just 7-of-17 for 87 yards and a TD and an interception, while Chris Rodriguez had 19 carries for 99 yards and a score. Wan’Dale Robinson had four catches for 65 yards and one of those catches went for 41. Levis’ six other completions went for just 46 yards and no player other than Robinson had more than a single catch.
Kentucky even seemed to acknowledge that the win wasn’t brilliant.
Even so, it was still a brutally effective win. Kentucky isn’t going to beat teams through the air. Robinson poses an aerial threat for the defense to reckon with, while Rodriguez has rushed at least 99 yards in all of Kentucky’s games against FBS opponents this season.
Can Kentucky get to 10 wins? It’s not a silly question, even if “yes” is still an unlikely answer. Kentucky’s toughest games over the next four weeks are at home against LSU, Georgia and Mississippi State. Kentucky probably won’t get through that stretch unscathed, but if the UK is 6-2 by the end of November, it could start dreaming big with games against Tennessee, Vanderbilt, New Mexico State and Louisville in November.
A 10-win season would probably be good enough for a six-bowl New Years game and would be the program’s second 10-win season in four seasons under Mark Stoops. UK had only won 10 games twice in 97 years before Stoops arrived.