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Florida Dismantles Kentucky 34-10

Florida Gators receiver Kadarius Toney (1) runs a punt return back for a touchdown during a football game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. Nov. 28, 2020. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

With just 2:13 left in the second quarter, Kentucky kicker Matt Ruffolo banged in a 22-yard field goal to put the Cats up 10-7 against No. 6 Florida. The offense was clicking, keeping the Gators on their heals with pre-snap motion and efficient plays. Next drive, Florida was forced to punt after going just 25 yards in six plays with 1:00 until the halftime buzzer sounded.

Then out came Florida punter Jay Finn, who booted a 49-yard punt to the Kentucky 1-yard line. The Gators had three timeouts still in their pocket, and all UK had to do was get a first down and run out the clock to ensure a halftime lead.

That did not happen, however. Kentucky ran up the gut three straight times with senior running back AJ Rose, who picked up nine yards in those three plays, not enough to move the chains. As UK senior punter Max Duffy trotted out with the clock stopped at 56 seconds, the Gators brought out two potential punt returners in an attempt to trick Kentucky into covering the wrong player. Duffy then booted his punt around 50 yards to dynamic returner Kadarius Toney, all awhile every Wildcat except two were on the other side of the field assuming Toney’s teammate was going to catch it.

Toney then returned the punt for touchdown, and Florida went into halftime up 14-10. Kentucky had the same amount of yards as the Gators (175), and had controlled the clock for 23 minutes up to that moment, but because of special teams mistakes, they were losing.

15 minutes later of real time, the implosion ensued. The Gators come out and march down the field for a touchdown immediately on a 5 play, 75-yard drive that was helped out by back-to-back-to-back penalties from the Cats to go up 28-10. Kentucky’s offense could not match Florida’s scoring drive, going three-and-out immediately and punting. And that was the story for the rest of the game, as all of a sudden the Cats’ offense went stagnant and the Gators put up 27 unanswered points to stroll to a 34-10 victory.

Florida finished with a total of  418 yards for the game, with of 243 that coming in the second half. Senior quarterback and Heisman Trophy front-runner Kyle Trask went 21/27 in the game for 256 passing yards and three touchdowns. Star tight end Kyle Pitts had another monster game, finishing with five catches for 99 yards and three touchdowns. Pitts had as many touchdowns today as any UK wideout has had all season.

Kentucky finished with just 46 yards in the second half after going for 175 in the first two quarters. Senior quarterback Terry Wilson went 10/18 for just 62 passing yards and one touchdown while throwing two interceptions. Sophomore tight end Keaton Upshaw had three catches for 28 yards and one touchdown, but did not have a target in the second half. After controlling the clock for 23/30 minutes in the first half, they finished having the ball for just 33 minutes total. Their first 1st down of the second half came with seven minutes to go in the game after converting 13 in the first two quarters.

Simply put, Kentucky came into the game wounded as they were without 16 players due to Covid-19 or injury issues and had just suffered through a 63-3 loss last week at Alabama, and went off the field with another painful defeat.

 

 

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