Instant Analysis: More of the same as Napier falls to 1-7 away from the Swamp

Kentucky 33 - Florida 14

by Rafael De Los Santos
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Please Read: Welcome to the new-look Inside the Gators

The No. 22 Florida Gators lost the opportunity to put the rest of the SEC on notice with a 33-14 loss to an undefeated Kentucky Wildcats team at Kroger Field. Before the meeting UF, under new coordinator Austin Armstrong, checked in at No. 5 in the country (first in the SEC) with 244.8 yards per game, allowing just 13.5 points per outing. Kentucky’s dominated the rush on both sides of the ball in a matchup that will likely see UK replace UF in the AP Top 25.

Inside the Gators’ Instant Analysis takes a quick look at how the game unfolded.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: With just under 12 minutes to go in the fourth quarter Kentucky’s defense forced a turnover on downs at the UF 44-yard line. The Wildcats managed to bleed just under four minutes off the clock as kicker Alex Raynor buried a 50-yard field goal to make it a three-possession game with 7:44 to go.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: It was a one-man game for Kentucky today. None other than Vanderbilt transfer Ray Davis could take this award. The Gators had been running through teams through week four, limiting Graham Mertz to low risk throws as Florida’s defense won them games.

At the half, Kentucky’s 93rd-ranked rushing offense saw Davis dial up 206 yards on 12 attempts. It seemed as though the Gators were on the receiving end of their run-heavy scheme as Davis torched the Gators for 26 rushes for 280 yards and three touchdowns. Davis finished the game 19 yards short of Kentucky’s all-time 299-yard rush record set by Moe Williams in 1995.

THESE STATS DON’T LIE: At the end of the third Florida had seven penalties for a loss of 60 yards, their most penalty yards all season. Limiting penalties had been a big point of emphasis in the Napier era. After receiving nine penalties at No. 14 Utah, UF posted only four penalties against McNeese and five penalties against No. 11 Tennessee and Charlotte respectively. UF had eight false start penalties in their last trip to Kroger Field. Florida finished this one with 10 penalties for 85 yards.

THIS MATCH-UP PROVED KEY: A half-injured Kingsley Eguakun Vs. the 6-foot-6, 348-pound sophomore Deone Walker. The Wildcats front seven lived in the Gators backfield all game, recording nine tackles for loss and sacking Mertz three times. Walker seemed to get the best of Eguakun as he finished the game with a sack and a tackle for loss, holding Florida to a mere 69 rush yards.

WHAT A PLAY: Unlike most of these, this wasn’t in a good way. True Freshman Dijon Johnson will have surely hoped for a better coming out party into the Gators spotlight. Following a crucial third-down stop deep in Kentucky territory, Johnson’s jump over the Wildcats’ punt shield meant a costly new set of downs.

It was only right that the player of the game in Ray Davis would then punish Florida for a 75-yard house call on the first play of the drive. The touchdown was Davis’ first of four on the night as he put up an all-time rushing performance for the Wildcats. Davis now leads the SEC in rushing touchdowns with eight.

UP NEXT: The Gators (3-2) will be back in The Swamp next Saturday, Oct. 7, for Florida’s homecoming game against Vanderbilt (1-2) at 4 p.m.

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