Instant Analysis: Kentucky makes it two in a row over Florida

Sep 10, 2022 | 1 comment

For the second season in a row, Kentucky has upset Florida, earning their third win in the last five seasons over the Gators.

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

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson threw an incomplete pass on fourth down with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter. Truly, the momentum shifted when Keidron Smith intercepted a Richardson pass in the third quarter and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown, but the Gators truly weren’t out of it until Richardson’s second incomplete pass on fourth down in back-to-back series.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: Kentucky’s linebacker group shined, led by Jordan Wright. Four of the Cats’ top-five tacklers were linebackers, including wright who had six tackles, four solo stops, a sack, two tackles for loss, and an interception. It’s hard to argue that anyone for Florida stole the show after Saturday’s performance. The Gators’ front seven made some nice plays in the backfield and kept Florida in it, but as the game went on Kentucky began to control the line of scrimmage.

THESE STATS DON’T LIE: There were plenty to choose from, but Richardon’s poor performance passing stood out the most. On the night, Richardson went 14-for-35 with 143-yards, zero touchdowns, and two costly interceptions. Florida ran the ball decently with 30 attempts for 136 yards, good enough to average 4.5 yards per attempt, but they couldn’t hit anything in the passing game. Both of Florida’s failed fourth-down attempts were on incomplete passes. Kentucky’s game-leading touchdown came on a pick-six, and an earlier touchdown was set up by an interception.

THIS MATCH-UP PROVED KEY: Kentucky’s rush offense versus Florida’s front seven. Sure, Will Levis threw for 202 yards and a touchdown, and Florida’s offense couldn’t move the ball effectively, but this matchup was one many were watching. Kentucky was without three running backs and had offensive line issues while Florida had glaring depth issues on the defensive line.

WHAT A PLAY: Kentucky’s defensive effort won the Cats the game, and it wouldn’t have been without Smith’s interception returned for a touchdown. Quarantined, Richardson was expecting Nay’Quan Wright to run a hitch, but Wright kept running, Richardson threw directly to the defender and the rest is history.

UP NEXT: After tonight’s loss, Florida moves to 1-1 in the Napier era and 0-1 in SEC play. The Gators suffered a plethora of injuries to starters, including right tackle Michael Tarquin, linebacker Ventrell Miller, and Richardson, who tweaked his knee early in the game. The Gators have plenty of questions to answer offensively as they work to recover their starters. The Gators look to rebound against USF in the Swamp next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

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