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Florida Football

Instant Analysis: All good things must end

September 8, 2018
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The No. 25 Florida Gators (1-1, 0-1) fell to the Kentucky Wildcats (2-0, 1-0) on Saturday night 27-16 in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The loss is the Gators first loss in the SEC East, immediately putting them a game behind in the division race. It also gave the Wildcats their first win over the Gators in 32 years, breaking what had been the longest active uninterrupted series in the NCAA.

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Instant Analysis takes a closer look at the Gators' loss.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Kentucky seemed to have this game in hand most of the night, but Florida continued to fight back, seeming to set this game up for yet another strange ending that would benefit the Gators. With 3:34 left in the game, Feleipe Franks found Freddie Swain in the corner of the endzone to make it 21-16. The Gators went for two and Franks missed a wide-open Malik Davis, instead trying to force one to C’yontai Lewis who wasn’t able to stay in bounds with the reception.

The defense got the ball back and the Gators lined up with less than a minute left looking for a chance. Then as this rivalry is apt to do, it still ended on a weird note. With 0:09 left on the clock and the Gators looking for a miracle, Franks was hit and the ball popped loose for what the Gators thought was an incomplete pass that would give them one more shot. The play wasn’t whistled dead however and Kentucky picked up the ball and ran back what was officially ruled a fumble for a touchdown.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: Benny Snell Jr. was the Cats bell cow and they rode him all night. He finished with 175 yards on 27 carries and made his presence felt from the first time he touched the ball. He rushed four times on the Cats opening drive, including once at wildcat QB, as they marched down the field on their opening drive to score.

Quarterback Terry Wilson was able to do just as much damage on the ground as Snell, hashing the Gators 10 times on the ground and with 151 yards through the air. He was a guy the Gators staff wanted when he was coming out of JUCO. He choose Kentucky instead. After a rough first outing in Lexington, he shook off the rust and made the Gators pay for missing him tonight.

THE STATS DON'T LIE:  The Cats gashed the Gators on the ground, consistently breaking through a front seven that couldn’t contain the combo of Snell and Wilson. By the time the clock clicked down, Kentucky had accumulated 303 rushing yards with Snell accounting for 39 % of the Cats total offensive production and Wilson bringing another 56%.

It was a game lost in the trenches on both sides for Florida, with the Gators offensive line getting hardly any push against the Kentucky front seven. Feleipe Franks was flushed from the pocket numerous times and made several throws standing in there as he was getting hit. It was a rough night in particular for Fred Johnson who missed on several key blocks that forced his quarterback to force throws.

WHAT A PLAY: Down 14-10, the Gators had Kentucky on the Cats own 22-yard line. Then Terry Wilson lit up the secondary, which was missing corner Marco Wilson (he left the game in the 1st quarter with an apparent knee injury and returned in the 4th quarter on crutches). He hit two passes for a total of 30 yards, ran for two then let loose a 54-yard bomb to Lynn Bowden who slipped right by safety Jeawon Taylor for a touchdown. It put the Cats up 21-10 and it was a hole the Gators couldn’t climb out of.

THESE MATCH-UPS PROVED KEY: With linebacker David Reese II still out recovering from what is reported to be a leg injury, the middle of the Gators defense was left lacking. It was an area Kentucky was able to exploit again and again with their rushing attack. Snell and Wilson found lanes all night to rack up their aforementioned combined 431 yards.

UP NEXT:  Florida stays at home to face Colorado State. The Rams were 0-2 and losing to Arkansas at the time of publication. The game will kickoff at 4:30pm on the SEC Network.

Instant Analysis: All good things must end

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