GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UK Athletics) – Kentucky played a solid first half but saw No. 6 Florida take over in the second 30 minutes as the Gators beat the Cats 34-10 on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Asim Rose rushed 15 times for 58 yards and Kavosiey Smoke carried 14 times for 47 yards, as the Cats rushed for 159 yards in the game. Quarterback Terry Wilson hit on 10 of 18 passes for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Kentucky took the opening kickoff and quickly drove into Florida territory, getting three first downs along the way. But after a fourth-down conversion got the Cats into scoring position, Florida came up with a pair of sacks and the Cats were forced to punt.
Florida took over at its own 17 yard line and needed just six plays to cover 83 yards. The drive ended when quarterback Kyle Trask hit tight end Kyle Pitts for a 56-yard touchdown pass. Evan McPherson added the point after and the Gators led 7-0 with 6:03 to play in the first quarter.
On its second drive, Kentucky got another first down, but was again forced to punt. Florida took the ensuing possession and drove into Kentucky territory before the Cats created a turnover. Justin Shorter caught a pass from Trask but was immediately hit by Corker, who caused a fumble that was created by Square.
The Cats took over at the Florida 38. Wilson connected with Keaton Upshaw for a 13-yard gain, then the Cats went to the ground. Rushes by Rose, Wilson and Smoke got the Cats inside the Florida five. And on third and goal from the five, Wilson connected with Upshaw for a touchdown. Matt Ruffolo added the extra point and the game was tied 7-7 with 11:18 left in the first half.
Florida punted on its next possession and the Cats took over at their own eight. The Cats proceeded to put together a very impressive drive, getting inside the Florida 10. The Gators defense stood tall and the Cats were forced into a 23-yard Ruffolo field goal, which was good, giving UK a 10-7 lead with 2:13 to play in the half.
Late in the first half, Kentucky was forced to punt from deep in its own territory. Kadarius Toney fielded the punt at midfield and returned it all the way for a touchdown. The PAT was good and Florida took a 14-10 lead with 42 seconds left in the half. That would be the halftime score.
Florida took the second half kickoff and covered 75 yards in just five plays. The Gators scored on a two-yard touchdown pass from Trask to Pitts and the PAT made it 21-10 Gators with 12:35 left in the third quarter.
Kentucky punted on its next possession and Florida again drove the ball into Kentucky territory. But the Wildcats’ defense got a stop and forced a 34-yard field goal, that McPherson converted, giving Florida a 24-10 lead with 5:58 to play in the third.
After an interception, Florida had a short field and it was Trask to Pitts again, this time for a seven-yard score and the PAT gave the Gators a 31-10 lead with 3:36 left in the third quarter.
Kentucky punted again on its next possession but then forced a Florida fumble and took over inside Florida territory. The third quarter would end during the possession with Florida leading 31-10.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Kentucky faced a fourth-and-three. Wilson completed a pass to Rose, but he was stopped short of the first down marker and the Gators took over at their own 28.
Florida would add a fourth-quarter field goal to provide the final margin of victory.
Kentucky returns to action on Saturday, hosting South Carolina at Kroger Field. The kickoff time and television network are to be determined.