September 23, 2017
The Gators overcome a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Kentucky for the 31st consecutive year.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The streak is over. Wait, the streak lives!
It was that kind of night at Kroger Field on Saturday as the Gators won 28-27, the final play a 57-yard missed field goal by Wildcats kicker Austin MacGinnis as time expired.
The No. 20-ranked Gators appeared in serious trouble when they fell behind 27-14 early in the final quarter. Instead, they responded to knock off the Wildcats and deflate a sold-out crowd at Kroger Field ready to celebrate an upset.
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WHAT IT MEANS: Florida improves to 2-1, 2-0 in conference play. Oh, I know what you’re waiting on. Yes, the Gators somehow found a way to defeat the Wildcats for the 31st consecutive year, the longest active streak in college football against an opponent in an uninterrupted series, and fourth-longest all-time. Florida tied the game on Luke Del Rio‘s 6-yard scoring pass to Freddie Swain with 43 seconds left and Eddy Pineiro‘s PAT provided the go-ahead point.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Freshman running back Malik Davis burst onto the scene in last week’s win over Tennessee when he broke free for what appeared a 74-yard touchdown run. However, a Tennessee defender knocked the ball out of Davis’ hands at the 2-yard line and the ball rolled out of the end zone. Davis came back Saturday and finished strong, carrying 21 times for a team-high 93 yards to help turn the momentum in Florida’s favor in the fourth quarter. A freshman from Tampa, Davis proved he can run outside or pick up tough yards inside if needed.
STAGGERING STATISTIC: The Gators passed for 209 yards but no player had more than 85. Starter Feleipe Franks threw for 85, Luke Del Rio for 74, and freshman Kadarius Toney threw a 50-yard completion to Tyrie Cleveland on a reverse in the fourth quarter.
SUBPLOT: Redshirt freshman Franks had a performance reminiscent of his outing against Michigan when he didn’t make a glaring mistake, but the offense just wasn’t effective. This time the Gators turned to Del Rio, who completed 9 of 14 passes for 74 yards. Now the obvious question: Who will start next week against Vanderbilt?
UP NEXT: The Gators found a way to pull out a win in the final seconds for the second consecutive week. Next up is Vanderbilt in The Swamp next weekend. The Commodores were crushed 59-0 at home on Saturday by No. 1-ranked Alabama. After back-to-back miracle finishes, the Gators could use a rout like the Crimson Tide pulled off Saturday in Nashville.
Head coach Jim McElwain‘s postgame press conference —