Thursday, September 24, 2015

UF Football: Florida Continues to Own Kentucky

Let me start by saying I am sorry it took me this long to write this article. I was in Charleston, South Carolina, for the whole weekend and my hectic week has not allowed me anytime to blog. As we all know, Florida extended its win streak against Kentucky to 29 straight after a 13-9 victory in Lexington.

In his first road start, Will Grier did enough to bring home the "W" as he completed 13 of 22 passes for 125 yards. He threw one pick and was sacked twice. Grier made more of an impact with his legs as he rushed 12 times for 61 yards and one touchdown.

Grier was actually the leading rusher on the night and right behind him was running back Kelvin Taylor, who rushed for 45 yards and one touchdown on 16 attempts. Apart from Grier and Taylor, no other Gator made an impact on the ground.

In the passing game, tight end Jake McGee and wideout Demarcus Robinson each had three receptions for a total of 46 yards (30 for McGee and 16 for Robinson). The leading yard-getter on the night however, was true freshman Antonio Callaway with 34 yards on just one catch.

As a whole, the Florida offense gained just 245 yards and did enough to beat a stingy Wildcat team who once against came up just short. What carried Florida to victory (as usual) was the stout play of the defense, who gave up 241 yards and did not allow a touchdown. Linebacker Jarrad Davis led the Gator defense with 10 total tackles (1.5 for loss) and right behind him were safeties Keanu Neal and Marcus Maye with nine (1.5 for loss) and eight total tackles, respectively.

The defensive line had a field day as they combined for six sacks! The perpetrators were: Keanu Neal (one), Jonathan Bullard (two), CeCe Jefferson (0.5), Alex McCalister (two), and Caleb Brantley (0.5).

As the D-line kept bringing constant pressure, the secondary feasted. Cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves III and Quincy Wilson each had an interception (with Wilson's pick ending the game) and broke up one pass each. Brian Poole also had a pass breakup to give the secondary a total of three on the night.

In the special teams department, not much changed. Austin Hardin's only field goal attempt was blocked, but at least he nailed two of his three kickoffs for touchbacks. For punter Johnny Townsend, it was another good outing as he punted six balls for a total of 241 yards and 40.2 yards per punt. He pinned Kentucky inside the 20-yard line once.

At the end of the day, Florida secured its 29th straight win over Kentucky. I was very happy that the defense was on the field at the end to seal the game because I trust the Gator defense way more than the Gator offense to win a game. I am not sure when the offense will become as dynamic as the old Gator teams of the 90s and Tebow-era, but for now I am okay with Coach Mac's system.

The Florida Gators (3-0) now have another streak to defend as the rival Tennessee Volunteers (2-1) come to The Swamp. The Gators have won 10 straight games against the Vols and this may be the year that Tennessee finally breaks through. With breaking news coming Wednesday that cornerback Jalen Tabor has been suspended for the game, Tennessee's chances of winning have climbed ever so slightly. Backup QB Treon Harris was suspended for the game as well (but let's be real, it's not like he was going to play anyways).

This is going to be a great game, but I am going to give the advantage to the Gators with the game being at home. They will win and push the streak to 11 in a hard-fought game. For anyone wondering, the last time Tennessee beat Florida in Gainesville was 2003. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. and the game can be seen on CBS.

As for Kentucky (2-1), they once again have the sour taste of losing to Florida. It will not get any easier for them as the undefeated #25 Missouri Tigers (3-0) come to Lexington with a three-game winning streak against the Wildcats. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on the SEC Network. I have Missouri winning this one to improve to 4-0.

*All stats accredited to & Winsipedia

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