For 2 quarters the #BBN had high hopes for a Florida upset. The next two quarters weren’t so pretty. Matt Jones (of all the names) ate away at the Kentucky defense bit by bit on his way to recording 176 yards on the ground- 3 more total yards than the Kentucky offense. Jones joined Cat-killer Trey Burton in aiding first-time starter Tyler Murphy- a guy that did NOT look like a first time starter. Florida’s ‘Big Three’ by no means had an easy time putting away Kentucky. After allowing Florida to march down the field on their first drive, the Cats immediately responded with a scoring drive of their own that featured a Jalen Whitlow that didn’t come out rattled. What would’ve been a 42 yard field goal, turned into a Sportscenter Top Ten Play with Joe Mansour scurrying 25 yards on a fake field goal for the score.
The fake pumped some electricity into the Commonwealth Stadium atmosphere, fueling a frenzy that carried onto the field. After 1 quarter the score was tied 7-7. However Florida’s offense wore down the Wildcat defense with relentless running up the middle. The game looked eerily similar to the Louisville game, except their running backs were bigger and their Quarterback played better. Without an offense that could consistently stay on the field (good luck finding points), the defense got gassed out of the game. How bad was it? Florida had the ball 17 minutes longer than UK. Neal Brown’s job is looking more difficult than ever before, but at least he’s willing to get creative to get points.
– Unfortunately every trick play can’t work. The Cats were driving in the 3rd quarter, breaking into Florida territory methodically. A reverse to Daryl Collins was intended to be a throw back to a wide open Jalen Whitlow, but Collins couldn’t get a good grip on the ball and was eaten up for a loss of a million. After taking a big loss, Max’s deep ball was intercepted by Vernon Hargreaves. You can’t criticize the play call though: the trick would’ve never been done before and a trick had already gotten them one score on the day.
– This 2 QB thing is making less and less sense every week. Jalen had his first good start of the season, stringing together back-to-back-to-back positive plays on the opening drive; then he got taken out. Max Smith entered the game one time just to hand the ball off, then was immediately taken out. While the odd substitutions may be changing the defense in ways that we can’t see, you can see the miscommunication between WR and QB. Matt will surely elaborately rant on the situation further, but it has reached a point where the only logical explanation is, “both are so bad that you don’t want to pick either of them to be ‘the guy.'”
– As expected, Jojo Kemp got the ball early on. Unexpectedly, he really didn’t get it any after that. On his first attempt, the true freshman had an 11 yard gain. He only had 2 carries after that. The reason for his lack of play was deferred by the coaches, putting personnell decisions on Chad Scott. Jojo may have bobbled a handoff, but whatever it was that took him out must’ve been something much worse than the obvious.
– After years of frustrating bubble screens and draws on 3rd/4th and long, the Cats finally have a screen play that is consistently working. The swing pass out of the backfield was called multiple times in the first half, getting the ball outside for speedsters to do something before their WR friends lost their blocks. It gained a lot of positive yards, but unfortunately you can’t do that every play.
– After Za’Darius talked a little smack during the week, he didn’t smack too many Gators. His first game without a sack or tackle for loss, Za’Darius finished with a modest 5 tackles, getting to the QB a second too late multiple times.
– Before getting to the ugliest news of the night (yeah, it gets worse), there is one more piece of positivity coming from Commonwealth. After his induction last night into the Hall of Fame last night, Tubby was introduced to the Commonwealth Stadium crowd of 62,076 at halftime. Met with cheers of “Tub-by”, the reunion was certainly a happy one. Joker Phillips also had a homecoming party at Commonwealth. The buzz surrounding his comeback actually had a happy ending, with Joker smiling to great his old players after the game.
Stats that make you go ‘Ugh’
– Joe Mansour led the Cats in rushing with 25 yards on the fake field goal.
– Kentucky hasn’t scored in the 3rd quarter this year.
– As I said before, Kentucky gained less yards on offense than Matt Jones gained on the ground (UK 173, Jones 176).
– The Cats were 1-8 on 3rd down, bringing the two week total to 1-21.
– Trey Burton had 6 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, proving that he sold his soul to the devil to play well against Kentucky (a wiser man would’ve saved that soul for a more ‘special’ opponent).
– In his first time starting as a QB, Tyler Murphy was 13-13 until Josh Forrest picked off a pass in the 3rd quarter.
– That interception by Josh Forrest was the Cats first interception this season, so I guess there’s a silver lining?