It was deja vu all over again in The Swamp. Kentucky’s 34-10 loss to Florida mirrored the 60-point loss at Alabama. The Wildcats’ performance was defined by poor plays on special teams and abysmal second half offense. At least the Kentucky collapse came a little bit later in Gainesville than it did in Tuscaloosa.
The Wildcats actually led 10-7 with 1:20 to play in the second quarter when Mark Stoops called a timeout to give Kentucky a chance for one more scoring opportunity before halftime. That decision got a snowball rolling out of control until it destroyed Kentucky’s chances at winning.
Florida punted the ball inside UK’s one-yard line. Three plays later, Kentucky was forced to punt. Using two returners, the Wildcats’ punt team crashed on the wrong Florida Gator, springing Kadarius Toney for a 50-yard touchdown.
It wasn’t the only special teams snafu. The Wildcats had three special teams penalties, including a delay of game (?) on a punt, and they allowed Florida to convert a fake punt on the opening possession of the game, paving the way for a Kyle Pitts 56-yard touchdown two plays later.
The final drive of the second half, a three-and-out, was also the beginning of some of the worst offensive football you’ll ever see. Kentucky did not get another first down until Joey Gatewood entered the game in the fourth quarter, going six straight offensive possessions without a first down. The Wildcats mustered just 46 yards of offense in the final two quarters. Kentucky’s second half drive chart is a thing of beauty if you admire awful offense.
It’s unfortunate the way the game unfolded because it all started according to plan. UK’s offense controlled the clock and they actually converted on a red zone opportunity, with Keaton Upshaw making an incredible touchdown catch. Kentucky’s defense also forced two turnovers, but it was too little to make any sort of impact.
Kentucky fans did not expect the Wildcats to beat Alabama and Florida, but they did not deserve to see the Wildcats fall apart in such embarrassing fashion.