Believe it or not, there was a time when Kentucky was able to beat Florida in football. It happened in 1986 and four times in six years from 1974 to 1979. You’ll have to go back to 1956 to find a sixth win, but it’s there, according to Google.
This season, Kentucky is sitting comfortably on a 28-game losing steak to the Gators, the longest of its kind in college football. Many of you weren’t even born when the streak began, while those of you who were have consumed entirely too much bourbon to remember it. To you, veteran UK football fans, the annual Florida game calls for a 1.75 L these days; it’s the only way we get through it anymore.
But this year’s different. We mean it this time. This year Kentucky has a realistic chance to put one in the win column for the first time since the birth of Tim Tebow.
So before we put the losing streak in our rearview tomorrow evening, I would like to revisit those last 28 meetings that haven’t gone in Kentucky’s favor.
Then let’s forget about them forever.
Florida 36, Kentucky 30 (3 OT)
September 13, 2014 | Gainesville, FL
The Gators needed three overtimes on its own field to keep the streak alive last season. It also needed a free play on 4th and 7 when down by a touchdown in the first of those three overtimes.
Still not over it.
Florida 24, Kentucky 7
September 28, 2013 | Lexington, KY
Florida held the Cats to 172 total yards of offense in 2013’s 27th consecutive victory in Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky’s only points came on a 25-yard scamper by kicker Joe Mansour on a fake field goal.
Florida 38, Kentucky 0
September 22, 2012 | Gainesville, FL
Morgan Newton threw three interceptions in the second quarter as Kentucky fans pleaded with Joker Phillips through their televisions to save Newton the misery and take him out of the game. Jalen Whitlow was finally given control of the offense in the fourth quarter, but the damage was done and the Cats laid an egg in Gainesville, UK’s last trip to the Swamp.
Florida 48, Kentucky 10
September 24, 2011 | Lexington, KY
Florida scored three touchdowns in a 4:31 span of the first quarter to demolish what little hope Kentucky had entering the game. Jeff Demps was unstoppable; he rushed for 157 yards and two scores on 10 touches, followed by 105 yards from Chris Rainey. The Gators totaled over 400 yards on the ground in the game.
Florida 48, Kentucky 14
September 25, 2010 | Gainesville, FL
Freshman Trey Burton scored a school-record six touchdowns in Florida’s rout of Kentucky in 2010. Burton was unstoppable in the redzone, scoring on runs of 11, 10, 9, 3 and 7 yards from the Wildcat formation. He also caught a touchdown and would’ve thrown one had Omarius Hines not tripped over his own feet on a 42-yard completion from Burton.
Florida 41, Kentucky 7
September 26, 2009 | Lexington, KY
Ah, the Taylor Wyndham game. UK’s freshman defensive end knocked Tim Tebow out of the game with a vicious hit from the weak side, but not before Tebow threw a TD and ran for two, moving him to second place on the all-time rushing list in the SEC.
Aaron Hernandez caught a touchdown pass and didn’t murder anyone, as far as we know.
Florida 63, Kentucky 5
October 25, 2008 | Gainesville, FL
63 points, people. Sixty. Three. Points. Florida led 42-3 at the half before switching to cruise control to close out the game. We got to see the rare Will Fidler-to-Aaron Boyd connection on UK’s final drive, which summarizes what kind of day it was in the Swamp.
Florida 45, Kentucky 37
October 20, 2007 | Lexington, KY
ESPN’s College GameDay came to town to see if the Wildcats were for real after defeating No. 1 LSU the week before, four weeks after upsetting No. 9 Louisville. The Cats were ranked eighth in the country (for real) and sitting at 6-1 on the season with No. 14 Florida and sophomore Tim Tebow up next. Unfortunately, 414 yards and five touchdowns from Andre Woodson wasn’t enough to outscore the Gators. The Cats led in total yards and time of possession, and never committed a turnover, but still fell short in the end, 45-37.
Florida 26, Kentucky 7
September 23, 2006 | Gainesville, FL
Andre Woodson and the Kentucky offense crossed the 50-yard line on its first five possessions in 2006, and had only one touchdown and zero field goals to show for it at the half. Still, the Cats managed to hold a lead with two minutes remaining in the second quarter as thoughts of an upset began to dance in our heads. Those thoughts were short-lived, though, as Florida regained the lead before the break and held UK scoreless in the second half.
Florida 49, Kentucky 28
September 24, 2005 | Lexington, KY
Kentucky won the second half of the 2005 meeting, 21-0. The problem was, Florida won the first half, 49-7.
Urban Meyer had to reinsert his starters late in the game after UK backup quarterback Curtis Pulley scored two TDs in the fourth quarter and almost added a third on fourth down from inside the 10 with five minutes remaining.
Curtis Pulley, there’s a name.
Florida 20, Kentucky 3
September 25, 2004 | Gainesville, FL
Ciatrick Fason’s career-high 210 yards rushing and two touchdowns were enough to give the Gators a 20-3 win against Kentucky. 89,741 people showed up to watch the game, despite a hurricane moving in from the coast. Kickoff was moved up seven hours to beat the storm.
Florida 24, Kentucky 21
September 27, 2003 | Lexington, KY
Up 21-3 entering the fourth quarter, freshman Chris Leak, starting in his first career game at quarterback, led a Florida comeback that was assisted by the biggest mistake of Jared Lorenzen’s career. Lorenzen was trying to avoid a sack when he threw an ill-advised, no-look pass directly into the hands of Florida defensive back Johnny Lamar, who took it 35 yards to set up the game-winning, one-yard touchdown run by Ron Carthon.
After the game, Rich Brooks said, “That’s about as tough as it gets.”
Florida 41, Kentucky 34
September 28, 2002 | Gainesville, FL
A 100-yard kickoff return touchdown and a 49-yard punt return touchdown from Derek Abney kept Kentucky in the game, but it was Florida that prevailed in the end. After trailing 19-0 at the half, UK scored four touchdowns to take the lead late in third quarter. The lead would not hold, though, as Florida took it home, 41-34.
“Moral victories don’t get you into bowls,” Jared Lorenzen said afterward. “They don’t get you into BCS polls. It makes you feel good for about three hours, and that’s it.”
Florida 44, Kentucky 10
September 22, 2001 | Lexington, KY
A young Shane Boyd gave it a shot in 2010, but he and the Kentucky offense were no match for Rex Grossman. Grossman threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns before handing the reins over to his backup, Brock Berlin. Berlin added another 95 yards and one more score.
Florida 59, Kentucky 31
September 22, 2000 | Gainesville, FL
Led by Jared Lorenzen, the UK offense racked up over 500 yards of total offense in the 2000 meeting for the most yards on the Florida Gators in Steve Spurrier’s ten years as head coach. Though the offensive production was outstanding, UK never held a lead in the game and lost by four touchdowns. Lorenzen chucked the ball 59 times.
Florida 38, Kentucky 10
September 25, 1999 | Lexington, KY
Hal Mumme’s “Air Raid” offense was anything but that in 1999 when Florida tallied its lowest point total against Kentucky in six years. Dusty Bonner played his worst game as a Wildcat and UK found the end zone only once to lose to the Gators, an annual tradition.
Florida 51, Kentucky 35
September 26, 1998 | Gainesville, FL
Tim Couch broke Kentucky’s record for career passing yards in the 1998 game with the help of a 74-yard pass and a school-record 97-yard bomb to Craig Yeast. However, Couch’s attempt to defeat Florida in his final shot fell short thanks to two interceptions in the fourth quarter.
Florida 55, Kentucky 28
September 27, 1997 | Lexington, KY
First-year head coach Hal Mumme had the Kentucky offense firing on all cylinders in its first three games in 1997, but the Wildcats bit off more than they could chew in Steve Spurrier and No. 1 Florida in Week 4. Spurrier was not about to lose at his own game and his team racked up a 28-0 lead after one quarter to remind UK how high-scoring offenses run.
Florida 65, Kentucky 0
September 28, 1996 | Gainesville, FL
Kentucky ALMOST got the win in 1996, Billy Curry’s final season.
Florida won, 65-0.
Florida 42, Kentucky 7
September 9, 1995 | Lexington, KY
With a loss to Florida in 1995, a 12th consecutive loss to the Gators, Kentucky earned sole possession of the longest losing streak in college football. The Cats lost the final 11 games of the season in 1994 and dropped the first two in 1995. The losing streak ended the next week against Indiana, but the losing streak to Florida was just picking up steam.
Florida 73, Kentucky 7
September 28, 1994 | Gainesville, FL
UK allowed 73 points in 1994, the highest total by a Kentucky opponent since 1905.
“It was just no contest,” Bill Curry said after the game. “It was a disaster at every turn.”
Florida 24, Kentucky 20
September 11, 1993 | Lexington, KY
Of all the losses in the current streak, this one might sting the most. Kentucky led, 20-17, with eight seconds left in the game. Florida had the ball on third down at the UK 28-yard line, in need of miracle. Then Danny Wuerffel, who combined for seven interceptions in the game with fellow UF quarterback Terry Dean, hit an open Chris Doering on a post pattern in the back of the end zone. Ballgame.
Florida 35, Kentucky 19
September 13, 1992 | Gainesville, FL
Florida brought out a dog to catch frisbees at halftime, the highlight of the day for Kentucky fans at Florida Field.
Florida 35, Kentucky 26
November 16, 1991 | Gainesville, FL
Back before the streak was a streak, Kentucky played close games with Florida. This one, the 1991 battle, was a one possession game in the fourth quarter. Man, those were the days.
Florida 47, Kentucky 15
November 17, 1990 | Lexington, KY
The final scoreboard of the 1990 clash had the look of a more modern Kentucky-Florida game. The Gators rolled from start to finish, powered by SEC Player of the Year Shane Matthews and first-year Florida head coach Steve Spurrier. Spurrier was named SEC Coach of the Year in his first season in Gainesville.
A junior Freddie Maggard was under center for Kentucky.
Florida 38, Kentucky 28
November 18, 1989 | Gainesville, FL
Jerry Claiborne lost the final road game of his coaching career at Florida in 1989. His team entered the game having won four out of five, but Florida was in the early stages of building the nation’s largest winning streak between annual rivals.
Florida had a pretty decent running back named Emmitt Smith.
Florida 24, Kentucky 19
November 12, 1988 | Lexington, KY
1988, the year the streak became a streak. We were so young, so naive. Little did we know, Kentucky was in for over two more decades of defeats at the hands of the Gators, at least.
Florida 27, Kentucky 14
November 14, 1987 | Gainesville, FL