Kentucky football came close — as close as you can get — but fell short in a 28-27 loss to Florida that extended the Gators’ winning streak to 31 straight games against the Wildcats.
The Wildcats (3-1, 1-1 SEC) saw the Gators (2-1, 2-0 SEC) take the lead on a 5-yard TD pass with 43 seconds left in the game one week after Florida beat Tennessee on a final-play desperation throw into the end zone.
Kentucky-Florida recap, score
Final: Florida 28, Kentucky 27
Austin MacGinnis’ 57-yard attempt was short on the final play of the game.
0:43 4Q: Florida 28, Kentucky 27
Kentucky had just 10 men on the field and Luke Del Rio easily completed a 5-yard scoring pass.
7:58 4Q: Kentucky 27, Florida 21
The streak isn’t going down that easy. The Gators pull off a great drive to cut the Wildcats lead to six. Kentucky will look to bleed clock on this drive and ice the game. Crunch time football coming up.
PA guy teases Kentucky fans: "That's the end of the fourth quarter. Third quarter!" Cats lead Florida 24-14. Fifteen minutes from exorcism.
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_SEC) September 24, 2017
End of 3Q: Kentucky 24, Florida 14
The Cats are one quarter away from ending the streak.
From field: Derrick Baity has returned to sideline without his pads, will not return.
— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) September 24, 2017
4:18 3Q: Kentucky 24, Florida 14
Darius West just recorded his first-career interception, and it was a big one. He picks off newly-inserted Luke Del Rio. The Cats have a chance to pad their lead.
5:54 3Q: Kentucky 24, Florida 14
A penalty and a horrible high snap almost cost Kentucky points on what was an exciting drive. Sihiem King had a couple of dynamic plays, including a big reception from the arm of Lynn Bowden. Snapping issues might’ve cost Kentucky four points there.
12:11 3Q: Kentucky 21, Florida 14
What a start to the second half for Kentucky. The Cats go 62 yards on four plays and Stephen Johnson finds C.J. Conrad for a 23-yard score to top it off.
HALFTIME: Kentucky 14, Florida 14
Kentucky’s Austin MacGinnis missed a 48-yard field goal in the last minute of the first half. Kentucky could’ve added more points but really mishandled the last couple of minutes of that half.
3:16 2Q: Kentucky 14, Florida 14
Somehow Kentucky never got lined up on defense and Florida took advantage. Ugly, ugly stuff from the Cats. Now it’s a tie ballgame.
5:40 2Q: Kentucky 14, Florida 7
Stephen Johnson finds Garrett Johnson for the score.
Stay thirsty, Juice. pic.twitter.com/J6T2yfrmiL
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) September 24, 2017
7:30 2Q: Kentucky 7, Florida 7
Florida struck on a great play by super freshman Kadarius Toney, but the Wildcats are 10 yards from another score thanks to a 52-yard punt return from Charles Walker. Looks like two evenly matched teams so far, and it might not be as low scoring as most of us thought.
End 1Q: Kentucky 7, Florida 0
The Wildcats outgained the Gators 123-56 in the first quarter. Stephen Johnson is 7 for 9 through the air for 86 yards and a touchdown. Benny Snell rushed four times for 27 yards.
5:06 1Q: Kentucky 7, Florida 0
Kentucky puts up the first points of the night on a great throw and catch from Stephen Johnson to Blake Bone. The Wildcats offense looks efficient with a few trick plays built in. Lynn Bowden made his first “wow” play of his young career on a scramble out of the wildcat formation. Electric crowd here in Lexington.
Kentucky-Florida game time, details
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Date: Sep. 23, 2017
Location: Kroger Field, Lexington, Ky.
Spread: Florida -3
What TV channel is the Kentucky-Florida football game on?
The Kentucky-Florida football game will be broadcast by the SEC Network.
How can I watch the Kentucky-Florida football game online?
Fans can watch the Kentucky-Florida football game online at WatchESPN.com or via the WatchESPN app.
How can I listen to the Kentucky-Florida football game on the radio?
Fans in Lexington can listen to the Kentucky-Florida football game on 630 AM or 98.1 FM, and fans in Louisville can hear the game on 840 AM. The game will also be broadcast on satellite radio on XM 191 or Sirius 138.
Kentucky-Florida football preview, keys to the game
Florida leads the overall series 50-17, and has won an incredible 30 games in a row. Kentucky’s longest winning streak against Florida is 4 games (from 1948-1951). Mark Stoops is 2-8 against ranked opponents in his Kentucky tenure. He beat 25th-ranked Missouri in 2015, and beat ranked Louisville to end the regular season in 2016.
3. Control the clock
This key for Kentucky could be copy and pasted every week. A look at Kentucky’s first three games of the season shows what type of games the Wildcats want to play: low scoring. Sure, the Cats would like to score more points, but Kentucky is undefeated behind a mix of stingy defense and a ground game on offense that accelerates clock and keeps its defense off the field. Saturday figures to be another low scoring affair, and Kentucky is just fine with that.
2. Pressure Feleipe Franks
The Gators offense has been one of the worst in the SEC in the early stages of the season. Florida ranks 12th in the SEC in rushing yards per game (89.5) while Kentucky’s run defense is No. 3 in the country and tops in the SEC allowing just 57 yards per game on the ground. If Kentucky can make Florida reliant on the pass, Blitz Brothers Denzil Ware and Josh Allen can key on Franks. It could be a tough spot for the redshirt freshman quarterback.
1. Embrace the SEC environment
Kentucky’s game last Saturday in Columbia, S.C., showed the Wildcats what an SEC environment is like. Kentucky was able to take the fans out of the game early, but Stoops and athletic director Mitch Barnhart are asking Big Blue Nation to show up against the Gators. Kentucky didn’t sell a game out last season, but Florida is likely to face a capacity crowd at Kroger Field on Saturday.