The streak continues: Kentucky falls to Florida in heartbreaking fashion

09/24/2017 12:43 AM

This year seemed like the year Kentucky was finally going to end its three decade losing streak to Florida. The Wildcats were coming off of an impressive win at South Carolina, while Florida struggled in its first two match-ups against Michigan and Tennessee.

Kentucky held a 13-point lead with 11:33 left in the game, but that wasn’t enough. A miscommunication on defense left Florida receiver Freddie Swain wide open in the end zone to give the Gators a 28-27 lead with 43 seconds left in the game. Stephen Johnson hit Garrett Johnson and Charles Walker to quickly get down the field and just outside field goal range. On 2nd and 10 with less than 20 seconds left, Benny Snell ran 10 yards up the middle to get the Wildcats well within Austin MacGinnis’ field goal range. But a holding call on Nick Haynes moved the play back, forcing MacGinnis to attempt a 57-yard field goal to win the game. He came up short and the life was sucked out of a packed Kroger Field as the clock struck zero.

Kentucky started off strong, getting on the board first when Stephen Johnson hit Blake Bone for a 14-yard touchdown in the first quarter. After the Gators responded, Stephen Johnson found Garrett Johnson to reclaim the lead, 14-7. What happened next was a mistake that ended up costing the Wildcats big time. As Kentucky’s defense lined up, a miscommunication between the sideline and the players on the field left receiver Tyrie Cleveland wide open. Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks just tossed it up to Cleveland, who ran it in for the 45-yard score. Instead of Kentucky going into the half with a lead like they should have, they gave the Gators a gift that gave them life going into halftime.

The Cats struck first in the second half. Stephen Johnson threw his third touchdown of the day to C.J. Conrad. An Austin MacGinnis field goal later in the third quarter gave the Cats a 24-14 lead going into the fourth. MacGinnis would tack on another field goal to give the Cats a 27-14 lead. That’s the lead the Cats couldn’t hold on to, as they must now regroup and get ready for Eastern Michigan next weekend.

The Gators ended up outgaining Kentucky on offense 395-340. Kentucky gave up 186 yards on the ground, the most this season. Stephen Johnson had another solid performance for the Cats, throwing for 196 yards and three touchdowns.

Kentucky hosts Eastern Michigan next Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on the SEC Network.

Final box score:

Watch Nick Haynes talk about the holding call called on him that pushed the Cats out of field goal range:

Watch Mark Stoops explain what went wrong during the two defensive breakdowns that gave the Gators two wide-open touchdowns:

Bradley McKee and Clayton Abernathy discuss their takeaways from the loss:


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