For Kentucky fans, this was the game we had circled during the off-season. After squeaking out the first two wins in the face of some adversity fans were confident that, against Florida, this was UK’s best chance to end the nation’s longest-running losing streak.
Commonwealth Stadium was packed to the brim Saturday night for what was supposed to be a huge party in Lexington. Unfortunately for Kentucky fans, that party was cut short as Kentucky suffered its 29th consecutive loss to the Gators, 14-9.
The Wildcats had multiple opportunities to score touchdowns, but when the time came to make the big plays, they simply could not capitalize. The Gator defensive line won the battle in the trenches against a less-experienced Kentucky counterpart. UK’s wide receivers dropped some passes that could have been TD’s. Florida’s defense blitzed constantly, recording six sacks on quarterback Patrick Towles. Towles hit only eight of 24 pass attempts with two interceptions.
For the second straight time, Kentucky receiver Dorian Baker let the ball slip out of his hands in the Wildcats’ first pass play. It was also the second consecutive game that Towles would eventually throw an interception for a touchdown in UK’s opening drive. It’s difficult to put all of the blame on Towles when receivers are dropping catches and lineman are repeatedly getting beat in “one-on-one” situations.
The heartbreak in Commonwealth was real and the only way to overcome it is to move on and try and forget about “the streak” until next season.
The ‘Cats opened as a 2.5-point favorite for their matchup next Saturday with the #25-ranked Missouri Tigers. If Saturday’s game told fans anything, it is that the margin of error required to get a victory against an SEC opponent is very small. The offensive line must improve their protection, Towles has to make more accurate throws, and our receivers have to catch the ball when good throws are made.
Missouri is the two-time defending SEC East Champion. The Tigers have an undefeated record, are ranked in the top 25, have the nation’s fourth-best defense, and yet, Kentucky is still the favorite. This came as a surprise to me, but hopefully Kentucky can keep Vegas honest and pull out a big win.
- Missouri (3-0, 0-0) at Kentucky (2-1, 1-1)
Saturday, Sept. 26 – 7:30 p.m.
Commonwealth Stadium – Lexington, Ky.
TV: SEC Network