The No. 10 Florida Gators are down to their third-string quarterback as the Gators look to hold off No. 7 Auburn in Gainesville. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask left the game after taking a hit to his left knee in the first half. Emory Jones stepped in to take over at quarterback for the Gators. At the halftime break, Florida leads Auburn 17-13 in a battle of unbeaten SEC programs.
Trask left the game with just over 10 minutes to play in the second quarter. At the time of his departure from the game, Trask had completed 11 of 17 pass attempts for 130 yards and two touchdowns, with Florida clinging to a 14-13 lead. Although Trask was able to walk off the field on his own, he headed directly to the locker room for medical examination. Before the end of the second quarter, Trask jogged back on the field and began warming up on the Florida sideline. He was seen wearing a brace and returned to the game in the final two minutes of the first half.
Auburn’s quarterback, Bo Nix, had a tough start to the game throwing the football. Nix has completed five of his 14 passes for just 57 yards, but one of those completions was for a touchdown to bring the Tigers within one after the extra point was kicked.
Florida wasted little time getting on the board. After forcing Auburn to a 3-and-out to start the game, Trask completed a 64-yard pass to Freddie Swain for a touchdown on Florida’s second offensive snap of the game. Auburn chipped away with a couple of field goals later in the first quarter. After three consecutive turnovers by both teams combined, Florida extended its lead with a touchdown pass from Trask to Josh Hammond. Auburn had botched a punt return that was recovered by Florida, but Auburn forced and recovered a fumble by Trask just three plays later. Unable to take advantage of the turnover, Nix was picked off by Shawn Davis on the first play of the drive. The 41-yard interception return received a 15-yard bonus thanks to a personal foul penalty on Auburn.
Florida’s defense has held Auburn to fewer than 100 yards of offense after one half of play. Still, Aubrun is hanging around and within striking distance of the Gators.
A year after ending a long losing streak against the Florida Gators, Kentucky is looking to do it again. In front of their fans at home in Lexington, Kentucky leads No. 9 Florida 14-7 at halftime.
Kentucky started the game with Sawyer Smith at quarterback in place of the injured Terry Wilson, and they have largely kept things within reason with the offensive approach. Smith ended the first half having completed 10-of-13 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. Smith tied the game early in the second quarter with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Wagner. Smith later gave the Wildcats the lead with a short touchdown run at the end of an 11-play drive that covered 54 yards.
Florida scored the first points of the game on a Feleipe Franks pass to Freddie Swain midway through the first quarter. Franks has been efficient with his passing by completing 10-of-12 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown, but he was also picked off once on the game’s opening possession. Fortunately, the Florida defense got the ball back three plays later when they recovered a fumble to set up Florida’s touchdown drive. Franks also lost a fumble, which led to the go-ahead score by Kentucky.
Florida had a chance to cut into the deficit in the second quarter, but a 27-yard attempt by Evan McPherson sailed wide right of the posts to keep the score a 14-7 edge for the Wildcats.
Thirty years ago, the Berlin Wall stood tall as the symbol of the Iron Curtain, a ball snuck past Bill Buckner to help the New York Mets win a World Series and gas prices were shockingly under a dollar per gallon. Much has changed in the ensuing three decades since 1986 but one constant has remained no matter what: Florida beating Kentucky in football.
So it continued on Saturday night.
The Wildcats came heartbreakingly close to ending their ignominious losing streak — the fourth longest in FBS history — at an even 30, but gave up two late fourth quarter touchdown drives to fall to their SEC rival Gators 28-27 in the most improbable of fashions.
While the streak has weighed heavily on Kentucky football as it stretched on and on, it felt like this was finally — finally! — the time that the Wildcats could come out on top as the home team played loose but disciplined on both sides of the ball nearly all night long to be firmly in control of this one. Quarterback Stephen Johnson proved to be a revelation behind center, throwing for 196 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Benny Snell added another 59 yards for good measure and the team held the lead for just the fourth time in the final quarter during the streak.
But it didn’t matter, as Kentucky proved why they have been on the losing end of this series so many times over so many years.
UF wideout Tyrie Cleveland was the lone burst of offense late in the first half, helping turn a potential run-away into a tie game by catching a wide open touchdown pass from 45 yards out. He later setup another Gators’ score off a trick play that cut the lead to six midway through the fourth quarter. Quarterback Luke Del Rio, who eventually entered the game late in the second half, led two touchdown drives in the final 10 minutes that included the game-winning pass to an open Freddie Swain in the corner. Appropriately, Kentucky had just 10 men on the field at the time to further twist the knife for a fan base that was once again left wondering how exactly that happened (again).
The Wildcats nearly drove the length of the field to set up a late field goal but a questionable holding call pushed them out of range and Austin MacGinnis’ 57-yarder came up short to once again put the team on the wrong side of history.
Florida remains afloat in the SEC East after the victory and now moves to 51-17 all-time against UK on the gridiron. Something says that latest edition to the series remains one of the most improbable though.