Quick hits: 7 things to know as Florida Gators survive Kentucky 14-9, push streak to 29 games

Florida Gators football improved to 3-0 on Saturday with a hard-fought 14-9 win over the Kentucky Wildcats, escaping Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky, with a victory in a contest that looked shaky at times for the visitors.

The Gators have now won 29 consecutive games against the Wildcats (1987-present) and still hold the longest active streak against an annual opponent in the nation.

OnlyGators.com is here to break down the game, so here are seven takeaways.

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Gameday – Florida Gators at Kentucky: What to know, how to watch on TV, live stream online

Florida Gators football will look to start 3-0 for the first time since 2012 when it takes on the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday evening. The Gators are hoping to avoid a historic loss and begin Southeastern Conference play with a bang as head coach Jim McElwain leads Florida into Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky.

Here’s a look ahead at Saturday’s game: what to know and how to watch the Gators.

Viewing information

Location: Commonwealth Stadium – Lexington, Kentucky [Capacity: 61,000]
Weather: 72°F (feels like 72°F), mostly cloudy (35% chance of rain), winds N at 9 mph

Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT
TV: SEC Network (Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer, Maria Taylor)

Streaming Video: WatchESPN | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
SiriusXM: 93/192 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

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Friday Final: Florida Gators tight ends leading attempted offensive resurgence

We’re back with Florida Football Friday Final, where OnlyGators.com takes a last look at the Florida Gators as they prepare for their first road contest under new head coach Jim McElwain.

The Gators will take on the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and air live on SEC Network.

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Florida Gators name QB Will Grier starter at Kentucky; Treon Harris will also play

Florida Gators football announced Thursday that redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier will start for the team against the Kentucky Wildcats on the road Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky.

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9/28: Florida at Kentucky post-game report

A poised performance by redshirt junior back-up quarterback Tyler Murphy coupled with a breakthough game for sophomore running back Matt Jones and superb defensive effort led the No. 19/20 Florida Gators (3-1, 2-0 SEC) past the Kentucky Wildcats (1-3, 0-1 SEC) on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, KY. After winning the game 24-7, Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media and provided some of his thoughts after the game.

NEXT GAME TIME ANNOUNCED

Florida will face Arkansas next Saturday on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in a game that will air live on ESPN2. It will be the first night game the Gators will play in that emanates from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium since Nov. 26, 2011.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida extended its winning streak against Kentucky to 27 games dating back to 1987. It is the longest active streak against an annual opponent but the sixth-longest such streak all time.
» The Gators are 47-17 all-time against the Wildcats with a 19-10 edge in Lexington. UF is also 33-1 against UK since 1980.
» Florida beat Kentucky by fewer than 34 points for the first time since 2007 (45-37). UF has outscored UK 262-43 over the last six games (2008-13) and shutout its SEC East rival last year (38-0) for the first time since 1996.
» The Gators are 15-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards. Florida is also 17-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 13-3 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 14-3 when scoring first and 17-1 when leading at half.
» UF is 17-1 against unranked opponents under Muschamp.
» Florida has forced at least one turnover in 15-straight games and nabbed at least one interception in seven consecutive contests.
» The Gators have forced the most interceptions among SEC teams this century (355).
» Florida has registered a nation-leading 103 interceptions since 2008. UF is also first in interceptions returned for touchdowns (16) and interception return yards (1,788).
» The Gators had their longest offensive scoring drive of the season in terms of time (7:47), yardage (93) and plays (13).
» Florida has not allowed Kentucky to score an offensive touchdown in 10-straight quarters dating back to 2011. The Wildcats’ sole score Saturday came on a fake field goal on their first drive of the game.
» The Gators were 4-for-4 in the red zone, 8-for-13 on third down and 2-for-2 on fourth down, but their defense held the Wildcats to 0-of-1, 1-of-8 and 2-of-4 in those categories.
» Florida never punted the ball and scored five times in eight drives. The other three included two end-of-halfs and one interception.
» UF outgained UK 402-173 overall and 246-48 on the ground. The Gators also dominated time of possession 38:09-21:51, though it was the least total time they possessed the ball in a game all season.

» Murphy started the game 11-of-11 for 120 yards and a touchdown, adding four carries for 20 yards and a rushing score in the first half. He eventually completed 13-straight passes before finishing his first career start 15-for-18 for 156 yards and added an interception in the second half.
» Jones registered career-highs in carries (28) and rushing yards (176), adding a touchdown to his total while averaging 6.3 yards per touch. It was the first 100-yard game of his career and second by a Florida rusher this season (Mack Brown).
» Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III registered his third career interception in four career games.
» Senior wide receiver Trey Burton scored his first touchdown of the season and matched a career-high with six receptions. His 66 receiving yards were a game-high. Burton has now scored eight of his 20 career touchdowns against Kentucky.
» Freshman WR Demarcus Robinson earned his first career reception and took it 10 yards on a third-down conversion.

OPENING STATEMENT

“I’m very proud of our football team. It has been a long week for us, psychologically and mentally as much as anything. When you go through Jeff [Driskel]’s situation and Dominique [Easley]’s situation, which happened Tuesday night, very frustrating but you can’t always control your circumstances in life. You can control your vision.

“I told our players, ‘No excuses and no regrets.’ That’s just who we are. We have an expectation level here at the University of Florida on what we’re going to do and where we’re headed with our program. Very pleased with how our guys pulled together and the Gator Nation pulled together and came up here and did what we did. …

“Very proud of our football team. Showed a lot of resolve. They continue to come together in what we’re doing. Very proud of Tyler Murphy and his play.”

Read everything else Muschamp had to say about the game…after the break!
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Murphy, Jones lead the way for Gators’ offense as Florida wins 27th-straight against Kentucky

Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy looked like a seasoned, experienced signal caller in his first career start, leading the No. 19/20 Florida Gators (3-1, 2-0 SEC) to a 24-7 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats (1-3, 0-1 SEC) on the road at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, KY, on Saturday evening.

Murphy ended the first half 11-of-11 for 120 yards and a touchdown, adding another score and 20 rushing yards on four carries, and gave the Gators a 21-7 edge at halftime. He threw an interception in the second half but was supported by a strong effort from UF’s dominant defense and sophomore running back Matt Jones, who took a career-high 28 carries for a career-high 176 yards and a touchdown.

Florida won its 27th consecutive game against Kentucky dating back to 1986, extending the nation’s longest active winning streak against an annual opponent. The Gators are also 33-1 against the Wildcats since 1980 and have outscored their SEC East rivals 262-43 over the last seven games.

Florida opened up with its longest scoring drive of the season, gaining 93 yards on 13 plays in 7:47 and capping it off with a touchdown when Jones carried the ball into the end zone on 3rd-and-Goal.

Kentucky answered in kind, moving the ball 50 yards in 12 plays before being faced with 4th-and-9 at UF’s 25-yard line. UK lined up for the field goal but faked it with kicker Joe Mansour taking an over-the-head toss from the holder 25 yards to tie the game at 7-7.

Continue Reading » Murphy, Jones lead the way for Gators’ offense as Florida wins 27th-straight against Kentucky

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Gameday: No. 19 Florida Gators at Kentucky

Location: Commonwealth Stadium – Lexington, KY [Capacity: 67,606]
Weather: 74°F (feels like 74°F), partly cloudy, winds S at 5 mph
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Tickets: Best deals on Florida Gators tickets starting at $46 on TiqIQ

TV: ESPNU (Clay Matvick, Matt Stinchcomb, Dawn Davenport)
SiriusXM: 94/200 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: Watch ESPN | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

No. 19/20 FLORIDA GATORS KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Stoops
Record: 2-1 (1-0 SEC) Record: 1-2 (0-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -12 | O/U: 46.5

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you missed via the links below!

Depth chart | Story: Special teams not so special | Story: QB Tyler Murphy focused on preparation, leadership | Story: Ousted Kentucky coach Phillips making an impact at Florida | Story: CB Hargreaves making an early impact | Story: Can LB Fowler continue to dominate? | Notes: Friday Final

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is looking to extend its 26-game winning streak against Kentucky, which dates back to 1986. It is the longest active streak against an annual opponent but the sixth-longest such streak all time.
» The Gators are 46-17 all-time against the Wildcats with an 18-10 edge in Lexington. UF is also 32-1 against UK since 1980.
» Florida is favored by 13 points but has not defeated Kentucky by fewer than 34 points since 2007 (45-37). UF has outscored UK 238-36 over the last six games (2008-10) and shutout its SEC East rival last year (38-0) for the first time since 1996.
» Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease spent two years with the Wildcats (2001-02) in the same position. UF wide receivers coach Joker Phillilps was a player (1981-84), graduate assistant (1988-89), assistant coach (1990-96, 2003-04), offensive coordinator (2004-09) and head coach (2010-12) at UK for 23 combined seasons spanning four decades. He is also a native of Franklin, KY.
» Florida failed to open the season 2-0 for the first time since 2005.
» Kentucky has not defeated a ranked opponent since 2010.
» The Gators are 14-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards (6-9 when rushing for fewer than 150 yards). Florida is also 16-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 12-3 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 13-3 when scoring first (7-6 when an opponent scores first) and 16-1 when leading at the half (4-8 when tied or trailing at the break).
» UF is 16-1 against unranked opponents under Muschamp.
» Against the Hurricanes on Sept. 7, the Gators had two wide receivers gain more than 98 yards in the same game for the first time since Nov. 3, 2007.
» Florida held Toledo to six points in its season opener, the sixth time the team has held an opponent without a touchdown under Muschamp.
» The Gators rank first nationally in time of possession (117.0 minutes), rushing defense (55.3 yards), first downs defense (34), third down conversion defense (.189) and fourth down conversion defense (.000); second in the country in total defense (212.3 yards); and fourth in passing efficiency defense (82.95).
» The Wildcats rank sixth nationally in third down defense (.231).
» Florida has forced at least one turnover in 14-straight games.
» The Gators have forced the most interceptions among SEC teams this century (354).
» Florida has registered a nation-leading 102 interceptions since 2008. UF is also first in interceptions returned for touchdowns (16) and interception return yards (1,788).
» Both coaching staffs will don Coach to Cure MD patches on their clothes in support of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. The program, which is a partnership between Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy and the American Football Coaches Association, has raised more than one million dollars in six years of existence.

Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 19 Florida Gators at Kentucky

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Friday Final: Florida prepares for Kentucky

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp, offensive coordinator Brent Pease, defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin and a number of players spoke this week ahead of Saturday’s road game against the Kentucky Wildcats scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. from Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, KY, and air on ESPNU.

Below are some notes and quotes that fell through the cracks and did not make it into one of the 10 posts already published here on OnlyGators.com (see links).

Monday: Updated depth chart released | Muschamp talks injuries, rushers and more | Special teams not so special (exclusive)
Tuesday: QB Tyler Murphy focused on preparation, leadership
Wednesday: Muschamp updates injures; Steve Spurrier and Mark Stoops join him on SEC teleconference | Ousted Kentucky coach Joker Phillips making an impact at Florida | QB Jeff Driskel undergoes successful surgery | DT Dominique Easley out for the season (torn ACL)
Thursday: CB Vernon Hargreaves III making an early impact | Gators hope BUCK Dante Fowler, Jr. continues to dominate

GETTING THE RUNNING GAME GOING

The Gators are currently ranked 48th in rushing offense, averaging 199.7 yards per game. It’s not exactly where Florida wants to be at this point in the season, and the coaching staff has altered its approach on how carries will be divided up going forward. Rather than having sophomore running back Matt Jones automatically take the bulk of the carries, UF will go with the hot hand each game.

“We know what Matt is capable of and he’ll be fine. What he can’t do is get down on himself emotionally,” Pease said on Tuesday. “He’s still part of the game pan. You just got to understand you just go back and work harder. Kids think everything is always going to be perfect all the time. No, it isn’t. There’s ups and downs, peaks and valleys. What he did last year, he obviously worked himself where he was pretty consistent where he was at. … Now you’re an every-down guy so your expectation of execution is much higher on a play-to-play basis on consistency, performance. He’s fine. He’s a good player. He’ll be alright.”

In addition to giving more carries to redshirt junior Mack Brown, Florida wants to get freshman Kelvin Taylor more involved. Pease believes consistency is the main issue holding Taylor back from making an impact at this point.

Continue Reading » Friday Final: Florida prepares for Kentucky

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