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David Leveridge- Sports View America
October 2nd, 2021- Kroger Field
Kentucky returned to Kroger Field to a sold-out crowd of 70,000 Fans hosting the Florida Gators. Kentucky hasn’t beat Florida in Lexington, since 1986 and today’s game was a huge Statement win that will help build the Kentucky Legacy. Today is one of the few sporting moments I have experienced that will serve as a lasting memory, and one that will be told for generations to come. Kentucky didn’t play the perfect game and was outgained over 100 yards on the ground by the Florida Gators.
Kentucky’s defense came up huge against the Gators and helped seal the monumental win. Three plays come to mind that were the difference in today’s game. With Florida leading 10-7 the Gators go for a Field goal, only to be blocked by Josh Pascal and returned for a seventy-five-yard Touchdown by Trevin Wallace, giving the CATS a 13-10 Lead in the third Quarter. In the Fourth Kentucky intercepted a pass By JJ Weaver led to a nine- yard rushing touchdown by RB Chris Rodriguez giving Kentucky a ten-point lead in the Fourth Quarter. On the last series of the game the Florida offense marched the ball down the field and had the ball at the ten- yard line, a score could have tied the game. UK’s defense tipped the ball on a 4th and 5 and sealed the win. Fans soon stormed the field, and the atmosphere was electric.
Earlier in the week I wrote that a win against the Florida Gators would give the CATS some much needed Respect in the SEC conference and nationally. This win will now make Kentucky a ranked team and currently sets at 3-0 in SEC Eastern Division and have an overall record of 5-0. Lexington could not be more excited as the Community and State have supported the CATS. Kentucky beating Florida in 2018 snapping a thirty- one game loosing streak was huge in building the Programs success and made Kentucky respectable in the SEC. Tonight’s Win against the Gators under the lights at Kroger Field was equally as impressive and further moves Kentucky into the upper Echelon of the SEC. Fans had been waiting a long time to celebrate a monumental victory of this magnitude for a long time and rejoiced at an electric Kroger Field.
First Quarter- Florida received the ball on the opening drive. The Kentucky defense held strong holding Florida to a three and out forcing a punt. Offensively Kentucky couldn’t move the chains in the opening quarter and went three and out. On Florida’s second Offensive possession the Gators moved the ball down field, resulting in a touchdown on a seven play seventy- five yard passing play from QB Ja’Qavion Frazier to Emory Jones. Florida led 7-0 with 7:57 remaining in the fourth quarter. Kentucky’s offense was able to respond with a scoring drive on the ensuing kickoff. Kentucky QB Will Levis found his favorite WR Wan ’Dale Robinson in stride scoring on a forty- one yard passing Touchdown. The game was now tied at seven and would remain tied @ seven entering the second quarter.
Second Quarter- The second quarter saw one scoring drive by the Florida Offense. Florida scored on an eleven play fifty-five-yard drive as Kicker Jace Christman split the uprights with a fifty-one-yard field Goal. Kentucky’s offense was ineffective in the second half resulting in several three and outs and were unable to move the chains. The Bright spot for the Kentucky Football team was the defense. Kentucky defense could have easily given up multiple touchdowns in the quarter, but only allowing a field goal to this Florida team was impressive. At the half the Florida Gators led Kentucky 10-7.
Third Quarter- In the third Quarter the momentum started to swing in Kentucky’s favor as the defense held strong. Kentucky had struggled to reach the red zone on drives and was out of field goal range most of the quarter, often resulting in Florida getting excellent field position. Florida has a kicker capable of constantly kicking a fifty-yard field goal. Florida had the ball and was unable to score due to the defense of the CATS. Florida had the chance to kick a twenty-six-yard field goal with a good kicker in Christman. The Kentucky defense come up big first with Josh Pascal getting into the lane and blocking the field goal, the ball was then recovered by Trevin Wallace who returned the ball for a seventy-six-yard play. Kentucky led 13-10 and Kroger Field was ecstatic. The Popular Song Grove Street Party is played during rally moments for Kentucky Football and viewing the game from the Press Booth it was apparent every CAT fan in attendance was singing this song to the top of their lungs as the building shook below us. This is the first time all Night the arena was that loud, and the excitement of the crowd inspired the CATS on the field. At the end of the third Quarter Kentucky led Florida 13- 10.
Fourth Quarter- In the Fourth Quarter Kentucky started having success running the ball as Chris Rodriguez bulldozed his way through tackles picking up multiple first downs. But, once again the Story of the game is the impressive play of the Kentucky Defense, as the CATS defense dictated the outcome of this game. In the Fourth Quarter Kentucky was able to capitalize on a turnover and increased the lead. On the opening series of the Quarter Florida turned the ball over as JJ Weaver picked off the Quarterback in Kentucky territory and nearly returned the ball for a pick six. Kentucky was able to capitalize off the Florida mistake as Chris Rodriguez scored on a nine-yard Rushing Touchdown. The play was a five play twenty-yard possession. Kentucky led Florida 20 –10 and once again the Blue and White Faithful come to their feet and the stadium shook beneath us. Florida responds with a thirteen play fifty-nine-yard field goal by Christman. The Gators cut the Kentucky led to seven points trailing Kentucky 20-13. Kentucky’s offense was unable to move the ball resulting in a punt. Florida regained possession and marched the field inside the Red- Zone with under a minute to play in the game. Penalties gave Kentucky a break, but severely hurt the Gators. In the last possession of the game Florida faced a fourth and five from the five-yard line, with only eighteen seconds remaining in the quarter. The next play would decide if Kentucky escaped Kroger Field with a win or the game would go to overtime. Kentucky batted down the thrown ball By Frazier and regained possession. A couple Of QB kneels and the celebration was on. As the game clock expired, I seen an atmosphere that I have never witnessed at a live football game. Fans Stormed the field and rejoiced with the players. Kentucky has beat the Gators for the first time in Lexington since 1986, the Fans had been waiting a long time for a celebration of this magnitude. Kentucky Football survives with a 20- 13 hard fought victory against the Florida Gators.
Kentucky 20/ Florida 13
First Downs UK 13/ Florida 21
Rushing Yards Total- UK 30 runs for a total of 137 yards/ UF 39 runs for a total of 171 yards.
Passing yards UK 87 yards/ Florida 211 yards.
Total Offense UK 47 plays for 224 total yards/ UF 71 plays for 382 total yards.
Penalties: UK 4 penalties for 30 total yards/ UF 15 penalties totaling 115 yards.
Time of Possession: UK 23:42/ UF 36:18
UK STATS- QB Will Levis 6- 15 passing for seventy- five yards one touchdown and one interception.
Wan ’dale Robinson three catches good for 52 yards. Forty-one Yards after catch.
Chris Rodriguez 19 carries gaining 99 total yards, 1 TD.
Kentucky survives in an Epic Game against the Florida Gators defeating Florida 20-13 in a memorable game at Kroger Field. Kentucky will likely be nationally ranked in both Polls the Coaches and the AP Poll, and the excitement is at an all-time high as the CATS are now 5-0 on the Season and 3-0 against SEC East Competition. Next Weekend the Gauntlet of SEC Football Continues as The CATS host the LSU Tigers @ 7:30 pm in Kroger Field. Kentucky will need to regroup as LSU is a perineal Power, but for the next seven days Lexington will celebrate this victory.