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If you were looking towards Lexington as the site of the best game of the day, you were looking in the right spot. It turns out, the Wildcats were on a mission to erase history and beat the Gators for the first time since 1986.
This was the type of atmosphere that Mark Stoops has been looking for, in hopes they could help his team pull off the upset. Well, on Saturday night, Kroger Field was rocking, as fans dressed in Blue and white were full of bourbon and ready for a party. This game was going to come down to whether Kentucky could have success against the Gators front seven. In order for this to happen, Chris Rodriguez was going to need to be a factor, along with Will Levis.
After the first quarter, the game was tied at 7-7, as Emory Jones and Will Levis traded touchdown passes. This was an interesting quarter, as both teams seemed to be feeling each-other out, as not much was happening offensively. If you thought the 2nd quarter would bring fireworks, you weren’t happy with only getting a 51-yard FG from Jace Christmann. The Gators led 10-7 at halftime, after Dan Mullen decided to sit on a few timeouts to end the half.
As the second half began, we witnessed much of the same, from the 1st half, with not much offense. But, things were about to change, in a very big way.
The clock sat at 6:36 in the third quarter, and Florida was lining up to attempt a 48-yard field goal, as Kentucky fans weren’t aware of the chaos that was about to ensue. The Cats put on a full press and blocked the field goal, which was then returned 78 yards for a touchdown by Trevin Wallace. If you thought it was loud before, Kentucky fans took it to the extreme, as they cheered on the defender all the way to the end zone. Just like that, the game was changed.
Kentucky blocks the FG and returns it 78-yards to the house.
Let’s get tropical pic.twitter.com/iP4JfvdRwB
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) October 3, 2021
It’s not every year that Kentucky has a chance of knocking off a top 10 program, especially Florida. But tonight felt different, as I discussed earlier this week. It felt like the Wildcats were ready to take the next step and knock off the Gators, as the timing just felt right. It was either now, or they’d be waiting a few more years for this opportunity. The talent was there for the Wildcats, as shown tonight by the Cats defense and offensive production.
But, this game wasn’t over, as Kentucky needed to add another score, to give them that cushion. The play happened in the 4th quarter, as Emory Jones was stepping outside the pocket, J.J. Weaver was waiting. The pass was intercepted and returned to the Florida 29-yard line, setting the Wildcats up with great field position. It was then the Rodriguez and Levis show, as the Cats drew closer to the end zone. Five plays later, Chris Rodriguez hit pay dirt and Kentucky took the 20-10 lead, as fans starting losing their minds again.
The Gators reeled back in the Wildcats lead, after Jace Christmann nailed a 33-yard FG. This would be the last time Florida scored.
This game always brings some sort of madness, so the ending shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone in the stadium. Down 20-13, Florida marched 54 yards down the field, to the Kentucky 5-yard line. Well, you know that crowd we were talking about earlier, the ones filled with bourbon and attitude, they were about to pay off. The Gators were called for their 8th false start of the game, backing them up to the 14 yard line, slimming their chances of punching it in.
Will Levis finished the night 7-17 for 87 yards and 1 TD, while rushing for 21 yards. His teammate Chris Rodriguez finished the night with 99 yards rushing and 1 touchdown.
Finally, it was 4th down at the Kentucky 8-yard line, and Emory Jones sent a pass into the fray, which came up incomplete. The game was over and the fans stormed the field, celebrating the win over Florida at home, for the first time since “Top Gun” was released.
A stream of happy tears fell from the faces of Kentucky fans and players, as they celebrated the win and moved to 5-0 on the season. It was almost like tonight was meant to be, as fans jumped around on the field, hugging Mark Stoops.
Tonight in Lexington, all is right in the world, at least for this one Saturday. Hey, don’t look now, but Kentucky is tied for first in the SEC East. Stranger things have happened, just like we witnessed tonight.