Well, That Didn't Last Long - No. 12 Florida Falls At Home To No. 20 Kentucky

First-year Florida coach Billy Napier and new starting quarterback Anthony Richardson were the toast of Gainesville last week after an upset of No. 7 Utah and a leap from unranked to No. 12 in the nation.

And a week later, the Gators found their offense submerged in their own Swamp in a 26-16 loss to No. 20 Kentucky at Florida Field on Saturday night. The Wildcats outscored the Gators, 13-0, in the second half for the win after leading 16-7 late in the second quarter.

"I thought it was a thing of beauty," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said of his team's second half shutout to ESPN.

Richardson threw two critcial interceptions to turn the game in Kentucky's favor. Outside linebacker Jordan Wright picked off Richardson deep in Florida territory and returned it 18 yards to the Gators' 6-yard line late in the first half with Florida up 16-7. Kentucky (2-0) turned that into a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Will Levis for a 16-13 halftime score after a two-point conversion failed.

The Wildcats tied it 16-16 on a 24-yard field goal by Mark Ruffolo midway through the third quarter.

Then Kentucky defensive back Keidron Smith picked off Richardson and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown and commanding 23-16 lead with 3:25 to go in the third period. The Wildcats added a late field goal for the 26-16 final, and Florida went silent.

Richardson finished 14-of-34 passing for 143 yards with two interceptions. Levis completed 13 of 24 for 202 yards.

With the win, Kentucky Stoops surpassed Bear Bryant as the winningest head coach in Kentucky history with 61 wins since 2013. Bryant won 60 games at Kentucky in less time from 1946-53.

"Fortunate," Stoops said. Lot of great players have been through here."

The Wildcats also won two straight against Florida for the first time since the 1976 and '77 seasons. Kentucky beat Florida last year, 20-13, at home.

Written by
Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests. A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention. Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at www.acadianhouse.com, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.