As coaches in this series have been asked for at least the last decade (or two), Florida Coach Jim McElwain was asked Monday how he will address “the streak” with his team before the Kentucky game Saturday.
The streak, of course, is the 29 consecutive wins over the Cats dating to 1987, the longest active streak in the nation for an uninterrupted series. The only streaks that have run longer were Notre Dame over Navy (43 straight), Nebraska over Kansas (36) and Oklahoma over Kansas State (32).
As for this streak, which the Cats will try to break and earn their first victory in Gainesville since 1979, McElwain said he’ll address it, but only because: “It’s there, you know what I mean?” he told the media Monday afternoon.
“The biggest piece to me is that was done by teams before, and as I told them last year going into this game, ‘They had a chance right here going into The Swamp,’” he said. “There was a questionable piece to that, and I don’t know what way it went. I wasn’t here. And then last year, we had to play our tails off against these guys. So the streak thing? I think it’s something to write about but every year is different. Now it’s 0-0. These two teams have never played and that’s the key.”
In the last two meetings, Florida needed some late defensive heroics to hold off UK 14-9 at Commonwealth Stadium, and the season before that —which McElwain referenced — Kentucky took Florida to three overtimes in The Swamp before a 1-yard touchdown run by Matt Jones sealed the victory. The “questionable piece” as McElwain calls it came on a play clock that appeared to show zeroes before the Gators got off a key play.
The Florida coach said he has no doubt that Kentucky will come in with something to prove, not because of the streak as much as what happened Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
Kentucky is “a team that’s hurting a little bit,” he said. “Obviously that 25-point lead, they only had the ball I think it was 15 times in the second half. A team that was going, Kentucky was going up and down the field. Shot themselves a couple times. They’re going to come down here with that mentality, that the last time they played in this stadium, they probably felt they should’ve won the ball game. There’s a lot of things that go into that.”