Mark Story

Looking ahead: Kentucky tries again to end its losing streak to Florida

A dejected Kentucky fan sat in the stands after UK’s 28-27 come-from-ahead loss to Florida last season at Kroger Field. It was Florida’s 31st straight football victory over Kentucky.
A dejected Kentucky fan sat in the stands after UK’s 28-27 come-from-ahead loss to Florida last season at Kroger Field. It was Florida’s 31st straight football victory over Kentucky. aslitz@herald-leader.com

An early look ahead to the University of Kentucky’s next football game:

The opponent

Kentucky (1-0, 0-0 SEC after beating Central Michigan 35-20 in its season opener) will travel to Gainesville to face Florida (1-0, 0-0 SEC) Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in a game televised by the SEC Network. In Dan Mullen’s first game as Florida head coach, the Gators beat FCS opponent Charleston Southern 53-6 on Saturday night.

Most recent meeting

Kentucky lost its 31st straight game to Florida in maddening fashion last season, falling 28-27 at Kroger Field after leading 27-13 in the fourth quarter. Adding to the frustration for UK fans, the Wildcats surrendered two touchdown passes in the game to Florida receivers who were uncovered at the line of scrimmage.



The story lines

1. Kentucky has not beaten Florida since Coach Jerry Claiborne, Bill Ransdell, Mark Higgs, Tony Mayes and Co. prevailed 10-3 in Lexington on Nov. 15, 1986. Fran Curci was the UK coach the last time the Wildcats — playing walk-on Juan Portela at quarterback — beat Florida at Gainesville, a 31-3 victory on Nov. 17, 1979.

2. New Florida head coach Dan Mullen has returned to the school where he served as offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer from 2005-08. As Mississippi State head coach from 2009-2017, Mullen went 8-1 against Kentucky.

3. Mullen tabbed redshirt sophomore Feleipe Franks the winner in a Florida quarterback competition that included freshman Emory Jones and redshirt sophomore Kyle Trask. During Florida’s 4-7 slog last season, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Franks went 3-5 as a starter and threw for 1,438 yards with nine touchdown passes and eight interceptions.

Against UK last season, Franks went 7-of-12 passing for 85 yards and a touchdown but was benched and watched backup Luke Del Rio lead Florida’s comeback win.

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230; Twitter: @markcstory

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