Mark Story

First Scouting Report: Can Kentucky start a win streak vs. Florida?

UK’s Mark Stoops celebrates a hard-fought, much-needed victory at Florida

Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops celebrates what turned out to be a touchdown in the final seconds of Kentucky’s historic win over Florida.
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Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops celebrates what turned out to be a touchdown in the final seconds of Kentucky’s historic win over Florida.

More from the series


Game day: Kentucky vs. Eastern Michigan

Click below for more of Kentucky.com’s coverage of the Kentucky-Eastern Michigan football game.

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An early look ahead to the Kentucky Wildcats’ next football game:

The opponent

Kentucky (2-0 after a 38-17 win over Eastern Michigan) will face No. 10 Florida (2-0) Saturday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. The game will be telecast on ESPN.

Coach Dan Mullen’s Gators shut out Tennessee at Martin 45-0 Saturday night.

Most recent meeting

In his first road start as the Kentucky Wildcats’ quarterback, Terry Wilson threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 105 yards and one TD while Benny Snell rushed for 175 yards on 27 carries as UK snapped an embarrassing 31-game losing streak vs. Florida with a 27-16 upset of the No. 25 Gators in Gainesville on Sept. 8, 2018.

Terry Wilson TD run at Florida.JPG
Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson (3) ran for a 24-yard touchdown in the third quarter that put the Wildcats ahead to stay in what became a 27-16 upset of No. 25 Florida last season. Alex Slitz aslitz@herald-leader.com

Series history

After Kentucky delivered a 31-3 smashing of Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in 1979, the Wildcats led the all-time series with the Gators 16-14. Since then, Florida has won 37 of 39 games with UK and now has a 51-18 head-to-head mark against the Wildcats.

UK’s most recent victory over UF in Lexington was a 10-3 win in 1986.

Know your foe

1. Florida opened its 2019 season a week early (Aug. 24) vs. intrastate rival Miami and escaped with a 24-20 victory. UF quarterback Feleipe Franks scored the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard run with 8:08 left and the Gators defense recorded a whopping 10 quarterback sacks.

2. Franks, a 6-foot-6, 238-pound product of Crawfordville, Fla., has made two prior starts against Kentucky. Franks was 7-of-12 passing for 45 yards and a touchdown in 2017 in Lexington but was pulled from the game and watched backup Luke Del Rio rally the Gators from 27-14 down in the fourth quarter to a 28-27 win.

In last year’s loss to UK in The Swamp, Franks went 17-of-38 passing for 232 yards with one interception and two TD throws.

Josh Allen forces Franks fumble.JPG
Kentucky star Josh Allen (41) kept the pressure on Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks throughout last season’s 27-16 UK upset of the No. 25 Gators. Monica Herndon Tampa Bay Times/TNS

3. The last time Kentucky beat Florida in back-to-back seasons was under Fran Curci in 1976 (a 28-9 win in Lexington) and 1977 (a 14-7 victory in Gainesville).

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Mark Story has worked in the Lexington Herald-Leader sports department since Aug. 27, 1990, and has been a Herald-Leader sports columnist since 2001. I have covered every Kentucky-Louisville football game since 1994, every UK-U of L basketball game but three since 1996-97 and every Kentucky Derby since 1994.
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