Sidelines with John Clay

Five important stats from Kentucky’s huge win over Florida

Five interesting stats from Kentucky’s 27-16 win over Florida:

1. Kentucky outgained Florida 454-360.

That’s the first time the Cats have outgained the Gators since 2007. With ESPN’s College GameDay on hand, Rich Brooks’ team gained 512 yards on Urban Meyer’s Florida team but lost 45-37. That was the week after UK had upset No. 1-ranked LSU in overtime.

Saturday night, the Cats gained 303 yards rushing, their highest total since 443 yards in a losing effort at Tennessee in 2016. For the second straight game, UK had two rushers with over 100 yards. Running back Benny Snell rushed for 175 yards on 27 carries. Quarterback Terry Wilson rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

Remember, Kentucky outgained just two teams all last season — Eastern Kentucky and Vanderbilt.

Kentucky 300-yard rushing games last 10 seasons

10/22/11Jax State553406.18
9/17/16New Mexico St513817.47

2. Despite being -4 in turnovers, UK is 2-0

The Cats turned the ball over four times in the first half of last week’s 35-20 win over Central Michigan at Kroger Field. Wilson lost a fumble and threw two interceptions. Lynn Bowden fumbled on a screen pass with the ball popping into the hands of a CMU player who returned it for a touchdown.

Kentucky turned the ball over twice in the first half Saturday night at Florida. Wilson lost a fumble and then threw a pick on the Cats’ final two possessions of the first half.

Again, Wilson settled down in the second half and played error-free football. And the Cats overcame the turnovers to snap the 31-game losing streak to the Gators.

After seven quarters without forcing a turnover, the UK defense had two takeaways in the fourth quarter Saturday. Safety Darius West picked off a Florida pass with 11:39 left.

Then there was that crazy final play of the game in which Davonte Robinson picked up a Florida fumble -- confirmed after replay -- and returned it for a touchdown as time expired as most everyone stood and watched thinking the play was an incomplete pass.

3. Kentucky was 9-of-13 on third down

Eddie Gran’s offense converted eight of its first nine third-down situations. As Gran pointed out afterward, excellent first down efficiency helped set up manageable down-and-distance situations on third down. Get this: Seven of UK’s 13 third down distances were two yards or less.

The most important third down conversion, however, came on a third-and-16. With 4:11 left in the third quarter, UK up 14-10, Wilson scrambled and then hit wide receiver Lynn Bowden with a perfect 54-yard touchdown pass.

Asked about Wilson afterward, Bowden cracked, “He reminded me of me in high school.”

Florida was seven-of-13 on third down.

4. Terry Wilson passed for 100 and rushed for 100

The former junior college quarterback completed 11 of 16 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns, with the one interception. He also ran the ball 10 times for 105 yards and a 24-yard touchdown. He also had a 31-yard run.

Wilson is the first UK quarterback to pass and rush for 100-or-more yards since Jalen Whitlow in 2013. Only Whitlow’s game came against Alabama State. He completed 16 of 26 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 101 yards on 10 carries in the Cats’ 48-14 victory in what was a two-win season.

By the way, Wilson was a perfect four-of-four for 78 yards on his third down throws on Saturday. Not bad.

5. Benny Snell produces yet another 100-yard game

After gaining 175 yards on Saturday, the junior running back has 14 games of 100 or more yards in his career, including the first two this season.

That breaks a tie with Rafael Little, who had 13 games of 100 yards or more from 2005 through 2007. Because of injuries, Little played only once against Florida, gaining 77 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown in 2005.

Snell is now two ahead of his former teammate Boom Williams, who rushed for 100 yards or more in 12 different games from 2014 through 2016. Boom’s best game against Florida was 80 yards on 16 carries in 2015 during a 14-9 loss to the Gators.

The 175 yards Saturday was Snell’s fifth best career game. No. 1 is 211 yards on 29 carries against Louisville on Nov. 25, 2017. No. 2 is 192 yards on 38 carries at Missouri on Oct. 29, 2016. No. 3 is 180 yards on 27 carries against Tennessee on Oct. 28, 2017. No. 4 is 176 yards on 28 carries on Nov. 4, 2017 against Ole Miss.

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