Florida Gators Defense Shines in Rout of Kentucky Wildcats

Tyler Piccotti@@SYRTylerPContributor IIISeptember 22, 2012

September 22, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators players celebrate after they beat the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 38-0.  Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Jeff Driskel and the rest of the Florida Gators cruised past the Kentucky Wildcats by a score of 38-0 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. It was the 26th consecutive victory for the Gators against the Wildcats, who floundered without starting quarterback Maxwell Smith.

 Driskel was solid once again as he completed two-thirds of his passes for 203 yards and threw a second quarter touchdown strike to Quinton Dunbar. He also ran for 35 yards and a touchdown. Florida's running game was highly balanced as five players rushed for over 30 yards. Ten Gators made receptions during the game, but not included on that list was Trey Burton.

He was held out of today's game due to back spasms.

The real story was Florida's defense. Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton was intercepted three times. One of those resulted in a pick-six by Jaylen Watkins. The Wildcats completed only 30 percent of their passes. All told, the Gators allowed 60 yards through the air and 219 yards in total.

It was the first time the Gators shut out an SEC opponent since 2001 against Mississippi State.

While it is a bad idea to put too much stock into this victory, the Gators are now 4-0 with three wins in SEC play. They currently sit atop the SEC East standings. Next week is a bye for the Gators, who will be in action against the LSU Tigers on October 6 at the Swamp in a pivotal SEC matchup.

This will provide Burton, Jelani Jenkins and Mike Gillislee with extra time to heal from their respective injuries. Should the Gators win that game, they will find themselves in great position to make a run at a berth in the SEC Championship game at the end of the regular season.

Kentucky's schedule is brutal the rest of the way. Their next two opponents are South Carolina and Mississippi State, and a game against Georgia is further down the list. One can safely declare them out of the SEC East race.