Live Blog: Florida Gators vs. Kentucky Wildcats
Don’t let that get you down.
While I was on the radio of the Internet, talking about the spread in the Big Ten and Big 12, Florida had the longest drive that never crossed the 50 I’ve ever seen. Chas Henry’s punt landed inside the 20, and Kentucky will start from there.
Two runs for four yards, and it’s third and six. Kentucky’s trying to run around Florida’s speedy defense, and that is not a successful tactic so far.
The pass by Mike Hartline to the left flat gets about three, and Kentucky will punt.
And it’s blocked! William Green flies through to smother it, the ball rolls around within ten yards of the end zone, and the Gators will have the ball inside the 5 after Tim Masthay gets flagged for “illegal kicking.”
The ever-popular fake-to-Tebow-Smash is quite operational: an excellent fake to Jeff Demps gets a defender to commit, and Tim Tebow goes up the middle for a touchdown. He’s just one rushing TD shy of Emmitt Smith’s school record, and UF takes a 7-0 lead after the extra point.
Tony Dixon receives the ball at the three and a solid Will Hill hit at the 18.
The Wildcats come out with two backs in the shotgun, and the play is a shovel pass to the trailing back; UF’s seen that in practice, and Brandon Spikes stuffs it.
Another pitch to the outside, this one well-blocked, and it’ll be third and one.
On third down, Mike Hartline, with time, can’t find anyone. Kentucky will punt, and Tim Masthay will try to get this punt off.
Not so much. It’s another block, this one by Jeff Demps, and the ball again skitters out of bounds around the goal line. Florida will have the ball near the painted area, and it’s going to be first and goal from inside the 1.
Now, I usually don’t pick on Raycom. But I will today, as Brandon James goes through the tiniest of creases to score again. When Raycom displays a red zone graphic, not only is it overlaid on the players and the field so as to obscure everything underneath it, the graphic does not extend to either the 20 or the lower sideline. That’s just bad.
Florida, after the extra point, has 14 points and 17 total yards; Kentucky has had more punts blocked than there have been earned first downs in this game.
The kickoff goes for a touch-back, and the Wildcats will take over at their 20.
Alfonso Smith goes left for a couple of yards. On second down, Joe Haden zips to the out route and dives at the ball, but can’t hold on to the interception.
Kentucky calls timeout.
Three rushers on third down, and Hartline throws down the left sideline; Major Wright makes a great play to bat down the ball.
The punt is off! But it’s short, rolls out of bounds just past midfield, and that’s not going to help UK win the field position battle.
Jeff Demps marks the first deployment of the R & D Department’s Quantum Wing Offense as auspicious, slicing through the Kentucky defense and picking up 15 yards on a first-down carry.
Then, a pass to Louis Murphy near the sideline; then, Chris Rainey joins the Quantum Wing; then, a face-mask penalty.
And UF is within 20 yards of paydirt again; Percy Harvin covers those very fluidly on a sweep, and the R & D Department uses the Division of Hurt to make it a three-score game. It’s 21-0 after the point after, and Kentucky hasn’t been this shell-shocked since Daniel Boone died.
Kentucky will finally have the ball past their own 20 to start a drive! It’s just at the 21, but, hey, the Wildcats would be happy with a first down at this point. Hartline badly overthrowing a receiver who had a step on the defense will not help with that.
The screen to the left gets about five yards. It’s fourth and five, even though Raycom only showed us two offensive plays. I am interested in how that happened.
The punt goes to Brandon James, and he gets Florida to about their own 40.
Tebow runs left and delivers a shot to get five yards on first down.
Demps slides through a slit on an interference pattern, gets about eight yards, gets a first down. Demps, again, on that first down, gets 12 yards.
Mike Pouncey goes to the ground holding his left knee after that play.
Tebow takes a big hit on a blitz and delivers a perfect strike to Harvin, who strides into the end zone for points 22-27; the 28th sails through, and this is a beat-down.
Randall Cobb comes in for Mike Hartline, and one of the Daves slurps his “unbelievable” athletic ability. So far, that’s meant a too-fast pass to the right that fell incomplete and a screen. I’m not seeing it.
It’s third and five, and Cobb completes a pass to the right flat, and Kentucky will have to punt. Again.
The Gators have given up on blocking punts at this point, and this one’s a good one, bouncing to near the 20.
Tebow goes right on an option, keeps it, drops the football, and wrenches it out of a pile against four Wildcats. So that’s an interesting gain of one.
On second down, Tebow throws a nice floater that doesn’t actually float far enough; he’s picked off, and Kentucky will have the ball at the UF 37. The hand-off goes left for about six or seven, but a holding hankie will bring this back.
Okay, it’s actually an illegal shift, and Kentucky will have first and 15; Dixon gets some great blocking on the outside, and he almost gets a first down around the corner.
Still, at the end of the first quarter, it’s Florida 28, Kentucky 0.
Kentucky’s in the red zone, which means the return of that graphic, with added Florida defense overlay, and the ‘Cats do just about nothing on first and second down. It’ll be third and 11.
Florida shows blitz, brings six, and Haden almost gets the pick. Instead, it’ll be fourth down.
In a development that surprised absolutely no one, the kick is blocked, Joe Haden getting a piece of of it, and Florida will return it to about their own 30.
Chris Rainey is bottled up on first down. Something happens on second down to get a shorter third down.
On that third down, a crossing route to Jeff Demps, who gets a great Riley Cooper block and outruns a cheetah, a gamma ray, and the Kentucky defense down the sideline for the touchdown. It’s 35-0 following the PAT, and you can’t even do that in video games. (I know. I’ve tried.)
Kentucky receives the kick and immediately gets a holding penalty. They’re running out of feet to shoot.
First down, Cobb goes right, and Spikes and Carlos Dunlap toss him for a loss.
Kentucky has to take a timeout on second and 14.
Hey, a first down! Cobb finds EJ Adams over the middle for 15, and it’ll be a first down.
A pass to John Conner in the left gets about ten and moves the sticks.
The run up the middle of that first down is ineffective, what with the ball carrier getting snatched up and thrown for a gain of negative yardage. Second down, and Cobb scrambles and is flustered, missing an open man in the flat; third down, and he’s in a similar situation, but he escapes, goes right, and picks up another first down.
Cobb throws left on first down and gets another one. Kentucky football: all our offensive adequacy on one drive! A quick run up the middle nets two, and Cobb goes left and gets about five. It’ll be third and three.
Cobb goes up the middle, pivots, and gets about three on a spin. An unnecessary roughness penalty on Matt Patchan will give Kentucky their second red zone possession.
I mean, really, why would you want to associate yourself with something that’s this poorly produced, Honda Generators?
Cobb drops back, sets, and is the picture of Chris Leak in 2004, firing well past his receiver in the end zone. Again, on third down, an incomplete pass in the end zone, and Kentucky will attempt to kick a ball in the air.
It worked! It worked! And Kentucky’s only down by 32.
Florida comes out on first down and Rainey cuts through the middle for about 12. So the defensive adjustments are waiting until halftime.
Kestahn Moore is on the field and carrying the ball, and it’s not the fourth quarter: that’s how you know how dominant the Gators have been today.
Raycom’s research department is working on the history involved in blocking three kicks, and I can smell the smoke from their Apple Lisa from here.
Meanwhile, Florida’s mixed the run and the pass and gotten across the 50 again. Ho and hum.
Have I mentioned that the red zone graphic doesn’t extend to either end of the red zone?
James gets an option pitch on the left, and gets about nine.
Tebow keeps it and makes a spin move to put Corey Brewer to shame, getting about four and a goal-to-go series of downs. He goes straight up the middle and steps into the end zone, tying Emmitt Smith’s school record for rushing touchdowns with the 36th score of his career.
And Raycom honors Mr. Two Bits, the Florida institution otherwise known as George Edmondson who has lead a “Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar, all for the Gators, stand up and holler” cheer at all but three Gators home games since 1949. He was feted before the game, also Florida’s Homecoming, as the 86-year-old will retire from his role at the end of this season. Great story, his, and no one will take the role from him except Albert the Alligator, who will don a Two Bits costume and do the cheer starting next year.
Kentucky did something to get the ball near midfield, but their Hail Mary gets tipped and is snagged by a Gator with his feet on the line, so we’ll go to halftime.
At halftime, the score is Florida 42, Kentucky 3.
I ventured onto campus to get my lunch during halftime. At the University of Florida, there is no more dead time on campus than during football games. Buildings could catch fire and no one would know until at least halftime.
The opening kickoff of the second half goes out of bounds, and Kentucky will get to see what that big F in the middle of the field looks like again.
Mike Hartline comes out as the quarterback, and he’ll probably return to the sideline for good, after Markihe Anderson’s blitz turns into an Ahmad Black pick-six. It’s 49-3 and Florida’s offense hasn’t done anything yet. Less than ten seconds have run off the clock, and the margin has gotten even wider.
It’s Hartline in the backfield again, and the hand off goes right for a yard. A dump-off to John Conner gets seven and gets Conner a nice Brandon Spikes-sized welt. On third down, it’s a run to the left, and the referee’s spot looks like it’s going to force Kentucky to punt.
Kentucky makes it by about a micron, and uses that first down to throw right and play Hot Potato with the ball. Second and ten.
The pass is quick, to the left, and gets seven. It’s a third and three, and the crowd gets loud for the hell of it. Jermaine Cunningham validates the volume with a great move to get loose up the middle, pressures Hartline, and forces the incomplete pass.
James returns the punt for about ten yards. At this point, it doesn’t matter that he’s been almost entirely neutralized.
Tebow to Demps on a screen for a couple of yards on first down. Rainey, in the run game and the passing game, at all angles, chewing up swaths of yardage.
Florida backs up on a penalty, and it doesn’t matter; Tebow finds Deonte Thompson over the middle for a nice gain. Moore gets a carry on second and six, and gets maybe a yard or two.
Third and five: five wide, Tebow can’t find anyone, runs for it and gets the first.
Even Kestahn Moore looks good in this one: he goes left on a hand-off, breaks a tackle, makes someone miss, and moves the chains again. More Moore on that first down gets four or five, but yellow appears on the field and Florida will not like what that signifies. They’ll move ten yards back, and have a red zone possession outside of the red zone.
Demps’ efforts with a screen almost get the Gators back within the 20, but the second down pass to Percy Harvin (remember him?) gets batted down, and Florida will have to throw on third down.
Tebow runs left and has a lot of room; he gets 13 and needed a few more inches. Florida will call timeout, and with Tebow coaxing the crowd, we go to commercial before the short fourth down.
Florida’s going to go for it, and Tebow goes left, gets the first down on a spin, fumbles, and picks it up. So an eventful three-yard gain, indeed.
First and goal is a run up the middle by Brandon James, who does not get in. A holding call (indicated initially as one on Kentucky, which would have been something else on a rush from inside the 1) will back UF up to the 11.
Demps and Rainey take first and second-down duties, and together move UF to the 4. Moore gets the third-down carry, and gets a chance to score, but falls inches short.
The Gators will go for it, and, leaping, Kestahn Moore scores. The battle-tested senior gets a TD in front of the Homecoming crowd, and Tebow exults for him. It’s 56-3, and, uh, that’s a lot.
Kentucky fumbles and recovers the kickoff. Hartline’s first down throw is incomplete. At least the second-down carry goes for nine, and Hartline plunges for the new set of downs on third and short.
Florida plays the longest third quarters in the history of the world, I swear. This one started something like an hour ago and still has a minute of game time left.
Second down, short run by Cobb. Third and seven, screen pass, no movement of those orange things on the sidelines.
Masthay will punt. Florida doesn’t rush, and the punt lands in the end zone.
John Brantley comes in. Kestahn Moore stays in, carries, and fumbles, though the ruling on the field says otherwise. (The ball was out about a split-second before his knee came down, but there may not be enough evidence or a chance for that to be overturned.)
Mercifully, the third quarter is over, and the score is Florida 56, Kentucky 3.
It looks like Brantley’s going to be the quarterback for at least this series; he runs left for a few, then throws right to Moore, who gets about ten.
Brantley and Moore combine for another ten yards on two downs. And it’s going to be a bunch of short, boring runs from now until the final whistle. Right as I type the above, Brantley goes deep to David Nelson, who hangs on to the ball as a defender hangs on to him, and fights his way into the end zone. It’s 63-3 post-PAT, and I’m running out of ways to say that.
The Gators haven’t beaten an SEC team by more than 40 since some guy named Steve Spurrier was playing golf in Gainesville. Florida did it twice in 2001, dumping Vanderbilt 71-13 in 2001’s Homecoming and shutting out Mississippi State 52-0 earlier in the year.
The Wildcats have a third and one. Cobb is in at QB. Some big boy gets the first down.
First down: Florida shows blitz, a lineman flinches, and Markihe Anderson gets flagged for a neutral zone infraction. Kentucky, on first and five, sends that big boy, Moncell Adams, right up the middle, and he goes right over Lorenzo Edwards for another first down.
Edwards gets him back on that down, wrapping Adams up for no gain.
One of the Daves: “When it’s 63-3, you’ve got to find some other games.” That’s exactly the kind of attitude a broadcaster needs.
Edwards gets another tackle, nailing Cobb on a scramble, on second down, and will be credited for another after he chases Cobb out of bounds on third down.
Cobb gets the first on fourth and one, but gets hammered by Brandon Hicks. On first down, he throws high and late, and it is incomplete.
On second down, Wondy Pierre-Louis makes a blind bat, bringing his hands up as the receiver does and knocking away what could have been a touchdown. Great play from a guy who’s been somewhat shaky this year.
Third down, and the pass is complete, but short of the first down. Personal fouls offset, and Kentucky will go for it; unless the yellow line is entirely wrong, it didn’t happen.
The referee confirms it, and Florida gets the ball back at their own 6.
If this game doesn’t have enough offense for you, it’s Oklahoma 55, Kansas State 35 on whatever local access channel is showing that. That one is in the third quarter and only has seven second-half points so far.
Someone I’ve never even heard of, who doesn’t even merit a name from the Daves, who go to a Tebow montage. (It’s Vincent Brown, listed as a corner-back, and he’s rushed thrice for six yards and forced a punt.)
“Anyone who thinks Tim Tebow is not as productive as last year is crazy.” Yeah, I can’t imagine how diminished numbers in every single meaningful category would represent less production, Dave.
The snap on the punt goes through the punter’s legs, and it turns into a safety. So Florida’s special teams have scored almost as many points for Kentucky as the Wildcats’ offense has. Nice.
How uneventful is this game? We’ve got a bit of Steve Miller Band doing “The Joker” from last night’s Gator Growl.
Meanwhile, Joker Phillips’ star is subzero cool at this point.
Kentucky’s offense is starting to move down the field, but that’s probably to be expected when playing against the you-get-off-the-bench-once-a-year string.
The Wildcats are in the red zone. What this means, I don’t know, but at least they’re there, and letting the clock run. On the last play of the game, the rifled pass is incomplete.
At the end of this one, the final score is Florida 63, Kentucky 5.
A thoroughly dominant game from Florida for the second outing in a row. The Gators were never challenged in this one, blocking two punts early and going up 28-0 by the end of the first quarter, but they were the far superior team in every aspect of the game. Tim Tebow was efficient through the air and on the ground, and the R & D Department of Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps deployed the Quantum Wing to great effect. Demps, in particular, was practically untouchable up the middle and blew by defenders on a dump-off he took to the end zone while his Nikes disintegrated. (Or something like that.)
Florida’s defense stifled Kentucky in the first half and held tough with its second string in the second, stopping a full four-down red zone possession in each. The former allowed the special teams unit to block another kick, the first field goal of the game, and the latter was tenacious defending against an athletic quarterback on fourth down. (The final possession of the game also resulted in a red zone hold, but it was rushed, didn’t go four downs, and is one of those statistics that only means something on a stat sheet.) The Gators forced just one turnover and had no sacks, but their secondary covered brilliantly all day, eliminating any semblance of a deep attack Kentucky could have had, and the line-backing corps was quick to shut down the run and mitigate the scrambling ability of Patrick Cobb.
There’s really no good news for Kentucky in this, except for Cobb’s composure, though he was ineffective, in a hostile road environment. Florida fans can further be pleased by the fact that Percy Harvin, apart from one early touchdown catch, didn’t do much and, because of that, didn’t take many hits; the worry for this team is that freshman sensation Janoris Jenkins left the game early with an injury.
Florida looks better than any other SEC team right now, and few teams nationally (Texas, of course, and maybe USC and Penn State) can compare to the way these Gators are laying waste to their schedule right now. The match-up with Georgia next week will be a great one.
See you for the Hangover Cure.
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