Top five games where UK nearly beat Florida


Patrick Towles. The University of Kentucky football team lost a heartbreaker to Florida 36-30 in triple overtime on Saturday, September 13, 2014, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Anyone who follows college football, especially SEC football, likely knows about Florida’s 30-game win streak over Kentucky.

However, not all of Florida’s 30 victories have been blowouts, as the Cats have had many opportunities in the past to end the losing streak.

Here are the five games where UK was close to beating Florida and ending the losing streak, but couldn’t finish the job.

No. 5, Oct. 20, 2007

Just one week after knocking off No. 1 LSU in three overtimes, the Cats were hoping to have another big game and end the 20-game losing streak to the Gators. However, UK couldn’t replicate magic for the second week in a row and fell to Florida 45-37.

Quarterback Andre Woodson gave UK a chance by throwing for 414 yards and four touchdowns, but his opponent Tim Tebow threw a career high four touchdowns himself, and rushed for another touchdown.

The Cats only trailed by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but Florida got the ball back and Tebow ran for the game-sealing touchdown with 1:33 remaining.

No. 4: Nov. 12, 1988

In 1988, the Cats didn’t know that this rivalry with Florida would result in 30 straight losses, but they could’ve prevented the losing streak if it weren’t for a defensive collapse.

With three minutes left in the third quarter, the Cats led 6-0, but Florida went on to score 24 points in 15 minutes to take an 18-point lead. UK generated a comeback themselves by scoring two touchdowns in forty seconds, coming within five points of Florida’s lead, but a failed onside kick attempt shutdown the Cats’ chances of completing the comeback.

No. 3: Sept. 27, 2003

Heading into the final quarter of this 2003 matchup, the Cats were beating the Gators 21-3 and feeling confident that the 16 game losing streak to Florida would end.

However, freshman quarterback Chris Leak led the Gators on a comeback that chomped the lead down to five with 4:54 remaining. On the next drive, quarterback Jared Lorenzen threw an interception to Johnny Lamar, who returned it to UK’s one-yard line.

Two plays later, the Gators would score a touchdown, and convert a two-point conversion to take a three-point lead. UK had a chance to tie it with 44 seconds remaining, but a 49-yard field goal was missed by Taylor Begley and the Gators went on to win.

No. 2: Sept. 11, 1993

After UK defensive back Willie Cannon caught UK’s seventh interception of the game, Juha Leonoff kicked a 25-yard field goal to give the Cats a three point lead with 1:23 remaining.

However, Florida got the ball back with just enough time to score, and that’s exactly what they did.

With three seconds remaining, Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel found Chris Doering wide open for a 28-yard touchdown to give Florida the four-point victory.

Wuerffel threw three of Florida’s interceptions, but his biggest pass of the game was the one that gave Florida their sixth consecutive victory over the Cats.

No. 1: Sept. 13, 2014

Arguably the closest UK came to beating Florida came in 2014, when it took three overtimes for Florida to win the football game.

Austin MacGinnis tied the game and forced overtime when his 51-yard field goal sailed through the uprights with 3:52 remaining in the fourth quarter.

In the first play of overtime, Stanley “Boom” Williams took a handoff 25 yards to the end zone to put the Cats up 27-20. This was Kentucky’s first lead since 0:25 was left in the third quarter, and many fans felt like the losing streak to Florida might come to an end.

However, on Florida’s next possession, Kentucky was just one play away from winning the game when Jeff Driskel completed a touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson on a 4th and 7.

The play obviously devastated UK fans, but what made the play hurt more was the controversy surrounding it. Driskel appeared to snap the ball after the play clock struck zero, but no penalty was called. The SEC reviewed the play after the game and determined the right call was made.

The game eventually made it to the third overtime, where MacGinnis missed a 41-yard field goal and Florida running back Matt Jones scored the game-winning touchdown on the Gators’ drive.

This was the closest the Cats have come to beating Florida during the 30-year losing streak and it was a great game for the Cats, but fans will only remember the controversial call and how UK just couldn’t get the job done.

The Cats will have a chance to put the losing streak behind them, and start a more-positive streak when the Gators come to Kroger Field on Sept. 23.