Once again, Florida moves forward in victory against UK



By Alex Forkner | Football columnist

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When UK and Florida meet, it’s a matter of inertia.

After 27 years, 27 games and 27 final scores, nothing has changed for the Cats. Different players on the field, different coaches on the sideline — doesn’t matter. As things changed, things stayed the same.

The Cats fell to the Gators, 24-7, and The Streak celebrated another birthday.

For a few reasons — Florida’s injuries, a new starting quarterback — the game had gained some momentum as a possible upset. The parking lots outside Commonwealth buzzed with anticipation. Kickoff inched closer and the fans grew louder.

But as soon as Florida had the ball, UK head coach Mark Stoops recognized right away the difficult task ahead.

“Well, I just felt like it was uphill from the beginning,” Stoops said. “They did what I was worried about going into the game. They really controlled both lines of scrimmage the entire game. Very physical team. Right from the opening drive, they kind of set the tone of what the night was going to be like.”

The night for UK’s offense: just 173 yards, only 48 coming on the ground, 1-for-8 on third down.

The Cats couldn’t find a groove, couldn’t move the ball effectively. They were an object at rest and stayed at rest. Plays were called to upset the established order; the gasp-inducing fake field goal was successful, the head-scratching reverses and throwbacks were not.

Florida, on the other hand, was an object in motion. The Gators mounted scoring drives of 93, 79, 62 and 64 yards, and held the ball for over 38 minutes. Quarterback Tyler Murphy threw for 158 yards and a touchdown on 15-of-18 passing. Running back Matt Jones churned his way to 176 yards — more than UK’s total offense — on 28 carries.

The losing streak to Florida is the starkest example of UK’s struggles as a program, the longest scar on a battle worn body of work. Expect the Cats to gather a few more bumps and bruises this year, but Stoops isn’t discouraged.

“We know where we’re at as a program,” Stoops said. “But we’re going to keep on banging. We’re going to keep on working. We’re going to keep on preparing to win.  One of these days when we make enough plays to win, we’ll win.”

Stoops was brought in to build a successful football program, to get UK out of its perennial rut. And if he manages to do so, to make losing streaks like the one to Florida a thing of the past, it will be no small feat.

He will have defied physics.