To Big Blue Nation, I feel you.
I wanted this win more than anything. I have sat through 20 years of Florida losses, and I was desperately hoping that I would witness the first win, in person, since 1986. As I sat there in section 210 along with the rowdiest of Kentucky fans, the night was special.
And then it wasn’t.
This is the second most painful loss I have experienced as a Kentucky fan, along with Wisconsin in 2015. This loss can be attributed to lack of discipline, disorganization, and playing not to lose. When Kentucky took a 27-14 lead, everything just felt right. You were nervous, but you knew something was right. A two score lead with around seven minutes left against Florida is unheard of for Kentucky. And then you just feared that the old Kentucky would rear its ugly head. And it did. Kentucky allowed two touchdowns to the Gators within that span and took the air out of the stadium. They played to kill the clock and run off as much time as possible without scoring. But then the life of the stadium came back. It came back for this one, final drive, with a chance to completely wash away the 30-year streak. Kentucky marched down the field, converted a fourth down, and then broke a 15-yard run to get MacGinnis in greatposition. And then the penalty. That holding penalty will haunt me for the rest of my life, along with the play clock non-call. The penalty set Kentucky back to the 45-yard line. Eventually, Kentucky would get to the 40. We’ve relied on MacGinnis before, but the 55+ yard field goal was too much for him, and the hearts of Kentucky fans worldwide were broken again.
To Big Blue Nation, we’ve suffered a very long time with losing to Florida, but the fans came out and brought it, unlike any Kentucky crowd I have ever seen. 61,000 packed in there to watch the Cats pull off the game of the century for us fans. We did our part, the players did our part, the coaches did their part, but the ball didn’t bounce our way, and we’re used to that.
I understand that you’re sad, I am as well, and you may feel like your excitement is just sucked out, and I’m with you. But we should still support this team and how far they have come since Stoops took over. This was the year to do it, but unfortunately, it was not meant to be. We should all still support this team next week when Eastern Michigan comes to town. Let’s focus on getting to 4-1 and continuing to march toward another bowl.
I know we’re all sad. It’s tough to hold back tears because we were so close that we could taste it. But this program is a changed program, and teams are on notice that Kentucky is no slouch. One day Kentucky will beat Florida, and one day, Kentucky fans will celebrate like they so rightfully deserve to.