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Kentucky BEATS Florida in Lexington: 6 things to know and postgame cheers

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VICTORY, KENTUCKY!

Syndication: The Courier-Journal Matt Stone/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Kentucky Wildcats knocked off the Florida Gators Saturday night by a score of 20-13!

It was a defensive battle as both offensives got off to a slow start, which led to a halftime score of 10-7 in the Gators’ favor. Need I remind you, this was the same score at half as the Cats’ 2018 victory in Gainesville.

After the break, Kentucky blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown to take a 13-10 lead after the extra point was blocked. After a Florida field goal, the Cats stood strong to hold off the Gators.

What a win! 5-0, baby! Cats beat the Gators at home for the first time since 1986!

Next up, the Cats face the LSU Tigers during Keeneland’s sold-out opening weekend.

Blue got in...and white

The Big Blue Nation was rocking tonight in Lexington. This was one of the loudest crowds I’ve EVER heard at Kroger Field, and they gave the Cats a huge boost tonight. Take a look for yourself.

Will Levis said the other day that UK’s crowd, while solid against Mizzou, was disappointing on first and second downs, but that wasn’t the case tonight. Florida committed five (!) false starts on third down and one on a big fourth and two with six minutes remaining in the game. That’s huge.

The Blue and White came out wild in Lexington and ready to play a big factor in the game. They did just that, and they helped win this game!!

McCall injured

Marquan “Bully” McCall was hurt early in the first quarter of tonight’s game and wasn’t able to return. Kentucky’s defense was solid throughout, but they missed the big man’s penetration and presence on the defensive line.

Contrary to popular belief, it was not former five-star defensive tackle Justin Rogers who filled in for Bully, it was former blue-chipper Josiah Hayes. Hayes has made his presence known this season in limited opportunities.

While Rogers is the bigger name, Hayes is the guy to keep an eye on. If McCall is forced to miss any significant time, Hayes will be the one stepping in and taking over the nose tackle position.

Paschal dominates

Josh Paschal may be Kentucky’s most well-known player on the defense, and he made that status known tonight. There were questions about Paschal’s ability after he was diagnosed with skin cancer and missed an entire season, but the talent was never the issue.

Paschal has been a leader on the defense, and he absolutely dominated tonight. He was everywhere getting tackles-for-loss and disrupting the Florida offense. He also blocked a field goal, which resulted in six as true freshman Trevin Wallace ran the ball back for a 76-yard touchdown—UK’s first blocked field goal for a touchdown since 2008.

Paschal is the not only the heart and soul of this defense—he’s the heart and soul of this entire team.

Wan’Dale Robinson...need I say more?

On Monday, the media asked Gator head coach Dan Mullen about Wan’dale Robinson. His response: “What number is he?” Mullen might not have known his name before tonight (which is inexplicable), but he does now.

The Cats’ first scoring play of the night was a 41-yard screen pass to Robinson. He broke multiple tackles and sped his way through the Florida defense for the score.

The All-SEC wideout was absolutely electric all night.

Weaver continues to ball

JJ Weaver came into this season with his fair share of questions after he tore his ACL against...the Gators last season. But that hasn’t slowed him down.

The six-fingered mini Josh Allen had four sacks coming into tonight, which was UK’s only semblance of a pass rush. While he didn’t record a sack, he did drop back into coverage on a 2nd and long to record a big interception in the fourth quarter.

Paschal is the all-star talented leader of this defense, but there might be no one on Kentucky’s team with the intangibles that Weaver has. He’s been unbelievable thus far.

The workhorse shows out again

Chris Rodriguez is possibly Kentucky’s most important player and he showed why tonight. C-Rod ran for close to 100 yards again, including a touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

When the offense is stalling, or Levis fails to hit Wan’Dale or Josh Ali on a deep ball, UK can feed the ball to Rodriguez without hesitation and get the job done.

Kentucky wins! 5-0! Let’s party like it’s 1986!!!