The Kentucky Wildcats simply dominated the Florida Gators on Saturday, taking the win 33-14. There’s really no other way to describe it.
And not to disrespect the previous decade of Mark Stoops teams, but it’s difficult to recall a time Kentucky flat-out dominated a ranked opponent like they did today. Florida couldn’t run the ball, they couldn’t convert on third down, they couldn’t stop Kentucky from running the ball, and they were not good at all when it came down to situational football.
Kentucky moves to 5-0 on the year, while Florida drops to 3-2. This is the first time since 1951 when Bear Bryant roamed the sidelines that Kentucky was able to win three straight over the Gators.
Safe to say Mark Stoops now has the Gators’ number after ending that dreaded losing skid in 2018.
Here are four things to know about Kentucky’s dominating win over Florida.
Ray Davis Carries the Offense
Have a day, Ray Davis. Kentucky scored four touchdowns, and Davis had all four. Kentucky had 329 yards on the ground, and Davis had 280 of them. He was everything for Kentucky.
With his 206 yards in the first half, Davis became the eighth Kentucky player to ever rush for at least 200 yards against Florida.
There have been great running backs during the Mark Stoops era — just think of Benny Snell or Chris Rodriguez. But through five games this season, Davis has been just as good as those guys, if not better for Kentucky. He’s been the pulse of the offense.
While Davis has been exceptional on the ground, he’s also caught 11 passes for 146 yards and two scores, and teams don’t seems to have an answer for him.
Alex Raynor is Money
It’s safe to say Alex Raynor will go down as one of the best kickers of the Mark Stoops era. He continued his standout season with another big outing that saw him nail a 50-yard field goal in the closing minutes to ensure the Gators had no hope of coming back.
Raynor also kicked a short field goal to open the game. While he did have a PAT blocked, it was still another type of performance that should give Mark Stoops and the staff confidence that Raynor can make big kicks for the Wildcats, even in the 50-55 range.
Mark Stoops Continues to Close the Gap
During ESPN’s broadcast of Saturday’s game, they brought up how Stoops had been reminded of “the streak” against Florida. But Stoops has won their last three meetings and four of the last six. Stoops, the second-longest tenured coach in the Southeastern Conference behind Nick Saban, continues to lead his team to wins in games Wildcats fans weren’t used to winning. When considering excellence in recruiting and being a leader of men, there’s a conversation to be had that Stoops is one of the best coaches in the country.
Kentucky Passing Game Has to Improve
Liam Coen’s return to Kentucky sparked a lot of optimism for the Kentucky offense. But if you take out Ray Davis, the Wildcats haven’t been very good at moving the football. In fact, they’ve been rather poor.
Quarterback Devin Leary has made some head-scratching throws, and his receivers have dropped some easy balls. Kentucky hasn’t looked for the deep ball much, either, which further shrinks their ceiling. If the Wildcats want to put together some impressive wins on the back half of their schedule, the passing attack has to be better.
Still, for this unit to struggle and Kentucky ‘still’ dominate a top-25 team says something.
Double-Digit Wins Now Possible
Not to get ahead of ourselves, but could Kentucky get to 10 wins this season? With Alabama and Georgia still to go, as well as matchups against Missouri and Tennessee, it won’t be an easy task. But that doesn’t mean that it’s out of reach. Ray Davis has been unstoppable, Kentucky’s defense is humming, and their passing game can only improve.
Kentucky will travel to Athens next Saturday for a road matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs.
Now, time to celebrate!