GAMEDAY College Football

Kentucky 26, Florida 16

By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 20 Kentucky intercepted Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson twice, including one Keidron Smith returned 65 yards for a touchdown, and the Wildcats toppled 12th-ranked Florida 26-16 in the Swamp to notch consecutive wins in the series for the first time in 45 years.

Richardson was off all night, a stark contrast from last week's three-touchdown, turnover-free performance against then-No. 7 Utah. He had two throws in this one that were complete head-scratchers, and the Wildcats (2-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) made him pay dearly.

Linebacker Jordan Wright, cleared to play Thursday after sitting out the opener, made a one-handed catch on Richardson's pass to the flat late in the second quarter. Will Levis scored three plays later.

Richardson's second pick was more egregious. He seemingly misread a defensive alignment and threw a pass to the wide side of the field that Smith easily picked off. Smith returned it down the sideline and had to juke only Richardson to make it to the end zone.

It was the third of three big plays that gave Kentucky back-to-back wins over Florida (1-1, 0-1) for the first time since 1976-77.

Levis connected with Dane Key for a 55-yard score in the first half, a throw that showed why Levis is projected to be a first-round draft pick in 2023.

Twenty-two scouts from 15 NFL teams were on hand for the game. Most of them probably were there to see Richardson. None of them could have been impressed with what the third-year sophomore did in his third career start.

The Gainesville native completed 14 of 35 passes for 143 yards. He also ran six times for 4 yards. Kentucky stacked the line of scrimmage and forced Richardson to be a pocket passer, clearly understanding that the Gators have few difference-makers outside of their quarterback who looked like a budding star seven days earlier.

Levis was considerably better. He completed 13 of 24 passes for 202 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. The pick was a great play by Florida defenders Brenton Cox and Gervon Dexter. Cox pressured Levis and deflected the pass, and Dexter made a diving catch.

THE TAKEAWAY

Kentucky: The Wildcats are far from soft. SEC Network analyst Roman Harper called the Cats "a little bit softer" than Florida on the Paul Finebaum Show earlier this week, and Kentucky players vowed to use it as motivation. Kentucky was dominant in the second half, outscoring the Gators 13-0 after intermission.

Florida: The Gators spent the last week getting patted on the back after beating Utah and may have been ripe for a letdown. Regardless, the Wildcats exposed weaknesses and showed Florida still has a long ways to go under first-year coach Billy Napier if it wants to catch up in the SEC East.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

With No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 8 Notre Dame losing at home earlier Saturday, Florida had a chance to move into the top 10 in the next AP college football poll. Instead, the Gators are sure to fall behind Kentucky.

MILESTONE VICTORY

The victory moved coach Mark Stoops past Paul "Bear" Bryant for the most wins (61) in Kentucky's football history.

KEY INJURIES

Kentucky free safety Jalen Geiger was carted off the field in the second quarter with what appeared to be a serious leg injury. Team trainers placed an air cast on his left leg before helping him onto the cart and driving him off the field.

Florida right tackle Michael Tarquin injured his right ankle in the second and limped to the sideline. Austin Barber replaced him.


Scoring Summary
First Quarter KtyFla
Fla FG 10:03 Adam Mihalek 39 yd FG 0 3
Second Quarter KtyFla
Kty TD 11:36 Dane Key 55 yd pass from Will Levis (Matt Ruffolo kick) 7 3
Fla FG 10:01 Adam Mihalek 50 yd FG 7 6
Fla TD 5:49 Trevor Etienne 11 yd run (Trevor Etienne 2pt pass from Anthony Richardson) 7 14
Fla SF 4:12 Team safety 7 16
Kty TD 1:25 Will Levis 1 yd run (failed 2pt pass) 13 16
Third Quarter KtyFla
Kty FG 6:35 Matt Ruffolo 24 yd FG 16 16
Kty TD 3:25 Keidron Smith 65 yd interception return (Matt Ruffolo kick) 23 16
Fourth Quarter KtyFla
Kty FG 1:24 Matt Ruffolo 26 yd FG 26 16
Team Stats
  Kentucky Florida
First downs 17 12
  Rushing 6 5
  Passing 10 7
  Penalty 1 0
3rd Down Efficiency 4-13, 31% 4-16, 25%
4th down efficiency 0-1, 0% 1-3, 33%
Rushes-Yards 38-70 30-136
Passing Yards 202 143
Return Yards 91 71
Completions-Attempts-Int 13-24-1 14-35-2
Sacks-Yards Lost 3--18 1--8
Punts 5 5
Punts-Average 38.8 47.4
Fumbles Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties - Yards 2-10 3-28
Time of Possession 33:24 26:36
Kentucky Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
W. Levis 13 24 202 1 1
Florida Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
A. Richardson 14 35 143 0 2
Kentucky Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
K. Smoke 14 80 5.7 0
L. Wright 11 27 2.5 0
T. Robinson 4 11 2.8 0
B. Brown 1 3 3.0 0
W. Levis 7 -12 -1.7 1
Florida Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
M. Johnson Jr. 7 62 8.9 0
T. Etienne 9 46 5.1 1
N. Wright 8 24 3.0 0
A. Richardson 6 4 0.7 0
Kentucky Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
D. Key 3 83 27.7 1
C. Magwood 2 47 23.5 0
K. Upshaw 2 34 17.0 0
J. Dingle 2 29 14.5 0
B. Bates 1 11 11.0 0
T. Robinson 1 0 0.0
0
L. Wright 1 0 0.0
0
B. Brown 1 -2 -2.0 0
Florida Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
X. Henderson 6 50 8.3 0
R. Pearsall 2 39 19.5 0
J. Shorter 2 26 13.0 0
K. Zipperer 2 21 10.5 0
D. Zanders 1 4 4.0 0
M. Johnson Jr. 1 3 3.0 0
Kentucky Interceptions
Player Int Yards
K. Smith 1 65
J. Wright 1 18
Florida Interceptions
Player Int Yards
G. Dexter Sr. 1 0
Kentucky Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
C. Goodfellow 5 194 38.8
Florida Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Crawshaw 5 237 47.4
Kentucky Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
T. Robinson 2 8 4.0
Florida Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
X. Henderson 2 1 0.5
Kentucky Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Florida Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
T. Etienne 2 30 15.0
J. Weston 1 22 22.0
X. Henderson 1 18 18.0
Kentucky Missed FG
Player Length
M. Ruffolo 38
Florida Missed FG
Player Length




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