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Cats drain the swamp, end 31-game losing streak to No. 25 Gators

Kentucky running back Benny Snell rushed for 175 yards in Kentucky’s 27-16 win over Florida Saturday night in Gainesville, ending a 31-game losing streak to the Gators. (UK Athletics Photo)

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

Kentucky drained the swamp and ended 31 years of misery to Florida in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams Saturday night in Gainesville.

The Wildcats (2-0) snapped a 31-game losing streak to the Gators with a 27-16 victory for their first win over Florida since 1986 and a first in Gainesville since 1979.

“It’s hard to describe and it’s been a long time coming,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said on the SEC Network. “ I cannot be more happy for our players and our fans, they’ve waited a long, long time for this one.”

The Wildcats trailed 10-7 at the break, but then outscored the hosts 20-6 in the second half and put the exclamation point on the stunning win with a fumble recovery for a touchdown as time expired.

Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another to pace the Wildcats’ offensive attack. Wilson threw for 151 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown strike to Lynn Bowden and a 29-yard scoring pass to David Bouvier. Wilson added 105 yards rushing.

Wilson was flawless in the second half committing a fumble and throwing an interception in the opening half. Instead of making a switch at the break, Stoops stuck with Wilson in the second half and it paid dividends for the Wildcats.

Wilson, a junior college transfers, said ending the streak was a priority and didn’t hang his head following two miscues in the first two quarters.

“You just play the next play and put the last play behind you,” he said. “The streak wasn’t a big deal to me, We just wanted to get the win.”

Benny Snell provided a bulk of the rushing yards for Kentucky, which outgunned the Gators 454-360, including 303 on the ground. Snell collected a game-high 175 yards rushing including a 44-yarder in the second half.

Like Stoops, Snell was glad the streak came to a halt. In a tweeted “History! BBN That win was for ya’ll.”

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Snell said. “My brothers fought.”

Bowden hauled in four catches for 79 yards in his first significant contribution of the season.

Although the performance was enough to fend off the Gators Stoops wasn’t happy with his team’s 12 penalties that resulted in a loss of 114 yards. Most of those mark-offs came in the first half.

Next game: Murray State at Kentucky, noon, Saturday. TV/Radio: SEC Network, UK Radio Network.

Keith Taylor is a senior sports writer for KyForward, where he primarily covers University of Kentucky sports. Reach him at keith.taylor@kyforward.com or @keithtaylor21 on Twitter

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