UK grinds it out vs. Gators to provide Stoops report

UK grinds it out vs. Gators to provide Stoops report

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A lot of the hype surrounding Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson was dashed, or no less than diminished, within the Swamp on Saturday evening.

No. 20 Kentucky intercepted Richardson twice, together with one Keidron Smith returned 65 yards for a landing, and the Wildcats toppled the Twelfth-ranked Gators 26-16 to notch consecutive wins within the sequence for the primary time in 45 years.

Richardson was off all sport, a stark distinction from final week’s three-touchdown, turnover-free efficiency in opposition to then-No. 7 Utah. He had two throws on this one which have been full head-scratchers, and the Wildcats (2-0, 1-0 Southeastern Convention) made him pay dearly.

“I really feel like I let everyone down, particularly the protection, as a result of I appeared everyone on the protection within the eye and I informed them I obtained them and I used to be going to place up factors for them,” Richardson mentioned. “Clearly I did not.”

Linebacker Jordan Wright, cleared to play Thursday after sitting out the opener, made a one-handed catch on Richardson’s move to the flat late within the second quarter. Kentucky quarterback Will Levis scored three performs later.

Richardson’s second choose was extra egregious. He misinterpret a defensive alignment and threw a move to the large facet of the sector that Smith simply picked off. Smith returned it down the sideline and needed to juke solely Richardson to make it to the top zone.

“I feel generally the quarterback place, you get that highlight placed on you,” Florida coach Billy Napier mentioned. “Actuality is there’s issues round you that may be executed that can contribute to quarterback play.”

Richardson’s interceptions have been amongst three large performs that propelled Kentucky to back-to-back wins over Florida (1-1, 0-1) for the primary time since 1976-77.

Levis related with Dane Key for a 55-yard rating within the first half, an ideal throw that confirmed why Levis is projected to be a first-round draft choose in 2023.

“You have to be a troublesome son of a b to come back into this place and win,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops mentioned, taking a shot at an SEC Community analyst who known as his workforce tender earlier this week. “That is what we confirmed. We might win or lose, however we’re powerful.”

Twenty-two scouts from 15 NFL groups have been available for the sport. Most of them most likely have been there to see Richardson. None of them might have been impressed with what the third-year sophomore did in his third profession begin.

The Gainesville native accomplished 14 of 35 passes for 143 yards. He additionally ran six occasions for 4 yards. Kentucky stacked the road of scrimmage and compelled Richardson to be a pocket passer, clearly understanding that the Gators have few difference-makers outdoors of their quarterback who appeared like a budding star seven days earlier.

Levis was significantly higher. He accomplished 13 of 24 passes for 202 yards, with a landing and an interception. The choose was a nice play by Florida defenders Brenton Cox and Gervon Dexter. Cox pressured Levis and deflected the move, and Dexter made a diving catch.

Nevertheless it was Kentucky’s protection that stole the present.

“Defensively, what extra can I say?” Stoops mentioned.

THE TAKEAWAY

Kentucky: The Wildcats are removed from tender. SEC Community analyst Roman Harper known as the Cats “a bit bit softer” than Florida on the Paul Finebaum Present earlier this week, and Kentucky gamers used it as motivation. Kentucky dominated the second half, outscoring the Gators 13-0.

Florida: The Gators spent the final week getting patted and will have been ripe for a letdown. Regardless, the Wildcats uncovered weaknesses and confirmed Florida nonetheless has a protracted methods to go to catch up within the SEC East.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Kentucky ought to leapfrog Florida within the subsequent AP faculty soccer ballot.

“Heck, we should bounce into the highest 10 now,” Stoops quipped.

MILESTONE VICTORY

The victory moved Stoops previous Paul “Bear” Bryant for essentially the most wins (61) in Kentucky’s soccer historical past.

“I am glad it is right here,” Stoops mentioned. “You prefer to be residence with household and pals, however we’ll have time for that. We wanted this win. Simply to get this chance. I have been given unimaginable assist. It has been a gaggle effort.”

KEY INJURIES

Kentucky free security Jalen Geiger was carted off the sector within the second quarter with what seemed to be a severe leg harm.Workforce trainers positioned an air forged on his left leg earlier than serving to him onto the cart.

Florida linebacker Ventrell Miller, one of many workforce’s high tacklers, left the sport with a decrease leg harm. Proper deal with Michael Tarquin injured his proper ankle and limped to the sideline.

UP NEXT

Kentucky: Hosts Youngstown State of the Soccer Championship Subdivision subsequent Saturday.

Florida: Hosts South Florida subsequent Saturday. The Gators are 2-0 within the in-state sequence.

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