UF/UK: Odds and Ends

On a defense looking for playmakers, it seems sophomore defensive end Jermaine Cunningham has emerged. He had three sacks to follow up a 17 tackle effort against LSU.

His 12-yard sack of Kentucky quarterback Andre' Woodson on Kentucky's second possession pushed the Wildcats far enough back that their kicker Lones Seiber missed a 48-yard field goal try on the next play. He delivered back-to-back sacks midway through the fourth quarter, forcing Kentucky to punt. Overall, Florida notched six sacks of Woodson for the second year in a row.

UNSUNG HERO

Another UF player who may have learned and grown from previous struggles is freshman punter Chas Henry. With 6:34 remaining in the game and Florida stuck at their own 12 after a three-and-out, Henry delivered a 50-yard boot to force the Wildcats to work the ball down the field and use half the time remaining on what turned out to be an 11 play touchdown drive.

Just two games ago, Henry shanked a 25-yarder in a similar pressure situation against Auburn and set them up with good field position for what proved to be the winning score. The Wildcats did return two punts in the game for fourteen yards, the first punt returns for anyone against Florida this year.

SIXTY MINUTES OF SCORING

This may have been the Gator offense's most consistent effort of the season despite a higher point total in some games. Florida scored in every quarter for the first time since the Tennessee game and didn't have back-to-back possessions without a score at any point in the game.

CURIOUS KICKOFF CHOICES

After a touchdown drive to close within 28-17 with 8:09 remaining in the third quarter, Kentucky coach Rich Brooks attempted to catch Florida off guard with an onside kick and nearly succeeded.

A.J. Nance touched the ball prior to it traveling 10 yards, setting the Gators up with great starting field position at the Kentucky 39 and leading to a Joey Iijas field goal. Surprisingly, with 3:28 remaining and two timeouts, Brooks opted to kick deep rather than chance it giving the Gators a short field. Florida's Brandon James made the decision look even worse by returning the kick to Florida's 43.

CLOCK MANAGEMENT ISSUES CONTINUE

It's not often that a team can be criticized for scoring, but Florida's coaching staff made an error by calling for a Tim Tebow run up the middle to make the score 45-31 with 1:33 remaining. The play came on a first-and-goal situation with the Wildcats having just one timeout remaining.

By taking a knee, Florida could have run out the game clock rather than ever give Kentucky the ball back. The chances of UK scoring, converting an onside kick and scoring again with no timeouts were slim, but there was no reason to allow even that small chance. It didn't cost the Gators this time, but this remains a consistent issue with Urban Meyer's staff in late game situations.

DEUCES WILD

The SEC East is officially anybody's to win at the halfway point, as three teams picked up their second conference defeat. Florida took care of Kentucky themselves and picked up help from Alabama, who throttled Tennessee 41-17 despite playing without three suspended starters.

The real shocker came from Columbia, where former Gators coach Steve Spurrier suffered his first ever loss to Vanderbilt 17-6. Every Eastern division squad but Vanderbilt has two losses - the Commodores have three. Only Florida and South Carolina are in complete control of their own destiny at this point.


Fightin Gators Top Stories