GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With starting quarterback Maxwell Smith sidelined by a shoulder injury, Kentucky had little chance Saturday against No. 14 Florida, falling 38-0 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The Gators intercepted Kentucky's Morgan Newton three times in the first half en route to a 24-0 halftime lead and were never threatened by a one-dimensional UK offense. The Wildcats entered the game No. 1 in the SEC in passing yards per game at 322, but saw an opportunistic Florida defense record more yardage on interception returns (65) than they managed through the air (60).
Florida (4-0, 3-0 SEC) extended its winning streak over the Wildcats to 26. Jeff Driskel passed for 203 yards and one touchdown for the Gators. He also rushed for a score. Florida gained 200 yards on the ground, including 56 yards and a TD from SEC rushing leader Mike Gillislee.
Kentucky (1-3, 0-1 SEC) rushed for 159 yards, but was plagued by three turnovers and two missed field goals. The Cats dropped to 1-12 under Joker Phillips when losing the turnover battle.
It was a surprisingly close game in the early stages. Florida, which had outscored UK 94-3 in the first quarter of the previous four matchups, led only 3-0 going into the second period.
After UK kicker Craig McIntosh missed a 54-yard field goal attempt to start the second quarter, the Gators drove 63 yards in 10 plays to take a 10-0 lead on Gillislee's 1-yard touchdown run.
Newton's second interception of the game (and his second in three pass attempts) was returned 26 yards by Florida's Jaylen Watkins to make it 17-0.
Driskel found Quinton Dunbar on a 19-yard touchdown pass just before the half to make it 24-0.
The Gators added a 15-play, 72-yard drive capped by a Driskel 1-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter and tacked on a 1-yard fourth quarter touchdown run by running back Jacoby Brissett.
Kentucky managed only 50 yards of total offense in the second half.
* Florida leads the series 46-17, including 26-4 in Gainesville.
* Kentucky was shut out for the first time since Oct. 14, 2006, in a 49-0 loss at LSU.
* The Cats have not scored an offensive touchdown in the first quarter for 17 consecutive games.
* The UK offensive line did not allow a sack, while the Wildcats recorded three sacks on defense.
* UK freshman tailback Dyshawn Mobley rushed four times for a career-high 22 yards.
* UK sophomore linebacker/end Alvin "Bud" Dupree recorded eight tackles and a sack. He has made at least one "big play" (sack, tackle for loss, forced fumble, fumble recovery) in eight consecutive games.
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