Kentucky, which has not won at "The Swamp" since 1979, stunned the crowd by pushing the Gators to overtime and taking a 27-20 lead on the first play of the extra period. Freshman running back Stanley "Boom" Williams took a short pass in the flat, reversed field from one sideline to the other, and slipped into the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown to give the Wildcats the lead.
On Florida's first possession in overtime, the Gators faced a fourth-and-7 play from the the 10-yard line with the game hanging in the balance. Replays showed the play clock expired before the Gators snapped the ball, but a flag was not thrown as Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson which sent the game to double-overtime.
The Cats and Gators traded field goals in the second overtime.
In the third overtime, Kentucky's Austin MacGinnis, who had tied the game with a 51-yard field goal with 3:52 remaining in regulation, missed from 42 yards. The Gators handed the ball to tailback Matt Jones four consecutive times, who plunged in from the 1-yard line for the game-winning score.
Florida (2-0, 1-0 SEC) got 156 yards rushing from the bruising Jones and a dominating 15-catch, 216-yard night from receiver Demarcus Robinson, who scored two touchdowns.
Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC) got 369 yards passing and three touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles in a game where the final stats belied the way it unfolded. The Cats and Gators were tied at 3 at halftime, marking the third consecutive game this season UK has held an opponent without a touchdown in the first half, before exploding for a combined 31 points in the third quarter.
Freshman wide receiver Garrett Johnson, one of 16 Florida natives on the UK roster, scored on touchdown receptions of 60 and 33 yards in the exciting third period. He finished with six catches for 154 yards and two scores.
It was almost enough to erase almost three decades of frustration in Big Blue Nation.
"We're not in the business of any kind of moral victory or anything like that, UK head coach Mark Stoops said, "but I felt like our players really grew up tonight.
"They left it all on the field. There's things we could all do better, that we will do better."
The Cats have an open date next week before returning to action Sept. 27 at Commonwealth Stadium against Vanderbilt. UK will be seeking to end its 17-game SEC losing streak and Stoops' first league win.