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The Morning After: Recapping Kentucky’s Historic Win Over Florida



UK Athletics

On Saturday, the No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats went down to Gainesville to face off against the No. 12 Florida Gators. It was just the second time in history (1952) that Kentucky and Florida were both ranked in the AP Top 25 heading into a matchup.

To start, the game was a defensive battle, but shortly after the start of the second quarter Will Levis connected with Dane Key for a beautiful 55-yard touchdown for the first of the game and put Kentucky up 7-3.

However, momentum swung mightily in the favor of Florida. The Gators converted on a 50-yard field goal; capitalized on a Kentucky interception, caused by the lack of pass protection; converted a two-point play; and blocked a punt for a safety.


Kentucky did receive some life right before half as Jordan Wright intercepted a pass from Florida’s Anthony Richardson, putting Will Levis in a 1st and goal position. Levis was able to score with a QB draw cutting the deficit to 13-16, but the Wildcats could not convert on the PAT after a bad snap.

Coming out of the half, it was all Kentucky, notably on the defensive end. Kentucky didn’t allow Florida to score at all in the second half, as Kentucky went on to kick a field goal and score a touchdown.

In a game full of emotional swings, Kentucky left the Swamp with a 26-16 victory.

For the first time in over 40 years, Kentucky won their second in a row against the Gators, and Mark Stoops passed Paul “Bear” Bryant in all-time wins at Kentucky.


Let’s take a closer look at the historical win.

Time to start worrying about the offensive line

It was clear to see that the offensive line did not perform well against Miami (OH). However, Mark Stoops insisted that the offensive line performed better than originally thought when looking at the film and there were some adjustments that could be made to solve the issues.

That was not the case.

Despite performing well when he had time in the pocket, Will Levis wasn’t given that luxury very often, being under pressure more than not. In addition, Kentucky rushed for just a total of TWO yards, and the offensive line allowed three sacks in the first half alone. This was worsened at times when tight ends had to be used as receiving targets instead of blockers.


It does need to be noted that the offensive line did step up in the second half, but it needs to be consistently seen in the next two games, as Kentucky faces inferior opponents.

Seeing how the offensive line has performed thus far, it looks like the offensive could be a weakness for the remainder of the season and a group that the staff will begin to recruit immediately.

Will Levis is on a different level than Anthony Richardson

Billed as the battle of the quarterbacks, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson was the head-to-head matchup that everyone wanted to see.

In the end, it was clear that Levis was simply on a different level than Richardson. I will just leave this comparison here.


Will Levis: 13-24, 202 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 1 rush TD, 1 interception.

Anthony Richardson: 14-35, 143 passing yards, 4 rushing yards, 2 interceptions.

This is going to be a passing team

While they struggled running ball for much of the game, Kentucky found success in the passing game early as Levis threw for a total of 202 yards. Even more impressive, Kentucky had eight different players with a reception, showing the versatility they have in the passing game.

Without Chris Rodriguez, one should expect this to continue, but Kentucky’s success in the passing game should help setup the running game develop.


On Saturday night, Kentucky’s passing attack allowed for the rushing to find some life in the second half, with Kaviosey Smoke leading the way. It was much needed when you see that the Wildcats had just 70 rushing yards – fighting back from negative 37 yards in the first half.

Tight ends emerging as major receiving targets

The wide receivers shined bright last week, but this week it was the tight ends. Three different tight ends caught a pass – Jordan Dingle (2), Brenden Bates (2), and Keaton Upshaw (1) – for a total of 74 yards.

This was expected when Rich Scangarello – who comes from a 49ers offense that is heavily reliant on multiple tight-end personnel – was hired. With the talent at the position, it is good to see them becoming a large part of the offense.

The defense was phenomonal

Without the defense, the game would could have very well gotten out of hand in the first half. However, the defense was able to step up as they have time and time again and made some big time plays.


As Florida jumped out to a 16-7 lead with all momentum, things looked bleak, but that was when the Wildcat defense changed the game. Here is what Brad White’s defense accomplished in the final 35 minutes.

  • Zero points allowed
  • 91 total yards
  • Seven points scored (on a Kentucky pick-six)
  • Two takeaways
  • Two fourth down stops

It all started with Jordan Wright – just cleared to play on Thursday – when he made an impressive interception that led to a touchdown to cut the Florida lead to 13-16 right before halftime.

In the second half, Keidron Smith made the play that gave Kentucky the lead and the Wildcats never looked back.

It is not an exaggeration, without the great play of the defense, Kentucky loses to Florida.

Special teams Errors

After last week’s performance, special teams looked to be a strength. While that may still be the case for the rest of the season, it was not on Saturday night.


In the first half alone, Kentucky had two bad snaps resulting in a safety and a missed PAT. These mistakes caused Kentucky three points and without them, the game could have gone into halftime tied 14-14.

With plenty of close games left on the schedule, Kentucky can’t afford to shoot themselves in the foot as they did at times against Florida.



Ray Davis Shows Selflessness and Humility After Historic Performance



Kentucky Wildcats running back Ray Davis (1) walks off the field after the game against the Florida Gators at Kroger Field.
© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky running back Ray Davis put up a performance for the ages on Saturday against Florida, one that put him among the top of the Kentucky Football record books.

Davis rushed for a career-high 280 yards, the third most in Kentucky football history, which included three rushing touchdowns and one reception for a touchdown. Close to the single-game Kentucky record for rushing yards, Davis stayed humble after the game, giving credit to his offensive line.

“You’ve got to give credit to the O-line and the receiver corps,” Davis said after the game. “These guys were blocking downfield. I was just staying with it.”


When asked about his historic performance, Davis declined to take any individual credit, citing the “collective unit” made history. “I didn’t make history, our O-Line made history. WE ran for over 300 yards. As a collective unit, we made history.”

Davis’ performance earned him SEC Offensive Player of The Week, while also establishing himself as one of the SEC’s top running backs.

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NFL Analyst Dan Graziano Expects Will Levis To be Titans Starter Soon



ennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) walks to the field before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Nissan Stadium.
© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Many analysts and folks around the NFL expected Will Levis to be a top pick in the NFL Draft. It was already odd to see Levis fall out of the top ten, but when he fell out of the first round, people were shocked.

However, it didn’t take long for Levis to find a new home. With the 33rd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans drafted Will Levis. Surely, Levis would become the starter in Nashville, right?

The Titans have an aging, declining quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, and the Malik Willis experiment seems to have failed. Despite those things, Levis is playing second string alongside Willis.


Tennessee is 2-2, coming off a 27-3 win against the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite that, it may be time for a change at QB, and NFL analyst Dan Graziano thinks that change is coming.

Graziano said it is NOT an overreaction to think that Will Levis will be the starting quarterback for the Titans by November.

With the Titans heading toward impending doom as they fall to the bottom of the AFC South, why not give Levis a shot? After all, he was just drafted with a 2nd round draft pick, and the sky is the limit for him.

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RECAP: Three Takeaways from Kentucky’s Historic Win Over Florida



Kentucky Wildcats running back Ray Davis (1) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Florida Gators at Kroger Field.
© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday was a fun day in Lexington, Kentucky. The BBN was up and early, energized and ready to go as the Florida Gators came to town. However, Mark Stoops’ team was just as ready for the game. The Cats took a big lead early and never looked back as they won 33-14.

To start the game, Ray Davis set the tone early with a 22 yard run, a receiving touchdown, and then a massive 75 yard dash to the house. Kentucky would lead 16-0 after fifteen minutes of play.

The 2nd quarter was pretty uneventful for the most part, but Ray Davis would score his third touchdown of the day, and Florida would answer with their own touchdown via Graham Mertz finding Hayden Hansen in the end zone. UK led 23-7 at the break.


To begin the 2nd half, Ray Davis would score his fourth touchdown of the day. Then, Mertz would find superstar receiver Ricky Pearsall for a 33 yard touchdown. Heading into the 4th quarter, Kentucky was up 30-14.

Brad White and the defense would stop Florida again and again, and Alex Raynor would put the icing on the cake to make the final score 33-14. Kentucky would end up beating Florida for the third consecutive season.

Execution on Defense

Other than a couple of big plays, Kentucky held their own against the Florida Gators offense. Coming into the game, everyone knew that Florida was a run heavy team fueled by a two headed monster in the backfield in Trevor Etienne and Montrell Johnson Jr.

All week long, Brad White and Coach Stoops preached that it was imperative for Kentucky to execute. They noted that physicality and technique were going to be key in this game.


From making open field tackles to getting pressure in the backfield, Kentucky did everything they needed to do on the defensive side of the ball. Very impressive game from Coach White and his unit.

Big Blue Wall Finally In Gear

One of the biggest surprises of the day was that Kentucky’s o-line really dominated against Florida. The Gators have a very big, strong, and rather athletic front seven, but they were no match for Kentucky.

Suddenly, all of those costly holding calls were nonexistent. There were no bad snaps, and of course, they paved the way to Ray Davis’ historic game. Despite finishing with 280 rushing yards and four total touchdowns, Davis had to give credit to the guys up front.

“I didn’t make history. Our o-line made history… As a collective unit, we made history.” The offensive line did all the small things right. However, they did the big things right too, and it resulted in making history.


This Team Can be Special

Now, time for the news that the BBN wants to hear: the 2023 Kentucky Wildcats can be special. Kentucky is 5-0 for only the third time in school history. The first two times? 2018 and 2021.

It won’t be an easy road for Kentucky from here on out. The brutal gauntlet of the SEC schedule is here, and the Cats will face the toughest team they will all season, the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs in Athens.

We’ve already seen some special stuff from Kentucky over the last several seasons. 10-win seasons and Citrus Bowl wins are cool, but maybe this is the year UK takes the next step. For that to happen, Kentucky must do the impossible next week.

You can view the full box score from UK’s 33-14 win below:


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