Field goal sails wide as Kentucky falls to Florida
The Kentucky Wildcats snapped a 30+ year losing streak to Florida last year and was looking to make the victory a trend instead of a fluke. For most of the game, that seemed it was going to occur as they built a 21-10 lead at the end of three quarters and seemed to have the game in control both offensively and defensively.
With the Cats driving towards a potential score that could cement the game, they faced a 4th and 1 at midfield and Coach Mark Stoops made the bold decision to go for it and put the last nail in the Gators coffin. The Gators had lost their starting quarterback on the previous series of plays with a dislocated ankle.
"It's situational football. We played very, very good football at times, and in certain situations, we've got to get better and execute better. Game comes down to inches. We're short on the fourth down when we were up 11 and comeback and run it on third down there and end up with six inches short or whatever it was, eight inches short, and missed the field goal," said Stoops. "Comes down a game of inches. You know, that ball goes in, or we get that first down, we're all sitting here saying that's one heck of a football game."
The Florida defense held and the backup quarterback Kyle Trask proved to be up to the task of leading the Gators. He marched his team down the field in just over two minutes for a touchdown that cut the deficit to five at 21-16 with 12:41 left.
After the Cats defense was unable to muster any points, Trask ran the ball in from four yards and after the two-point conversion failed, Florida held the 22-21 lead and the Cats faithful was in disbelief with old memories and scars resurfacing.
Kentucky would have a chance to grasp the victory but a Chance Poore 35-yard field goal sailed wide with just 54 seconds left in the game. A painful loss that puts the Cats next game to Mississippi State game as an almost must-win game to reset the season.
"It's tough. You're up int he fourth quarter and then not walking away with the W, it's pretty hurtful," said running back A. J. Rose who carried the ball on the ill-fated 4th quarter 4th and 1 attempt.
It was a point that wide receiver Ahmad Wagner echoed. "This one hurt. We played hard and made some mistakes, but everybody left everything on the field."
Wagner has emerged as a go-to receiver and made a circus catch in the end zone for a first half touchdown, but Florida was able to take him away from Quarterback Sawyer Smith in the second half. He finished with three receptions for 70 yards.
"They do a good job of mixing their coverage and combo and doubling at times," said Coach Stoops about Wagner.
Smith was stepping in as the starting quarterback after Terry Wilson was lost for the season. He went 23-35 for 267 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions.