Saturday September 22, 2001Football wins SEC opener, 44-10, over Kentucky
Robert Gillespie rushed for 66 yards and caught a 52-yard touchdown pass from Rex Grossman
Grossman threw touchdown passes of 29 yards to Jabar Gaffney and 6 yards to Taylor Jacobs whilr Jeff Chandler kicked a 39 yard field goal to give the Gators a 16-3 halftime lead.
The lead grew to 23-3 when Grossman hit Gaffney for a four yard touchdown pass with four minutes to go in the third quarter. After Kentucky scored to trim the lead to 23-10, the Gators scored 21 unanswered points to pull away from the Wildcats.
Earnest Graham, who fumbled twice in the game, redeemed himself with a 50- yard touchdown run with a minute left in the third quarter to put Florida up 30-10. Graham finished with 11 carries for 86 yards. Robert Gillespie rushed 13 times for 66 yards and caught three passes for 81 yards. Grossman and Gillespie teamed up on a 52-yard touchdown pass and Brock Berlin hit Reche Caldwell for a 64-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring.
Florida coach Steve Spurrier says both teams were ready to play despite the two weeks off. "Give Kentucky credit. They had a good defensive scheme. Their players played extremely hard," said Spurrier during his postgame radio interview. "We had some bad plays called. We tried to run into the teeth of their defense alot."
Spurrier was happy to see his defense get the Kentucky offense off the field. "Our defense gave us so many opportunities, we were finally able to hit some balls, here, and run. Earnest Graham and Robert Gillespie were outstanding. The defense didn't get any turnovers, but they forced eight punts, at least."
The Gator defense held Kentucky to just 288 yards after allowing 504 yards to the Wildcats last season. The Wildcats were just 1 of 14 on third down conversions.
Next up for the Gators is Mississippi State. The Bulldogs lost to South Carolina 16-14 Thursday night. Spurrier won't soon forget the loss to Bulldogs last year. "They clobbered us out at Starkville last year. They tore down the goalposts and sort of rubbed it in as good as they could. Hopefully, we can remember all that next Saturday."
The game will be played at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.