fifth-ranked Gator football team improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the
Southeastern Conference with a 49-28 victory at Kentucky
on Saturday afternoon at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington. In the first half, junior
quarterback Chris Leak (Charlotte,
N.C.) was 21-for-26 for 298 yards and four
touchdowns as Florida
raced out to a 49-7 lead at the break.
finished 25-for-32 for 319 yards, his sixth career 300-yard effort, and has not
thrown an interception in 114 attempts this season. UF's
offense gained a season-high 537 yards, 350 yards through the air and 187 yards
on the ground in defeating the Wildcats (1-3/0-1 SEC) for the 19th straight
running back DeShawn Wynn (Cincinnati, Ohio)
scored four times on the day, three times rushing and once receiving, to become
the first player in school history to have four touchdowns in a game twice in
his career. He previously accomplished the feat in a 63-3 win over Florida A&M on Sept. 13, 2003.
Kentucky drew first blood after blocking a punt by junior punter Eric Wilbur (Winter
Park, Fla.) and taking over at
yard-line. A one-yard run by sophomore tailback Rafael Little
put the Wildcats on the board 2:46 into the game. However, the Gators scored
touchdowns on their next seven possessions to assume a commanding 49-7 lead.
junior Jemalle Cornelius (Fort Meade,
Fla.) returned the ensuing kickoff 26
yards to the 30-yard line, Florida
put together a nine-play, 70-yard drive to tie the game at 7-7. Facing third
down and 10, Leak found junior Chad Jackson (Hoover, Ala.) for 36
yards down to Kentucky's
34-yard line. Two plays later, Wynn converted another third down with a 12-yard
rush into the red zone. On third down and eight, Leak hooked up with Wynn from
16 yards out to put the Gators on the board.
Wildcats three-and-out on its next possession, Florida used a 12-play, 87-yard drive to
seize the advantage. Leak was a perfect 6-for-6 on the drive for 60 yards and
put the Gators in front with an 11-yard scoring toss to Jackson.
outburst in the second quarter by UF, featuring three rushing touchdowns by
Wynn, put Florida
in control. A 50-yard pass from Leak to Cornelius down
to the 11-yard line set up Wynn's three-yard rush into the end zone, resulting
in a 21-7 lead for the Gators. On Kentucky's
next offensive play, junior Earl Everett
notched his first career interception on a pass by Andre' Woodson to give
UF possession at the Wildcats' 29-yard line. Seven plays later, Wynn scored
from one yard for a 28-7 cushion.
remaining in the half, the Gators took a 35-7 lead when Leak engineered an
eight-play, 67-yard drive, ending with a 16-yard reception by senior wide
receiver Dallas Baker (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.).
The catch resulted in Bakerís first
touchdown of the season.
Everett's second interception of the game
with 3:41 left in the second quarter put the Gator offense back in business at
its own 42-yard line. Following three consecutive receptions by
Cornelius (20 yards), Jackson (21 yards) and
junior Kenneth Tookes
Fla.) (four yards), Leak threw his fourth touchdown of the game
with a six-yard completion to Jackson to move Florida ahead, 42-7.
remaining in the half, Florida junior
cornerback Demetrice Webb (Jacksonville,
Fla.) forced a Kentucky
fumble that sophomore linebacker Brandon
Siler (Orlando, Fla.)
recovered at UK's
30-yard line. Freshman quarterback Josh Portis (Woodland
Hills, Calif.) charged
for 29 yards on the first play and Wynn finished the 17-second drive with a
one-yard carry for his fourth and final touchdown of the night and a 49-7 lead.
Kentucky narrowed the deficit to 49-28 with
three second-half touchdowns, including a pair of touchdown runs by Curtis
Pulley from two and 18 yards, respectively.
combination of Leak (25-of-32, 319 yards, four TD) and Portis
(3-of-4, 31 yards) completed passes to 10 different receivers. The duo of
Cornelius (career-highs with eight receptions and 138 yards) and Jackson (nine
catches for 105 yards, two TD) became the
first Gator duo to go over 100 yards in the same game since Reche
Caldwell (115) and Jabar Gaffney (101) did so against
Tennessee on Dec. 1, 2001.
For the second time this season, Portis led UF's rushing attack with 59 yards on eight carries. Wynn
carried the ball 10 times for 40 yards and scored three times on the ground.
Junior Skyler Thornton (LaGrange, Ga.)
totaled 36 yards on seven carries for a 5.1 average. Two-time SEC Special Teams
Player of the Week, junior
kicker Chris Hetland
(Leesburg, Ga.), was 7-for-7 on PATs.
UF was 12-of-16 on third-down conversions and controlled the ball for 34:44.
for the Gators, sophomore safety Tony
Joiner (Haines City, Fla.) led the team with six tackles and
had his first career interception, a ball that was brought back 27 yards.
Junior linebacker Brian Crum (Woodbine, Ga.) followed with five tackles and senior Jeremy Mincey (Statesboro, Ga.)
had a pair of tackles for loss.
finished 11-of-27 for 124 yards and three interceptions for the Wildcats, with
Pulley 4-for-6 with 38 yards. Little had 19 rushes for 77 yards and one
touchdown, while Pulley scored twice on his seven carries that gained 32 yards.
69 yards of total offense in the first half and finished with 295 yards in the
continue SEC play next Saturday against Alabama
(4-0/2-0 SEC) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will air on CBS Sports at 3:30