(Saturday, October 25th)
Final Score: (5) Florida 63, Kentucky 5
Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Tim Tebow threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more as the fifth-ranked Gators destroyed Kentucky, 63-5, on Florida's homecoming.
Tebow completed 11-of-15 passes for 180 yards with one interception, while gaining 48 yards on nine carries for the Gators (6-1, 4-1 SEC), who ran their winning streak over the Wildcats to 22. Kentucky has not beaten Florida since 1986, and has not won on the road in the series since 1979.
Jeffrey Demps had a 61-yard touchdown catch, and Percy Harvin had one scoring grab and one scoring run for Florida, which has won three straight since its lone loss, a 31-30 defeat to Ole Miss on September 27. The Gators rolled up 42 first-half points on the way to their sixth blowout win of the season, setting up "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" next week, Florida's annual rivalry game with Georgia in Jacksonville.
Florida has won by margins of 46, 23, 24, 31, 30, and 58 this season. Its closest final came in a 26-3 win over Miami on September 6.
Randall Cobb completed 9-of-18 passes for 78 yards and Mike Hartline threw for 33 yards on 7-of-16 passing with one interception for Kentucky (5-3, 1-3), which had major special teams issues. Florida blocked two punts and a field goal in the first half as it ran away with the win.
"Our defense and special teams were about as good as you can get," said Florida head coach Urban Meyer. "I think it was a great effort."
Cobb also ran for 52 yards on nine carries for the Wildcats, who have dropped three of four after opening the season with four straight wins.
The kicking woes for Kentucky began when it tried to punt from its 26-yard line early in the first quarter. Florida's Chris Rainey broke through and blocked Timy Masthay's punt, recovering at the Kentucky three-yard line. Tebow ran into the end zone on the next play, and Florida led 7-0 just under four minutes into regulation.
After a Kentucky three-and-out, the Wildcats lined up for a punt at their 28. This time Deonte Thompson made the block for the Gators, and he recovered at the Kentucky one. Brandon James scored on the next play, and the two one- play scoring drives gave the Gators a 14-0 lead.
Another Kentucky possession yielded no first downs, and this time Florida marched 61 yards on just four plays to add to its score. Harvin took the handoff and ran around the left side 16 yards for the touchdown, and a 21-0 lead with 6:44 to play in the first quarter.
While Kentucky couldn't buy a first down on the ground or through the air, Florida just kept adding on. Another Wildcats three-and-out set up a four- play, 62-yard Gators scoring march. Tebow's 32-yard touchdown strike to Harvin capped the drive, pushing the Wildcats into a 28-0 hole with 3:15 remaining in the first quarter.
"It seemed like the longest first quarter I ever played, which is great because the defense was making stops and we blocked two punts," said Tebow. "We were able to punch it in and get off to a great start."
Trevard Lindley picked off a Tebow pass late in the first quarter, but the Wildcats were held up at the Florida 14, and Lones Seiber's 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked. Three plays later the Gators were back in the end zone, this time after Tebow and Demps hooked up on a 61-yard touchdown connection, and Florida led 35-0 with 11:21 left in the second quarter.
Seiber's 27-yard field goal finally got Kentucky on the board with 5:03 to play in the half, but Tebow and Florida just kept piling up yards and points. A 10-play, 80-yard drive ended in a four-yard TD run by Tebow with 26 seconds left in the half, and Florida took a 42-3 lead into the intermission.
Ahmad Black opened the second half by picking off a Hartline screen pass and running it back 40 yards for a score, and a 49-3 Florida lead. Kestahn Moore's one-yard TD run with 2:59 left in the third pushed the Gators advantage to 53 points.
Florida's second team kept the pressure on, and John Brantley's 38-yard TD toss to David Nelson early in the fourth quarter boosted Florida's lead to a laughable 63-3. Only a Gators safety, when Florida punter Bobby Kane kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone after dropping the snap, prevented an even 60-point loss for the Wildcats.
"Obviously, I did a very poor job of preparing this team schematically and mentally in every phase," said Kentucky head coach Rich Brooks. "Our kicking game was a disaster. Two blocked punts and a field goal in the first half led to direct scores. Offense was struggling to get going. The defense had a hard time stopping them after the first series. The mental breakdowns after having two punts blocked just cascaded on us. I didn't do a good job of getting it stopped or turned or anything."
The Gators rushed for 214 yards, and passed for 232, outgaining Kentucky by a total of 446-268...Florida leads the series, 42-17...Including bye weeks, bowl games, mid-week games and season openers, Urban Meyer is 26-3 (.893) all-time when having more than one week to prepare for a game...Florida has won 19 straight homecoming contests, the longest homecoming win streak in school history.
10/25 19:12:11 ET