Florida football: 5 takeaways from Gators win over Kentucky

Some say a win is a win, but this one came at a big cost for Florida football. They lost a quarterback and found a lot of weaknesses.

Florida football quarterback Feleipe Franks is out and we don’t know for how long.

But, that wasn’t the only thing that happened Saturday night in No. 8 Florida’s 29-21 win over Kentucky at Lexington.

Here are our five takeaways from the win:

Kentucky is underrated

It’s hard to give props to an opponent you really want to beat, but Kentucky just outplayed Florida Saturday night.

There is really no other way to say it.

The Gators underestimated backup quarterback Sawyer Smith and he made them pay for it to the tune of going 23-for-35 for 267 yards and two touchdowns.

The only thing that overshadowed that performance was the three interceptions.

However, that isn’t really a credit to Florida’s defense, but to miscommunication between receivers and a new quarterback.

Look for the Wildcats to potentially make life difficult for a few of its opponents this season.

Florida got lucky

As I said, there is really no way around the fact that the Gators were out-played.

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – SEPTEMBER 14: Dan Mullen the head coach of the Florida Gators watches the action against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

If not for a 35-yard missed field goal by Kentucky freshman kicker Chance Poore, this would be a different story.

 

Josh Hammond got lucky that the offensive line pulled at the right time, leading to a 76-yard touchdown run with just under a minute to play, giving Florida football the win.

The Florida defense got lucky that Kentucky didn’t utilize a size mismatch between some of its receivers and the Gators’ corners. Ahmad Wagner should have had more than 100 yards receiving, but for some reason, the Wildcats didn’t key on him as much as they should have.

Do we have a rushing game?

With the exception of Hammond’s big run late in the fourth quarter, the Gators’ running game was virtually non-existent.

This would be the third straight game where Lamical Perine failed to mount any kind of an attack, forcing all the pressure on the passing game.

Related Story: Florida's offense vs. Kentucky's defense

Of course, another big reason for the lack of running is the fact the offensive line can’t seem to make any significant blocks.

Perine and Franks were trapped as soon as the Kentucky defense smelled a run.

The running game is going to have to get established, especially now as the Gators will be working with a new quarterback.

What about Trask?

Kyle Trask had no idea he would be playing in this game.

But, when he came in, he made an immediate impact. He started going 4-for-4 and ended the game throwing for 126 yards on 9-for-13 passing, rushing for another touchdown.

One thing we have to be careful of is overselling Trask.

He was helped by the fact Kentucky’s corners showed no respect for him or the Gator receivers, allowing Trask to make pinpoint throws, even under pressure.

That said, Trask did extremely well, especially under the circumstances of Franks going down.

Regardless of the nature of Franks’ injury, Trask will likely start against Tennessee Saturday, so there is a week to get ready. But, this offensive line has to get it together, or it could be rough.

Receivers continue to improve

The Florida football receiving corps had a big night, pulling down 21 catches for 300 yards and a touchdown.

Freddie Swain put the Gators on the board in the first quarter after breaking wide open on a short route.

Van Jefferson was massive, getting 93 yards on seven catches while tight end Kyle Pitts had four catches for 63 yards.

The Gators had four receivers with 50 yards or more, and five receivers averaged double-digit yardage.

Going against a Kentucky defensive that put pressure on both Franks and Trask, it was good to see the receivers make themselves open quickly.

Next: Remembering the 31-game win streak against Kentucky

Now, the Gators will return to host Tennessee at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday afternoon.

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