Florida 24, Kentucky 7: Gators grind out their 27th straight win over Wildcats

Andy Lyons

In their first game without Jeff Driskel and Dominique Easley, the Gators hewed to a familiar grind-it-out blueprint. It worked.

With new players, the song remained the same: The Florida Gators are better than the Kentucky Wildcats, for the 27th straight year. The final score was Florida 24, Kentucky 7, and it wasn't that close.

Florida rumbled out of the gate with a perfect drive, with Tyler Murphy conducting the offense beautifully and Matt Jones punching in a short touchdown run at the end of it. Kentucky countered with a good drive that it punctuated with a wonderful fake field goal that got kicker Joe Mansour a touchdown run. From there on, it was all Florida.

Murphy completed his first 12 passes, and 15 of his 18 throws, tossing a touchdown pass to Trey Burton (six catches, 66 yards) and only truly erring on an throw picked off by a Kentucky linebacker who undercut the route. Jones was even better, running for a career-high 176 yards on 28 carries, breaking a 67-yard run, and consistently pushing piles and moving sticks. And Florida's fantastic defense yielded just 173 yards on the night, and just 98 after the first drive, with Vernon Hargreaves III snagging his third pick of the year and Dante Fowler, Jr. getting home twice for sacks on the same series.

This was a dominant win, and it felt like Will Muschamp's team playing Will Muschamp football, coiling itself around the other team's neck and squeezing for 60 minutes. Florida held the ball for 38 minutes and nine seconds, and is likely to continue leading the country in time of possession after statistics through this week are calculated.

This is what Florida is now, and Florida is very good in a different way than most fans are used to because of it. At least the walkover win against Kentucky is familiar.

Star-divide

Andy Hutchins is Alligator Army's managing editor. Follow Alligator Army on Twitter and Facebook.

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