When Quincy Wilson intercepted a Patrick Towles pass to preserve Florida's 14-9 win over Kentucky on Saturday night, he also saved something older than he is: The Streak.
Florida's win over Kentucky was its 29th consecutive victory against the Wildcats, and extended what is now the nation's longest active winning streak by one FBS team over another, which dates back to 1987.
The Gators' run of success against Kentucky has been the nation's (and the SEC's) longest active winning streak by one team against an annual opponent since 2011, when Kentucky ended a 26-game losing streak to Tennessee with a 10-7 win in Lexington that marked the beginning of the end of the Derek Dooley era. Florida won its 25th consecutive game against the Wildcats in 2011, then broke the SEC record for consecutive wins over an annual opponent with its 27th straight win in the series in 2013.
Florida's winning streak also became the nation's longest active winning streak by one team over a single opponent earlier in 2015, when Temple defeated Penn State and ended a 31-game winning streak that dated back to 1952; Saturday's win was the Gators' first as possessors and defenders of the nation's longest such streak.
And only three other winning streaks by an FBS team over a single opponent in college football history have been longer than Florida's current one over Kentucky: Notre Dame beat Navy for 43 consecutive years, Nebraska trampled Kansas for 36, and Oklahoma beat Kansas State for 32.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Florida's recent run of wins against Kentucky is the lack of impact the tumult the Gators have dealt with has had on their ability to declaw the Wildcats.
Florida's last seven wins in the series have featured five different starting quarterbacks, and the two Florida starters to win multiple games over Kentucky in that span were John Brantley and Jeff Driskel. Its last six wins have come under three separate coaches. Two of them featured quarterbacks — both of whom did not start in Florida's season opener that year — making their first collegiate road starts. One of the wins involved Tim Tebow's only significant injury as a Florida player. And Florida's 2014 win required triple overtime, while this 2015 win featured the fewest points scored by the Gators over the span of the streak and the second-smallest margin of victory, ranking just behind a 24-21 win in Ron Zook's only visit to Lexington as Florida head coach.
As with any streak this long, luck has no doubt played a significant role in sustaining it. But Florida has been about as low as it has been in the modern era in the 2010s — and, still, Florida has beaten Kentucky every year since 1987.
With Jim McElwain's Gators expected to improve after a rocky first year, Mark Stoops's Wildcats still unable to sell a tale of the nail finally getting one over on the hammer to recruits as anything other than fiction, and the series shifting back to Gainesville in 2016, it may be fair to wonder whether Kentucky has already let its best chance to break Florida's dominance slip by without a win.