LEXINGTON, Ky. — Florida came into Saturday night’s game at Kentucky just hoping for a solid effort from Tyler Murphy in his first game as the starting quarterback after Jeff Driskel was lost for the season after breaking his leg in last Saturday’s 31-17 win against Tennessee.
What the Gators got in the first half was perfection — Murphy completed all 11 of his pass attempts for 120 yards. Murphy played so well and was mounting such long drives that Florida didn’t punt in the opening 30 minutes and had the ball just four times — running off 31 plays and piling up 253 yards.
The Gators had the ball for almost 19 of the first 30 minutes and led 21-7 at the break. Murphy also ran for a TD and passed for a second score for the second game in a row.
For the second week in a row, Florida had a player running for a touchdown tackled by his own teammate. Last week, it was Darious Cummings who had an interception and fell after getting tripped by teammate Dominique Easley. Easley suffered a knee injury this week and is out for the season, so Gators WR Quinton Dunbar should be careful.
This time it was Dunbar who ran into Matt Jones (Armwood High), who appeared to be headed to the end zone on a 67-yard run only to be knocked down by Dunbar — who was running behind Jones and cut between defenders trying to keep them off Jones.
UF later scored on Murphy’s second TD pass of the season, to Trey Burton.
Burton’s reception on the 9-yard scoring pass was the 20th of his career. He has scored eight of his TDs against Kentucky.
Six of those came in his freshman season, a 48-14 Gators win. Sixteen of his touchdowns have come on runs, four as a receiver.
Kentucky players weren’t really looking at the return of former head coach Joker Phillips (now the Gators’ receivers coach) as any special motivation. For one thing, he was fired. For another, many feel like they owe him for their chance to play at UK.
DE Alvin Dupree: “I’ve still got love for Joker. ... Coach Phillips has still got a place in all our hearts as a team, as well as a program. Everyone over here loves coach Phillips.’’
Florida took five quarterbacks to Lexington, without Driskel after his season-ending broken leg. ... Demarcus Robinson, suspended last week, returned for UK and had his first career reception early in the game. DB Brian Poole was suspended for the first half after being ejected from last week’s game for targeting, per NCAA rules. ... With Easley out, Damien Jacobs and Jon Bullard started at defensive tackle. ... Austin Hardin missed a 53-yard field goal on the only first-half drive when the Gators didn’t score (four possessions). It was the third miss in his first six attempts as the starting kicker. ... Former UK basketball coach Tubby Smith, who was inducted into the school’s hall of fame this week, was given a standing ovation by the crowd, and the crowd started chanting his name.