September 22, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators running back Mike Gillislee (23) reacts after he scored a touchdown against the Kentucky Wildcats in the first half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
By Travis Duncan
Gator Envy Writer
Joker Phillips was proud of his team's effort Saturday at the Swamp. His Kentucky program is a work in progress.
“I feel like our kids competed hard," said Phillips. "We moved the ball offensively, but our turnovers didn’t give us a chance field position-wise."
Kentucky simply was not able or ready to faceoff against an elite SEC defense.
Florida forced three first half interceptions from Wildcats backup QB Morgan Newton and it was 24-0 by halftime. Florida then established the ground game in the second half to close out the 38-0 win. Florida has now defeated Kentucky 26 straight times.
Florida's defense dominated the passing game, limiting Kentucky to 60 total passing yards. But if there was a weakness, the Gators would like to have done better against the run. Kentucky totaled 159 yards on 32 carries.
"Defensively, our perimeter run defense was poor – in the first half I was disappointed, but obviously it is something that is correctable and we settled down as the game wore on," said Gators coach Will Muschamp.
On the other side of the ball, Florida totaled 200 yards rushing on 45 carries. Quarterback Jeff Driskel ran for 35 yards on eight recorded attempts. Mike Gillislee had just 13 carries, but made the most of those, totaling 56 yards and scoring a second-quarter touchdown from one yard out. Matt Jones ran the ball 10 times for 45 yards, and Mack Brown carried the ball four times for 31 yards.
Driskel completed 18 of 27 passes for 203 yards with an INT, a touchdown pass, and an touchdown run. His first INT of the season was inevitable and better it come in a game clearly in hand.
The emphasis was not necessarily on the pass Saturday afternoon in Gainesville.
"Going in, we knew that we wanted to be a balanced team – a hard-nosed, physical team," said Driskel. "Being able to run the ball is really helping us in the passing game."
Florida has a bye week and then will face the toughest opponent on their 2012 schedule to date when LSU visits The Swamp Oct. 6th.
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