Off the top of my sun-burned head from Gainesville:
– Pressed into starting service, Morgan Newton had a bad day. The senior is just not an accurate passer and this is an offense made for accuracy and quick release. Neither are a Newton strength. After a promising start, the senior was picked off three times in the second quarter.
– It’s the first time Kentucky has had back-to-back games of three-or-more interceptions since the Hal Mumme/Tim Couch 1997 Air Raid season. Smith was picked off four times last week against WKU. Newton was picked off three times today.
– Newton didn’t have a lot of preparation this week and he his reps have been cut at quarterback to give him more time to learn H-back since the season opener against Louisville.
– Newton: “It’s tough. Over a career, it seems like inopportune, a lot of things. It’s just bad timing, bad situations, bad circumstances. Post-Randall Cobb. Post-Chris Matthews. But pre-(DeMarcus) Sweat. Pre-Demarco (Robinson). Pre all these other guys. It just has been tough, and it makes me look like a lot worse player than I probably am.”
– Could Smith, who bruised his shoulder last week in the loss to WKU, have played? Possibly. But the risk was that injuring his shoulder would have put the sophomore out for several weeks. Kentucky hasn’t beaten Florida since 1986. It has South Carolina and Mississippi State at home the next two weeks. The Cats figure to be significant underdogs in both those games. But they are at home.
– Kentucky did run the football well. After gaining just 41 yards on the ground last week against Western Kentucky, the Cats gained 159 yards on 32 carries. That’s a 4.97 average per rush, the best since a 6.18 against Jacksonville State last season. It’s the best against an SEC opponent since UK averaged 7.93 yards rushing (43 carries for 341 yards) against Vanderbilt in 2010.
It was also balanced. Jonathan George gained 52 yards on 13 carries. Raymond Sanders had 48 yards on 10 carries. Morgan Newton carried four times for 34 yards. True freshman Dyshawn Mobley got in late and gained 22 yards on four carries.
– The defense wore down. The Cats gave up 81 yards in the first quarter, 141 in the second quarter, 97 in the third and 74 in the fourth. But the second-half yardage came on long, sustained drives. Florida’s first possession of the second half, a scoring drive, lasted over nine minutes.
– Mister Cobble has some sort of infection in the joints which caused him to be hospitalized and it doesn’t sound good. Joker Phillips listed Cobble as day-to-day, but somehow that doesn’t sound day-to-day.
– CoShik Williams did not make the trip because of injury. That is the knock on CoShik — is he big enough to take the pounding. The senior running back is just 5-foot-9, 178 pounds. He has played in just two of the Cats’ four games.
– Kentucky is now 1-12 under Phillips when it loses the turnover battle. The Cats did get an interception, the first of the year for Martavious Neloms. And it did come in the end zone. But then there were Newton’s three thrown interceptions.
– Craig McIntosh missed field goals of 54 and 46 yards. He is now two-of-six on the season, with all of his attempts coming beyond 40 yards. You have to wonder about his confidence at this point.
– It was not like Florida was razor sharp. The Gators fumbled a couple of snaps and had some bad penalties. Quarterback Jeff Driskel was 18-of-27 for 203 yards and a score, with a pick, but he was also off-target on several throws. He did have a 38-yard run that was something of a back-breaker.
– More to come later.