(Times listed in this blog are time of day, not time on the game clock.)
2:03 — More of the same. Florida grinds another scoring drive out. I’m submitting a request to play the second half with a continuous clock. Florida 42, UK 3.
1:50 — Cats get on the board, shutout avoided, on a 27 yard field goal by Lones Sieber. I’m not sure why you kick a field goal when you’re down 35, but give UK credit for driving 76 yards on 14 plays and grinding out 6:14. And, if after that drive, you don’t think Randall Cobb should be the quarterback of this team, I’m not sure what to say. Think about the situation Cobb came into, how far down the Wildcats were, and to stabilize the offense and actually sustain something and cut some of the momentum is pretty impressive. It’ll be interesting to see what Brooks has to say about the QB spot afterward. Florida 35, UK 3.
1:44 — Case in point on Cobb. Pocket breaks down around him, he sidesteps, runs out of a tackle and rambles for 17 yards and a first down.
1:41 — Ladies and gentlemen of the UK persuasion still watching this game, Randall Cobb, if he lives through this game, is your new quarterback. I don’t doubt the many reasons UK coach Rich Brooks has given for hanging with Hartline. I also know that Cobb’s last two completions have gone for a combined 32 yards, and that Hartline had just nine yards passing through most of the first quarter. More on this in a bit. (And I do invoke the blog prerogative on this. That is, I reserve the right to be totally wrong and change my mind as events warrant.)
1:32 — And now for something completely different, stop me if you’ve heard this, a blocked kick! This time it’s a field goal that is blocked and returned 35 yards. And as I’m typing this, Tebow hits Demps with a short pass and the true freshman blazes 62 yards for the score. With 11:26 until halftime, it’s Florida 35, UK 0.
1:22 — Two things to cheer for Cat fans. Trevard Lindley comes down with an interception at the Florida 37. And Randall Cobb enters for his second series at quarterback. Cobb completed a pair of passes to Tony Dixon (I know, I know) but his first series was still a 3-and-out. Now he gets a short field to work with.
1:19 — A couple of dubious distinctions already in this game. Florida’s 28 points are the most ever for an Urban Meyer-coached team in the first quarter. They’re also the most given up in a game by UK this season.
1:16 — For Kentucky, everything has broken down. Florida got the ball on its most recent drive at the UK 38, and needed only four plays to score. It reeled off runs of 7, 8 and 13 yards before Tebow hit Harvin for a 33-yard scoring pass. The offense isn’t working. The defense isn’t working. The special teams aren’t. Florida 28, UK 0, and there’s still more than 3 minutes left in the first quarter.
1:10 — Stat of the game so far. Coming into the game, UK had allowed only two rushing touchdowns the entire year. In Florida’s first eight carries today, it scored three rushing TDs.
1:07 — Percy Harvin 16 yards untouched for a touchdown, after a late hit by UK adds 15 yards to a first-down run. Not sure yet what to say about this one, except that even if UK were 100 percent, I’m not sure it could play with Florida — and certainly not in a game when it gets two punts blocked. Florida 21, UK 0.
1:03 — Mark down the time. UK gets a punt away.
12:54 — Okay, here’s the strategy. UK can start going for it on fourth down, even at its own 30. Florida has blocked a second straight punt and recovered at the 1. Not much you can say. Meyer is a master at this kind of thing. This one was set up on a 3rd and 1 play when UK quarterback Mike Hartline audibled at the line of scrimmage and made a nice call, a play action pass in which he had E.J. Fields wide open in the middle of the field. But Hartline held the ball too long, the coverage caught up the Fields and Hartline’s throw was off. Then came the punt block, this time by Jeffery Demps. Not sure I’ve ever seen back-to-back punts blocked and recovered at the 1. Not sure Florida is done, either. Florida 14, UK 0.
12:46 — Well, file that in the “worst thing that could happen category.” Let’s take it from the top. UK threw to fullback John Connor on 3rd and 7, and couldn’t pick up a first down on its first drive. Then William Green broke through the middle of the UK line to block a Tim Masthay punt. The Gators recovered at the three, Tebow ran it in for his 33rd career rushing touchdown, putting him at No. 2 on the Florida career list behind Emmit Smith. Needless to say, a very costly special teams breakdown, but clearly, with pressure coming right up the middle, something Urban Meyer and his staff had identified in the UK protection. It’s Florida’s third blocked kick this season and its 40th under Urban Meyer. Florida 7, UK 0.
12:41 p.m. — A good first defensive series for the Wildcats. They gave up a 12-yard first-down pass on third and long (and third and long has been a terrible down for the Wildcat defense the past three games). But in all, Florida manages only 13 yards on its opening series. On the third-down completion, Micah Johnson just didn’t look like himself as Louis Murphy caught the ball in front of him. Now UK ball.