For years, it felt like the Gators owned the Cats. From 1987 to 2017, over a span of 31 games, Kentucky lost every matchup with Florida. Then in 2018 the switch flipped, when led by the arm of Terry Wilson Jr. and the legs of Benny Snell Jr., the Wildcats went into the Swamp and defeated the No. 7 Florida Gators 27-16.
Fast forward to the 2023 season, following a 33-14 stomping of the Gators, Kentucky finds themselves in the middle of a three-game win streak against Florida. As well as a 5-0 start heading into a huge matchup in Athens this weekend. In similar fashion to that rivalry altering 2018 matchup, the Cats leaned on the arm of QB Devin Leary and RB Ray Davis in this weekend’s win. Leary controlled the pace of the game extremely well, using his experience and composure to methodically move the ball down field. The NC State transfer threw for 69 yards and a touchdown; however, the clear MVP of the day was Ray Davis.
The San Francisco native started his career with two seasons at Temple, including a 936 rushing yards Freshman campaign. Davis followed that up with two seasons for the Commodores where he finished that tenure with a 1,000-yard season on the ground. Now, with the Wildcats, Davis was the gamechanger in Kentucky’s third straight victory over Florida. Davis gashed the Gators early and often with a receiving touchdown on the first scoring drive of the game, followed by a 75-yard score on the ground. Davis finished the game with 280 yards rushing, as well as four total touchdowns. This historical performance was good for third on the all-time Kentucky single-game rushers list, behind only Moe Williams and Lynn Bowden.
Now the Cats face their toughest test yet, as they head into Athens to take on the top ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Although the Dawgs have not lost in nearly one and a half seasons, they have not looked to be the same dominant team so far this season. In a close victory at Auburn Saturday, Georgia surrendered 219 rushing yards, including 125 to QBs. If the Cats can get the run game going like they did Saturday and the Dawgs come out flat, Kentucky may have a real chance to pull the shocker in Athens.