Florida beats Kentucky 45-7 for 30th straight win in series
Eds: APNewsNow. Florida 45, Kentucky 7. Will be updated. With AP Photos.
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Luke Del Rio threw four touchdown passes, including a 78-yarder to Antonio Callaway, and Florida beat Kentucky 45-7 Saturday to extend its winning streak in the series to 30.
It's now a three-decade-long skid for the Wildcats, the longest current one in major college football between two teams that play annually.
This one was a vintage beatdown in a mostly one-sided series.
The Gators (2-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) rebounded from a pedestrian victory against Massachusetts in last week's season opener, scoring five times in their first seven possessions and having their way with the Wildcats (0-2, 0-1). Again.
Although Kentucky had chances to win the previous two meetings, coach Mark Stoops' team looked overmatched on a sweltering, late-summer day in The Swamp. Kentucky's last win in Gainesville came in 1979.
Del Rio had touchdown passes to Callaway, Brandon Powell, Freddie Swain and Lamical Perine. The deep ball to Callaway was a replay of Florida's opening play against UMass. Thanks to a little adrenaline rush in his first career start, Del Rio overthrew Callaway by several yards. His second shot was right on target.
Callaway beat Derrick Baity, ran under the high-arced pass and scored for the second time in as many weeks.
Mark Thompson and Jordan Scarlett also scored for the Gators, who reached 30 points for the first time since beating Mississippi 38-10 on Oct. 3, 2015. The 10-game streak was the program's longest since before Steve Spurrier arrived in 1990. The Gators hadn't gone 11 straight games without scoring at least 30 since 1979.
Del Rio completed 19 of 32 passes for 320 yards, with an interception. He became Florida's first 300-yard passer since Tyler Murphy did it against Vanderbilt in 2013.
KENTUCKY: After allowing 34 unanswered points in a 44-35 loss to Southern Miss last week, the Wildcats were outscored 79-0 in six quarters before finding the end zone late against Florida's backups. It might not bode well for Stoops' future. The former Miami, Arizona and Florida State assistant fell to 12-26 in his fourth season in Lexington.
FLORIDA: The Gators finished with four sacks, three interceptions and a forced fumble - another impressive outing for one of the league's top defenses. The offense was the bigger surprise, and it may help Florida get back in The Associated Press college football poll. The Gators opened the season at No. 25, but dropped after the lackluster opener.
KENTUCKY: Returns home to play New Mexico State in their first meeting. The Wildcats should have a chance to get their first win. Then again, they're going to have to play better than they did in the last six quarters.
FLORIDA: Hosts North Texas, which has lost 11 of its last 12 games heading into Saturday night's contest against Bethune-Cookman of the Football Championship Subdivision. It will be Florida's last tune-up game (all at home) before playing a pivotal one at SEC rival Tennessee.