3:30 PM ET, September 24, 2005
Commonwealth Stadium, LEXINGTON, KY
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Florida coach Urban Meyer wasn't pleased with the Gators' execution of his spread-option offense during their first three games.
But during the first half on Saturday against Kentucky, Florida's offense was almost perfect.
Chris Leak threw four touchdown passes, all before halftime, and DeShawn Wynn scored four touchdowns as No. 5 Florida rolled to a 49-28 victory over the Wildcats.
After a blocked punt led to an early Kentucky touchdown, Florida (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) scored on seven straight possessions and led 49-7 at halftime. Leak, who made his first collegiate start two years ago at Kentucky, was 25-of-32 for 319 yards, one week after the Gators scored only one touchdown in a gritty 16-7 win over Tennessee.
"Chris Leak played terrific," Meyer said. "I think this was the best he's thrown the ball ... Chris ran the offense really well. In case you wonder, that's the way we like to have things look."
Leak's first touchdown pass, a 16-yarder, went to Wynn, who also scored on three short runs. Wynn became the first player in Florida history to record two four-touchdown games, having also accomplished the feat in a 2003 win over Florida A&M.
Florida's win was its 19th straight over the Wildcats (1-3, 0-1), a run that has included lopsided results like 73-17, 42-7, 65-0 and 44-10.
The Gators seemed on their way to another resounding rout. But led by backup quarterback Curtis Pulley, Kentucky -- which hasn't won a SEC opener since 1987 -- scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to make the final result appear more respectable.
Florida recorded season highs in points and total offense (537 yards).
"It is a great feeling, executing like that," Leak said. "It gives you a lot of confidence, going up and down the field. Our line did a great job."
Defensively, the Gators entered the game allowing an average of 199 yards, second-best in Division I-A. They gave up 295 to Kentucky while forcing four turnovers. All but 69 of those yards came in the second half, though, after the game had been decided.
Kentucky's Jacob Tamme blocked a Florida punt on the Gators' first possession, giving the Wildcats prime field position at the Florida 18. Rafael Little scored on a 1-yard run less than three minutes into the game, giving Kentucky an unexpected lead.
But Leak continually dissected the Kentucky defense, connecting most often with Chad Jackson (nine catches for 105 yards, including touchdowns of 11 and 6 yards) and Jemalle Cornelius (eight catches for 138 yards). Leak's other touchdown pass went for 16 yards to Dallas Baker.
"We had to get Chris going and he did it," Meyer said, but he cautioned, "We're not perfect. Far from it."
The 300-yard passing game was the sixth of Leak's career. He exited the game early in the third quarter, along with most of Florida's starters, but they returned with 6:49 left after Kentucky had rallied within 49-28.
"I was absolutely disgusted," Meyer said of having to reinsert his starters. "You shouldn't have to do that at Florida.
"I think our fears were exposed, that being that this team has very little depth," he said.
Florida rolled up 437 yards of offense in the first half, including 250 in a 35-point second quarter.
"That's about as bad as it gets," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "We've got to make good plays on defense on third down. Our third-down defense was very poor, our pass rush was again not good enough and obviously Florida is a very good football team."
Florida's first-half point total was its highest since the Gators scored 56 against Central Michigan on Sept. 6, 1997, during the high-scoring Steve Spurrier days.
Kentucky didn't record its second first down until less than five minutes remained in the second quarter and committed three turnovers.
Florida linebacker Earl Everett set up touchdowns with his first two career interceptions, which were also the first two interceptions thrown this season by Andre Woodson.
On its first second-half possession, Kentucky scored on a 5-yard reverse by receiver Glenn Holt, and the Wildcats added fourth-quarter scores on runs of 2 and 18 yards by the freshman Pulley, his first career touchdowns.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... the Gators scored 49 straight points in the first half after the Wildcats took an early 7-0 lead.
Gameball goes to... Chris Leak. Florida's QB threw for 319 yards and 4 touchdowns and looked comfortable running the spread attack.
Stat of the game... 4: DeShawn Wynn scored four touchdowns, becoming the first Gator to record that feat twice.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||12-16||5-12|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-1|
|TD||12:14||RAFAEL LITTLE 1 YD RUN (TAYLOR BEGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 16 yards.
|TD||8:42||DESHAWN WYNN 16 YD PASS FROM CHRIS LEAK (CHRIS HETLAND KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||1:29||CHAD JACKSON 11 YD PASS FROM CHRIS LEAK (CHRIS HETLAND KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 87 yards.
|TD||13:48||DESHAWN WYNN 3 YD RUN (CHRIS HETLAND KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 72 yards.
|TD||11:11||DESHAWN WYNN 1 YD RUN (CHRIS HETLAND KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 29 yards.
|TD||4:57||DALLAS BAKER 16 YD PASS FROM CHRIS LEAK (CHRIS HETLAND KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 67 yards.
|TD||2:17||CHAD JACKSON 6 YD PASS FROM CHRIS LEAK (CHRIS HETLAND KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 58 yards.
|TD||1:44||DESHAWN WYNN 1 YD RUN (CHRIS HETLAND KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 30 yards.
|TD||12:38||GLENN HOLT JR. 5 YD RUN (TAYLOR BEGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 51 yards.
|TD||8:34||CURTIS PULLEY 2 YD RUN (TAYLOR BEGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 93 yards.
|TD||6:49||CURTIS PULLEY 18 YD RUN (TAYLOR BEGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 42 yards.