GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Chris Leak got booed one series, then
cheered the next.
He may have been a little inconsistent, but he was good enough
for Florida to beat Kentucky for the 20th consecutive time.
Leak threw two touchdown passes, DeShawn Wynn had a second
consecutive 100-yard game and fifth-ranked Florida defeated the
Wildcats 26-7 Saturday night.
The Gators, coming off a big win at Tennessee and getting ready
for a brutal, four-game Southeastern Conference stretch against
Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia, seemed primed for a letdown.
It looked as of it might be a meltdown -- at least early.
Florida (4-0, 2-0) trailed 7-6 with less than 2 minutes to play
in the first half, but Leak directed a 78-yard drive that put the
Gators back in front for good.
Leak hooked up with Dallas Baker on consecutive plays to gain 30
yards. Leak was 5-for-5 for 60 yards on the drive, which Wynn
capped with a 13-yard run. Wynn started right, cut back left and
ran untouched into the end zone with 22 seconds remaining.
"The was key," coach Urban Meyer said. "We were dead in the
water. That obviously gave us some momentum. Up until that point,
we were completely out of sync."
The touchdown followed three unimpressive drives, complete with
penalties, bad throws and sacks -- more than enough poor plays to
irritate Meyer heading into the locker room.
The Gators responded with a touchdown on their opening
possession of the third quarter and played much better defense the
rest of the way. Kentucky, which played without running back/kick
returner Rafael Little and center Matt McCutchan, had 65 yards in
the second half after gaining 184 in the first 30 minutes.
Leak finished 15-of-26 for 267 yards and broke Shane Matthews'
school record for career completions. But he was sacked three times
and intercepted near the goal line.
He was booed early in the fourth quarter when he replaced
freshman Tim Tebow, who had just picked up a first down. Tebow
gained 62 yards on three carries the previous drive, then Leak
replaced him and threw the interception.
"I heard that, too," Meyer said. "At first, I thought they
were booing a flag or a foul or something. I started looking around
and I got what was going on. That's not my business. Chris Leak
played his rear end off and we're 4-0."
Leak silenced his critics with a 7-yard TD pass to Cornelius
Ingram that put the Gators ahead by the final score. He was cheered
coming off the field and when he ran onto the field for the next
"Chris Leak was not playing great, but he played very good,"
Leak's first touchdown came on a trick play. He handed off to
Andre Caldwell, who pitched to Dallas Baker, who tossed back to
Leak. Jemalle Cornelius, meanwhile, got wide open in the end zone
for a 33-yard score.
Baker caught seven passes for 148 yards. Wynn ran 14 times for
104 yards, matching his rushing total against Tennessee.
The Wildcats (2-2, 1-1) moved the ball with relative ease in the
first half against Florida's defense, which had a dominant
performance against the Volunteers.
They advanced into Florida territory on their first five
possessions but managed only a lone touchdown -- a 1-yard pass from
Andre' Woodson to Maurice Grinter with 1:59 remaining.
Woodson's TD pass came two plays after a fumble that bounced in
and out of Florida safety Reggie Nelson's hands. Keenan Burton
recovered for Kentucky, and David Jones followed with a spectacular
-- and fortuitous -- run.
Jones started left, juked two defenders, slammed into Woodson,
cut back right, broke a tackle and nearly scored.
Woodson, who helped the Wildcats win their SEC opener for the
first time in nearly two decades last week, was 26-of-37 for 210
yards and was sacked six times.
It didn't help that Kentucky played without running back and
kick returner Rafael Little and center Matt McCutchan.
"I think we had a pretty good first half. We missed a couple of
opportunities," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... DeShawn Wynn ran in a 13-yard touchdown with 23 seconds remaining in the first half to give Florida a 12-7 lead, which the Gators never relinquished.
Gameball goes to... Chris Leak. The Heisman candidate added to his already gaudy stats: 15-of-26 passing, 268 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Stat of the game... 31: Kentucky's ground game, which gathered just 31 yards on 21 attempts, was practically nonexistant against the Gators.