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So Close: Heartbreaker in Gainesville as Florida Holds Off Kentucky in 3 OTs

Kentucky was so close to ending a losing streak to Florida, one that has extended from 1986. On a sweltering night in Gainesville, where Kentucky had not win since 1979, the Gators handed the Wildcats a triple-overtime heartbreaker.

What started as a low-scoring battle between punters with a tied halftime score of 3, ended as a second half shootout with the teams trading touchdowns down the stretch.

Led by quarterback Patrick Towles, a product of Highlands High School, the Wildcats went toe to toe with the heavily favored Gators, and after a miracle 51-yard UK field goal knotted the game at 20 with under 4:00 minutes to play, Florida had one last shot to win, but the Gators' last-second attempt at a field goal form 52 yards away went wide right.

The Wildcats scored right off the bat in overtime, taking a 27-20 lead, but Florida had a miracle up its sleeve, too, and scored on 4th and 7 as UK Head Coach Mark Stoops argued that the play clock had expired, a charge possibly supported by video. 

To second overtime they went where UK elected to start on defense and held Florida to a field goal. With UK on the ropes, facing 3rd and long, a face mask call on the Gators gave UK a fresh first down at the Florida 15. The Cats had to settle for a field goal of their own, tying the game at 30 and sending it to a third overtime.

That's where a 42-yard field goal attempt by Kentucky's Austin MacGinnis went right, giving Florida the possibility of victory with only a field goal in its next possession. Florida got more than that, though, pushing the ball all the way to the end zone, and winning the game 36-0.

Kentucky is now 2-1 (0-1 SEC) on the season. 

The River City News will have more on the game later Sunday morning.

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-Staff report

Photo via UK Athletics