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Last Time Kentucky Beat Florida, No Current Player Was Born Yet

This story appears courtesy of KY Forward and is written by Jon Hale. KY Forward's coverage of UK Athletics is sponsored by Republic Bank.

For all the shortcomings of the Joker Phillips Era, the former UK head coach was successful in ending some of the historic losing streaks that have plagued the program.

The Cats ended a 17-game losing streak to Steve Spurrier with a win versus South Carolina in 2010. In 2011, they ended a 26-game losing streak to Tennessee with an improbable win in the season finale with wide receiver Matt Roark playing quarterback.

New head coach Mark Stoops will get his first test at streak-busting Saturday when UK attempts to snap the 26-game losing streak to Florida.

“Sure, I think it’s motivation,” Stoops said of snapping the steak. “I do. I think it needs to be talked about, but that can’t be the focal point. We have to get better each and every day, each and every game.”

UK’s last win versus Florida came in 1986, a 10-3 win in Lexington. That victory actually snapped a six-game losing streak in the series, meaning Florida has won 34 of the last 35 meetings between the two teams.

No player currently on the UK roster was alive the last time the Wildcats defeated the Gators in Football.

Stoops was a freshman at the University of Iowa when UK last defeated Florida. Just one of his assistant coaches, safeties coach and special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto, was in college at the time of the win.

While UK players generally acknowledged they were aware of the streak, they said they were not worried about the pressure of ending the longest active losing streak in an annual series in the country.

“I just know we lost to them the last two years,” said junior defensive end Bud Dupree.

“We know about the streak, just like we did with the Tennessee and Spurrier streak, those things,” said senior tailback Raymond Sanders. “But we also have to prepare well and go out and play well so we’re able to end that streak.”

That attitude is OK with Stoops.

He has addressed the streak with players this week, but his message has not changed since taking the UK job.

“Control what we can control,” he said. “Control today, this upcoming day. We’re trying to get better one day at a time, one play at a time.”

Sanders is focused on practicing hard this week so they have a chance to pull off the upset, but he admitted ending a third historic losing streak in his career has some allure.

“It would be something great to be a part of, to say that I ended three streaks that were going on here,” he said. “To be a part of those teams is something special. I don’t want to get too much into it. It’s something you can’t really worry about now. But it would be a special.”

Written by Jon Hale

Photo: Maxwell Smith throws a pass in Florida’s last trip to Commonwealth Stadium (KyForward File photo by Mark Boxley)