- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Here's a breakdown of the first half of No. 14 Florida's home game against Kentucky.
Stat of the half: The Gators have been terrible on third down on offense this season, converting just 27 percent of their opportunities entering Saturday's game. However, UF converted 5 of 9 third downs in the first half.
Player of the half: Florida hadn't been doing much on offense and seemed a bit listless until CB Jaylen Watkins stepped in front of a Morgan Newton pass and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown that put the Gators ahead 17-0. That seemed to spark the Gators, who added another touchdown and dominated the remaining 8:24 of the half. It was the first interception of Watkins' career.
What's working for Florida: The Gators pass defense has been solid, although part of that is because starting QB Maxwell Smith isn't playing because of a shoulder injury. The Wildcats are going with Newton, but he hasn't had much luck. The Gators have locked down receivers La'Rod King and Aaron Boyd, and Newton has missed several open throws when his receivers have found open space. UF picked off three passes, and Newton managed to complete just 6 of 20 passes for 49 yards.
What's not working for Florida: UF has been a little sloppy on offense and it has cost them several chances at touchdowns instead of field goals. The Gators faced a third-and-goal from the Kentucky 3-yard line, but RT Kyle Koehne was penalized for a false start and QB Jeff Driskel dropped the snap on the next play, and the Gators had to settle for a field goal. Driskel also threw his first interception of the season in the end zone. It was a throw he shouldn't have made because the receiver wasn't open. He did the same thing late in the second quarter -- he tried to hit Frankie Hammond in the back of the end zone -- and he was lucky that one wasn't intercepted as well. Driskel also missed a wide-open Quinton Dunbar in the end zone, but he came right back to him on the next play with an accurate throw. Florida's offense is missing one of its threats, Trey Burton, who is suffering from back spasms.