Florida beat Kentucky 48-14 on Saturday night. But you could also say Trey Burton beat Kentucky 36-14. Or that the Florida eights defeated the Kentucky eights by a score of 7-2. Whichever way you look at it, the Gators beat the Wildcats by a good enough margin to get fans excited about the offense for at least a few days.
The world has now been introduced to Burton, who switched his jersey number before the game, got some sort of supernatural power out of the #8, and the proceeded to set a Gator record by crossing the goal line six times. That’s one more than Tim Tebow’s previous school record. Burton almost passed for a touchdown as well, but Omarius Hines mysteriously tripped on his way down the field.
Or was it all that mysterious? The game saw nine touchdowns. All nine were scored by players wearing the #8 on their jerseys. Hines wears #82. If he had kept his balance, he would have caught it from a #8, but clearly that wasn’t good enough for the football gods. They had made their decision on exactly who could score TDs earlier that night and it just wasn’t in the cards for Hines.
Burton’s final stat line was something of legend. 10 total carries and receptions, six touchdowns, and that 42-yard completion to Hines for good measure. His five rushing touchdowns came on only five carries, almost like you were controlling him in a video game trying to prove you could score on each and every carry. Have to believe the Gators have a good red zone option for the next three or four seasons.
And Burton wasn’t the only bright spot. John Brantley finally broke the 200-yard passing barrier and ended the night with 248. Jeff Demps proved that maybe 26 carries in one game isn’t the best way to use him. Emmanuel Moody looked like he could be the power runner. Carl Moore was great and could be becoming the go-to receiver. And Andre Debose finally got touches, something fans have been desperately waiting for.
On the defensive side of the ball, Duke Lemmens and Justin Trattou continued to overachieve. Jaye Howard is proving to many that he could be the best player along the line. There’s not enough to say about Jon Bostic. And Jeremy Brown made sure the #8 was well represented on the defensive side of the ball as well.
It was a definite step forward for the Gators. After three games there were plenty of question marks and there still are, but it’s a step. A step right toward the #1 team in the nation and Alabama. One that brings along a renewed hope heading into the next game. The defense continued to impress and the offense seemed to stabilize. Hopefully it wasn’t an aberration and was what will become more of the norm.
Florida did a lot right against Kentucky and could have some carried over momentum heading into that matchup with the Crimson Tide. The first quarter of the regular season is over and the Gators are 4-0. Now Florida heads to the proving ground. Bama, LSU, Mississippi State, Georgia. There’s still a long road ahead, but the victory over the Wildcats was reflective of what a top 10 team should be doing. Again, a step forward.