Florida Football Countdown

Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 11, 2014 at 11:48 p.m.

18 … Largest deficit the Gators have overcome.

The big news on Sept. 27, 2003 was that freshman Chris Leak was going to make his first start. It almost turned into even bigger news because it appeared Kentucky was going to finally break its 16-game losing streak against the Gators.

The Wildcats charged to a 21-3 lead after three quarters behind quarterback Jared Lorenzen, the Round Mound of Touchdowns. Leak put together a drive early in the fourth quarter that ended when he hit Carlos Perez with a 3-yard scoring pass.

The next time Florida got the ball, Leak threw his second interception of the day. But a Keiwan Ratliff punt return set the Gators up in Kentucky territory. This time Leak found Perez on a slant pattern for a 10-yard score to cut the lead to 21-16.

Then came the play that changed the game. Lorenzen dropped back to pass and Florida linebacker Channing Crowder came on a blitz. Crowder got to Lorenzen but couldn’t bring him down. With Crowder hanging on for dear life, Lorenzen threw one up for grabs. Florida’s Johnny Lamar picked it off and returned it 35 yards to the Kentucky 1-yard line. Ran Carthon punched it in and Leak hit Kelvin Kight on a 2-point conversion to make it 24-21 with 3:15 to play.

Kentucky’s Taylor Begley missed a 50-yard field goal with 44 seconds to play and UF had pulled off the biggest comeback in school history.

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