The result — a 27-16 loss — was a stunner for a program that was hoping for its 32nd straight win against Kentucky.
But the key, said UF receiver Josh Hammond, is letting it go like an old pair of shoes.
“It’s over with. There’s nothing we can do about it right now,” said Hammond. “Nobody can have their heads down. We can’t let our season go to waste kind of like we did last year.”
You remember last year.
Florida beat Kentucky in 2017, but lost six of its last seven to go 4-7 and miss a bowl game for the second time in five seasons.
Suddenly this season, just going to a bowl game feels like a lofty goal for a team that struggled to run the ball and couldn’t stop the run.
Coach Dan Mullen’s message to the Gators after the loss was simple — the rest of the season starts Monday with practice.
“We have to get back to work,” Mullen said. “We’ve got to practice with an intensity level that’s going to allow you to perform on Saturday.
“We’ve got to find a way to get better.”
Against Kentucky, Florida’s running backs only ran the ball 15 times for 74 yards.
“We probably weren’t patient enough,” Mullen said.
And one reason for that was Florida’s inability to get Kentucky off the field. The Wildcats never had a three-and-out in the game and rushed for 303 yards against the Florida defense. As a result, Kentucky had 31:10 of possession time despite Florida running 10 more plays.
And because they were struggling to run the ball, the Gators basically abandoned it.
“It’s real tough,” Hammond said. “Give Kentucky credit. We have to come out to practice and execute and be more physical.
“One thing Coach Mullen points out was that teams that won the national championship weren’t undefeated.”
Anybody thinking national championships right now?
“We have to be ready to work, grind, come out Monday ready to work,” Hammond said. “The biggest thing is we can’t dwell on the past too long. That happened last year. We lost, we lost again, then lost again. It got to a point where everybody was hanging their heads.”