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Dooley At The Half: Toney game-changer for Gators

Pat Dooley
Gator Sports
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Florida's Kadarius Toney runs a punt back for a touchdown late in the second quarter Saturday against Kentucky at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Sun sports columnist Pat Dooley brings you one last look at the first half of a Florida game. Today, it is Florida vs. Kentucky.

The Dan Mullen philosophy of kicking off to start the game is based on getting a possession at the end of the first half (and scoring) and the start of the second. It blew open last week's game. And it might have worked again if not for a Stone Forsythe facemask penalty that killed a promising drive at the end of the half. But the Gators held and set up the play of the first half. The Gators put two returners back and Xzavier Henderson ran to the right as if he was going to field the ball. Instead, it went to Kadarius Toney, who ran 50 yards for a touchdown. So, even on Florida's worst half of the season, it managed to escape with a 14-10 lead.

 As well as Florida's tight ends have been playing with the absence of Kyle Pitts, we  saw on Florida's first possession how special the tight end is. He took a pass over the middle and outran defensive back Kelvin Joseph for a 56-yard touchdown. Not a lot of tight ends can run like that.

• Unfortunately, that was one of the few offensive highlights of the first half. Florida had a fumble by Justin Shorter and the defense couldn't get off the field. Florida ran only 15 plays in the first 27:43 and only 21 in the entire first half. It didn't hurt the Kentucky cause that the Wildcats were penalized zero times in the half. 

• This defense will make a grown man cry the way guys still haven't figured out where to line up over and over again. Early in the game, Kentucky went for a fourth down and Florida left tight end Keaton Upshaw uncovered. This is Game 8. That should not be happening. The Gators also were gashed with running plays on the 87-yard drive that ended with a field goal. Kentucky had six running plays on that drive of at least five yards.

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