Dan Mullen makes wrong kind of history in 2nd game with Gators

Dan Mullen

It finally happened, the planets finally aligned and pigs have finally flown. For the first time in 11,620 days the Kentucky Wildcats have beaten the Florida Gators on the gridiron.

Dan Mullen and the Gators felt good about themselves following last Saturdays 53-6 thrashing of Charleston Southern and as good as that felt, multiply that by about 100 and this is how bad it feels right now in Gainesville.

One constant over the last 32 years, no matter how bad things got in Gainesville and no matter how bad the heartbreak has been in Gator Nation, Florida could always count on beating Kentucky.

That is all over now.

Kentucky came to The Swamp and simply outplayed Florida Saturday night. The Wildcats left with a 27-16 victory, their first victory in Gainesville since 1979. The loss sending Gator fans into a downward spiral many have never experienced.

What happened is almost unimaginable.

Florida fans were quick to run Ron Zook, Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain out of town over the past 15 years, but those three men all have one thing in common: they never lost to Kentucky.

The Gators were lackluster on offense looking stagnant while managing those 16 points. The Gator defense missed too many tackles to count on a night where it could not get stops when it needed them.

The night was best summed up when with under three minutes to go with Kentucky facing a second down and seven and Florida desperately trying to get the ball back, the Gators were called for a 12 men on the field penalty following a timeout.

Following a timeout?

That is simply inexcusable.

A week after throwing five touchdowns, Gator quarterback Feleipe Franks was largely ineffective, missing open receivers down field all game.

On this night, it wasn’t just the offense or defense who cost the team victory, this loss was a total team effort which should worry Florida fans in a big way. Florida was outplayed, out-coached and beat up by a team that was thought to be inferior. After all, the Wildcats had been inferior for the past 32 years.

This is just one loss. It is just one of 12 football games on the Gators 2018 schedule, but this loss hurts more so than many others. A team that Florida had beaten 31 times in a row came into its house and pushed it around.

Kentucky fans, coaches and players celebrated in The Swamp like it was 1986 and with good reason. They were simply the better football team on this night.

Gator fans need to trust that Dan Mullen will be able to turn the program around; they need to believe he is the right man to bring Florida back to national prominence.

But on Saturday they witnessed a harsh reality of how long and difficult that journey will be. The reality of their first loss to Kentucky in 32 years.

(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)

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