Austin MacGinnis helps Kentucky force OT, but final FG sails right in 36-30 loss at Florida



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GAINESVILLE, Florida — Austin MacGinnis had the best and worst moments of his college career in the same game Saturday night.

Kentucky's kicker made a 51-yard field goal to tie Florida late in regulation and then missed a 41-yarder in the third overtime.

Florida's Matt Jones scored from 1 yard out on the next possession, giving the Gators a 36-30 victory that extended the Gators' winning streak in the Southeastern Conference series to 28 games.

"Just hit it off my toe," MacGinnis said.

Despite the loss, the Wildcats feel like they're headed in the right direction under second-year coach Mark Stoops.

Though they refuse to call the gut-wrenching loss a moral victory.

"It was a difficult loss, as you can imagine," Stoops said. "They left it all on the field. There's things we could all do better, we will do better. But again, we are not in the business of any kind of moral victory or anything like that."

Florida was an 18-point favorite in the game, no surprise given how lopsided the series has been. The Gators haven't lost to Kentucky since 1986 and haven't lost a game against the Wildcats at Florida Field since 1979.

The streak looked to be in jeopardy several times late in the SEC opener for both teams.

"We definitely saw progress in how we played tonight," said receiver Garrett Johnson, who caught six passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns. "We didn't come out with a victory, which was what we wanted, but that'll just be fuel for the fire."

On Kentucky's first play of overtime, Stanley Williams reversed field, outran several tacklers and scored from 25 yards out. The Gators struggled to answer, but eventually did on a fourth-down play that surely will go down in series lore.

On fourth-and-7 from the 9-yard line, Jeff Driskel floated a ball to the back corner of the end zone and found Demarcus Robinson.

Robinson posed issues all night for Kentucky, finishing with 15 catches for 216 yards and two scores.

The teams exchanged field goals in the second overtime. Florida could have found the end zone, but Driskel was late delivering the ball to Robinson near the front pylon.

Frankie Velez hit from 20-yard out to send it to the third extra frame.

Velez missed from 39 yards out in the fourth quarter that would have given Florida a little more breathing room in a three-point game. That allowed Kentucky to tie it on MacGinnis' 51-yarder.

Austin Hardin, Florida's stronger-legged kicker, had a chance to win it regulation. But he pushed his 52-yarder wide right.

Florida trailed twice in the third quarter, falling behind 10-6 and then 17-13 on touchdown passes from Patrick Towles to Johnson.

Towles picked apart Florida's inexperienced secondary, throwing for 369 yards and three touchdowns. A chunk of those yards went to Johnson, who burned the Gators for a 60-yard touchdown, and then added a 33-yard score on the next drive.

"It felt great to finally put one in," Johnson said.

Florida looked to be in big trouble after those plays.

But Robinson bailed them out. He caught a ball that ricocheted off Fred Tiller's hands and turned it into a 33-yard gain. Driskel found Tevin Westbrook for a 10-yard score on the next play.

Robinson was even better on the next drive, catching three passes for 42 yards, including a 9-yard score that put Florida ahead. It looked like it would be for good, but Towles put the Wildcats in position for the game-tying field goal.

Robinson's best, though, was his last catch — the fourth-down play in the first overtime.

"It's exciting," Driskel said. "Those are the plays you live for."

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