GAINESVILLE — They kept promising that sooner, rather than later, it would all come together.
That the struggling, sometimes bumbling offense would eventually correct its mistakes, get the passing game going and complement it with a stronger running game — that didn't just involve Jeff Demps.
That the defense, loaded with youth and inexperience, would get better.
And that eventually, the two would materialize in the same game for four quarters.
No. 9 Florida delivered on that promise Saturday with the help of a multitalented freshman.
Quarterback/running back/receiver Trey Burton accounted for 36 points and all six offensive touchdowns, setting a school freshman record for touchdowns in a 48-14 victory over Kentucky in front of 90,547 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Burton scored five rushing touchdowns and also had his first career receiving touchdown. He became just the fourth player in SEC history to score six or more touchdowns in a game and the first since Auburn's Cadillac Williams in 2003.
"It was awesome. He deserves it," said Florida quarterback John Brantley, who was 24-of-35 for 248 yards. "He works so hard, and he does anything for this team. He came in as a quarterback, and we ask him to do a lot of things. And you know what? He has open arms about it.
"He's open-minded. He just wants to make this team better, and he's doing that."
Burton broke Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow's school record of five touchdowns set in 2007 against South Carolina.
"Trey Burton was fantastic," Gators coach Urban Meyer said.
Burton's performance — and Florida's overall complete game — couldn't have come at a better time.
The No. 9 Gators (4-0, 2-0 SEC) go to Tuscaloosa this week to face defending national champion and No. 1 Alabama. The Tide (4-0, 1-0) is coming off its toughest test of the season, a 24-20 comeback victory at No. 10 Arkansas.
"Absolutely, without a doubt," Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said about feeling validated that his team is improving as he has said all along it would. "Everyone wants to get some validation of their work. And our guys have been working really hard."
It was the first time this season Florida scored 40 points, and it was the 24th consecutive victory for the Gators over the Wildcats dating to 1986.
Florida had 466 yards of offense, and Brantley connected on passes to eight different receivers — the longest a 30-yarder to Deonte Thompson. The Gators also had 176 rushing yards.
The Wildcats (3-1, 0-1) entered as the SEC's No. 3 rushing offense (242 yards per game), but Florida held them to 99. They also had the league's leading rusher in Derrick Locke. He rushed for 103 yards, but 49 of those came in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand.
After failing to score in the opening quarter of its first three games, Florida jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter Saturday. Freshman receiver Andre Debose, who had been missing from the offense so far this season, had two receptions for 31 yards in the drive. Then a 20-yard completion from Brantley to Thompson set up an 11-yard touchdown run by Burton, giving the Gators a 7-0 lead 3:51 into the game.
Burton went on to score on an 11-yard pass from Brantley and runs of 10, 9, 3 and 7 yards.
"Coach Meyer said something about getting the ball more this week," Burton said.
"But I didn't know how many times."
And when the Gators offense did make mistakes, the defense came up big.
It had two interceptions, including one by cornerback Jeremy Brown that he returned 52 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead with 6:14 remaining in the first half.
Florida has an interception in 28 of its past 32 games, and its defense has scored a touchdown in three of its four games this season.