Florida Gators downplay 24-game football winning streak against Kentucky Wildcats

Chris Rainey, who won two weekly honors for his performance against Tennessee, and Florida will seek a 25th straight victory over Kentucky.

BRUCE MOYER | Times

Chris Rainey, who won two weekly honors for his performance against Tennessee, and Florida will seek a 25th straight victory over Kentucky.

GAINESVILLE — Where were you in 1986?

Is it so far back you don't want to remember? Even worse, you can't remember?

For the members of the Florida and Kentucky football teams, it's so far back that no player on the Gator roster was born before 1988.

Yet 1986 is among the story lines this week as No. 15 Florida prepares for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Kentucky on Saturday. The Wildcats have lost 24 straight to the Gators, with their last win in 1986 (10-3 in Lexington, when Florida was coached by Galen Hall and quarterbacked by Kerwin Bell). But it seems everyone involved with the game this week is downplaying the streak.

"I think it has zero factor in what is going to happen Saturday night," UF coach Will Muschamp said.

For Gators QB John Brantley, his job is to make sure it doesn't become a topic of conversation.

"You've got to put that in the past," Brantley said. "That's a cool thing, but we've got to worry about this year, this weekend coming up. … We're just going to prepare hard this week like any other game."

Kentucky is also avoiding the subject if possible.

"No, that was the past," Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said when asked if he would talk about the streak with his players. "That's the past. We don't talk about the past. We talk about the present. The present, this team is the team that has to play Florida, not those last teams that played them."

Honors: After his impressive performance in Saturday's 33-23 win over Tennessee, UF senior RB Chris Rainey received national and league honors. He was named Walter Camp national offensive player of the week Sunday and named the SEC co-offensive player of the week Monday. K Caleb Sturgis was named SEC special teams player of the week. Rainey had a season-high 233 all-purpose yards — 108 rushing, 104 receiving, 21 on punt returns — and shared the SEC award with South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore, who rushed for a career-high 246 yards on 37 carries in a 24-21 win against Navy. Sturgis scored a career-high 15 points, going 4-for-4 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points.

Case closed: Sophomore S Matt Elam has settled his legal troubles. He was cited in July on a charge of possession of alcohol by a minor. According to Alachua County court records, he has been ordered to perform 12 hours of community service, pay $291 in court fees and is under six months of supervised probation.

Injury updates: Freshman Trip Thurman, a 6-foot-6 guard from Dover, Del., had shoulder surgery Monday and is out for the season. "He's a guy that we felt like could help us this year," Muschamp said. "He's a very talented guy. With the situation with his shoulder, we needed to get that cleaned up." … CB Jeremy Brown, who has not played all season, is expected to miss at least two more weeks. Muschamp said the knee "is just not responding," but no surgery is required. … TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) is questionable.

Finley back: LB Dee Finley will return this week after serving a one-game suspension for his arrest last week on charges of driving with a suspended license and resisting violence without arrest.

Up for grabs: Kickoff for the Gators' home game against Alabama is up for grabs. CBS said Monday that it will to use its six-day selection window for games played Oct. 1. The network has a doubleheader scheduled that week with games at 3:30 and 9 p.m. The games being held are Alabama at Florida, Texas A&M at Arkansas and Auburn at South Carolina. Two will be on CBS. The third will be televised on ESPN at noon.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

Florida Gators downplay 24-game football winning streak against Kentucky Wildcats 09/19/11 [Last modified: Monday, September 19, 2011 11:20pm]

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