Kentucky's Ray Davis runs wild in 33-14 win over No. 22 Florida

Ray Davis had one of the best single-game performances in Kentucky history

Kentucky running back Ray Davis (1) celebrates his touchdown in the end zone against Florida in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Michelle Haas Hutchins)

Ray Davis ran wild in Kentucky’s 33-14 win over No. 22 Florida.

Davis, a transfer from Vanderbilt, had one of the best single-game performances in Kentucky history as he rushed for 280 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Davis also caught a nine-yard touchdown in the ballgame, giving him four scores in all.

The 280-yard outing marked the third-best single-game rushing output in Kentucky history, trailing only Moe Williams’ 299 yards vs. South Carolina in 1995 and Lynn Bowden’s 284 yards vs. Louisville in 2019.

Davis set the tone early as he went for 10 and 19 yards on the first two plays of the game. Later on in the first quarter, he reeled off a 75-yard touchdown run as Kentucky built an early 16-0 lead.

By halftime, Davis had already accumulated 206 yards on the ground while Florida had just 154 yards as a team as the Wildcats built a 23-7 lead at the break.

Early in the third quarter, Davis would add yet another touchdown and continue adding to his rushing totals. On Davis’ fourth touchdown of the day, Florida mistakenly had 13 players on the field. The Gators still couldn’t stop Davis.

In all, Kentucky rushed for 329 yards in the win. And the 280 yards from Davis were the second-most rushing yards Florida has ever allowed by a single player. Only the 287-yard outing from LSU’s Tyrion Davis-Price in 2021 topped Davis. In the process, Davis surged past familiar names like Herschel Walker (238 in 1980, 219 in 1982), Marcus Lattimore (212 in 2010) and Willis McGahee (204 in 2002).

Kentucky needed a big effort from the ground attack as quarterback Devin Leary struggled, completing only 9-of-20 attempts for 69 yards and a touchdown. Drops by Kentucky receivers didn’t help Leary’s cause, but it was still an uneven performance from the UK passing attack.

The Kentucky defense, meanwhile, limited Florida to only 69 rushing yards on 29 attempts. With the inability to run the ball, Florida had to go to the air. Graham Mertz went 25-of-30 for 244 yards and two scores, but he also threw an interception in the first half that allowed UK to build an early lead.

Kentucky improved to 5-0 with the win and has a trip to Athens to face No. 1 Georgia next week. Florida fell to 3-2 on the year and will look to bounce back next week at home vs. Vanderbilt.