GAINESVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Ciatrick Fason and a stellar defensive performance helped No. 16 Florida overcome a poor effort from Chris Leak.
Fason ran 31 times for 210 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes for 43 yards and another score as the Gators beat Southeastern Conference foe Kentucky for an 18th straight meeting, 20-3.
"He had a stellar game," Gators coach Ron Zook said of Fason. "We haven't had someone rush like that since Emmitt Smith. His hard work and is paying off and it showed in him having a big game today. He keeps plugging away and it showed today."
Leak, the Gators' star sophomore quarterback, completed 25-of-43 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted a career high-tying three times.
"Chris was off. He had some passes dropped," Zook said. "But I am not concerned. He's still the real deal. Some of his throws were off and some were late, but he's still a great player."
The Gators (2-1, 1-1 SEC East) yielded just 207 yards as they beat the Wildcats (1-2, 0-1) for the 12th consecutive time in Gainesville.
"We couldn't get in sync," said Kentucky coach Rich Brooks, making his first visit to 'The Swamp.' "They were dominant up front. We had some chances, just couldn't capitalize on any momentum off turnovers."
Fason gave Florida the lead for good, 10-3, on a 46-yard burst with 9:09 remaining in the second quarter, breaking several tackles on the run.
"The offensive line made some great holes and I got blocking down the field," Fason said. "Once we took control of the line we just kept running the plays that worked."
Leak made several poor throws, including one that was picked off by Kentucky safety Muhammad Abdullah in the end zone with 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Florida scored just seven points in five trips inside the Kentucky 10 - a seven-yard pass from Leak to Fason with 4:08 remaining.
"We made some big plays, then had some that we'd like to have back," said Leak, who made his fist start last year in Lexington.
Wildcats quarterback Shane Boyd went 17-of-35 for 134 yards and an interception.
The Wildcats opened the scoring on Taylor Begle's career-long 51-yard field goal. Matt Leach countered with a 40-yarder as time expired in the first quarter.
"The unfortunate thing about this game is I thought we had some opportunities early," Brooks said. "The defense was bending not breaking. The bottom line is we were kept out of the end zone."
The start of the game was moved up from 6:00 p.m. EDT to 11:30 a.m. due to the threat of Hurricane Jeanne. Rain fell heavily toward the end of the contest.