Bobby Raymond kicked a record six field goals to bail out a Florida offense that found the end zone only once yesterday as the fifth-ranked Gators beat Kentucky, 25-17, claimed their first Southeastern Conference title in 52 seasons and landed Coach Galen Hall a permanent job.
The Gators tied for the SEC title by beating Kentucky, then won it outright when No. 9 Louisiana State was upset by Mississippi State, 16-14.
University president Marshall Criser rewarded Hall with the job as permanent coach after the game in Lexington, Ky. Hall, an assistant at Oklahoma for 18 seasons, joined the Gators' staff as offensive coordinator in February and replaced the fired Charley Pell three games into the season. Yesterday's victory was a school record eighth straight for Florida (8-1-1, 5-0-1).
"They represented every Gator that ever played for the University of Florida. Finally, conference champions!" Criser said. "They are a great, great bunch of Gators, and I thought I'd give them a little news today about the future. Galen Hall is the permanent head coach at the University of Florida."
The NCAA has issued Florida a three-year probation, now under appeal, and the SEC executive committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to let the Gators keep their title and eligibility for this season's bowl games.
"We worked hard all year and deserved the championship," Hall said. "The championship is decided on the field. I know that, you know that. We're champions of the SEC . . ."
Raymond, in addition to breaking the mark for most field goals in one game, tied the one for field goals in a season, with 21. He set both marks last year.
Kentucky (7-3, 2-3) trailed by 12-3 at halftime, but scored the game's first touchdown on quarterback Bill Ransdell's seven-yard pass to wide receiver Joe Phillips with 10:15 left in the third quarter.
Florida countered eight minutes later with freshman quarterback Kerwin Bell's nine-yard touchdown pass to Frankie Neal. Raymond's 36-yard field goal with 11:20 left in the game made it 22-10, then Kentucky scored two minutes later on Ransdell's eight-yard pass to Phillips and the Wildcats trailed, 22-17. But Raymond ended the scoring with a 43-yarder.