The 18th ranked (latest Last Word poll), Florida Gators will be on the road, as they take on their SEC East rivals, the Kentucky Wildcats. Both teams are coming off big wins. Some experts have picked against both team to win. The Gators knocked off the Tennessee Volunteers 26-20 with a 63-yard touchdown pass as time expired. The Kentucky Wildcats won the road and beat the South Carolina Gamecocks 23-13. The Florida Gators currently have a 30-game winning streak against the Kentucky Wildcats. The last time these two teams played each other, the Gators throttled the Wildcats 45-7. Here is the preview for the Florida Gators-Kentucky Wildcats game.
The Gators are coming off their first win of the season, which came in dramatic fashion. Their confidence should be sky high with such a big win against one of Florida’s biggest rivals. Starting quarterback, Feleipe Franks matured a lot during last week’s game. He showed the coaching staff that he is capable of making the big plays and not falling under pressure. The Gators must open up the playbook and let Franks air it out against the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky is the 3rd ranked rushing defense in the country but has struggled in pass coverage. The Wildcats will struggle to handle Tyrie Cleveland and Kadarius Toney. If you do want to run the football, give it to Malik Davis. The freshman looks to be Florida’s most explosive RB and can really hurt Kentucky’s defense if he can get to the outside.
The key to Florida’s defense is stopping the Kentucky rushing attack. Kentucky isn’t very good in the passing game but there bread and butter on offense is rushing. Benny Snell has 272 rushing yards and three touchdowns but Kentucky’s quarterback Stephen Johnson should be Florida’s biggest concern. Johnson isn’t the greatest passing quarterback averaging around 180 passing yards a game but he can really hurt teams with his legs. Florida must keep Johnson in the pocket and force him to beat Florida with his arm. Florida’s defensive ends must keep containment and not allow Johnson to get out of the pocket and make plays with his legs. Florida’s secondary shouldn’t have an issue with Kentucky’s wide receivers especially if Duke Dawson is able to go. Force Kentucky to throw the football and it could be a long night for the Wildcats offense.
Just like the Florida Gators, the Kentucky Wildcats are also coming off a big win. The Wildcats beat the South Carolina Gamecocks 23-13. With that win, the Wildcats are now 3-0 on the season and have been waiting to take on the Gators and try to snap the streak. The Wildcats offense has struggled at times, this season and they seem to not have any explosive players that can cause problems for defenses. The best offensive weapon on the Kentucky Wildcats is Benny Snell. He is their leading rusher and he has more touchdowns than anybody else on the Wildcats. Quarterback Stephen Johnson doesn’t scare in the passing game but he can really make plays with his legs. For the Wildcats to beat the Gators, Johnson must get to the outside of the pocket and extend plays with his escaping ability. Getting out of the pocket should help Kentucky’s chances of winning.
On defense, the Kentucky Wildcats have to make Florida one dimensional. The Wildcats have had a lot of success in shutting down the run game but this will be their toughest task. Florida has three running backs available to them and all of them bring different strong attributes. Kentucky must control the line of scrimmage and force the Gators to throw the ball. If Florida is one dimensional, Kentucky’s defensive end could pin their ears back and attack the quarterback. The Wildcats secondary might not have enough talent to handle the Florida receivers and will need pressure of Franks, from their defensive line. The Wildcats are going to have to play a great defensive game to stay in the game and give themselves a chance on snapping the 30 game losing streak.
5 Players to Watch: Florida Gators
- WR Tyrie Cleveland
- DE Jachai Polite
- QB Feleipe Franks
- RB Malik Davis
- WR Kadarius Toney
5 Players to Watch: Kentucky Wildcats
- Feleipe Franks throws at least two touchdowns.
- Bobby Snell rushes for 75+ yards.
- Florida gets at least two sacks in the game.
- Kentucky’s defense forces one turnover.
- Florida beats Kentucky 28-17