We have a fun SEC affair on Saturday, as the Kentucky Wildcats take on the Florida Gators. The Gators come into the game as the favorite in this game. You can bet Florida at -8.
Florida With Back to Back Wins
The Gators are off to a 2-0 start after a big win over the University of Miami to start the season and a 45-0 win over UT Martin. Florida is now ranked #9 in the nation, and they could very well be a dark horse team for the College Football Playoffs if they finish their season strong.
Last season Kentucky upset Florida at home 27-16 ending a 31-game series slide. Florida defensive back Donovan Stiner called the game a “motivational factor.” and admitted it would be in the back of each player’s mind this week.
Starting under center for the Gators is their Junior quarterback Feleipe Franks. Franks has tallied 524 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions over their first two games.
Florida’s starting running back Lamical Perine has started his senior year with 93 yards and one touchdown off 20 attempts over their first two games. His workload should increase in this game if they can get out to an early lead on the Wildcats.
This year Florida has averaged 34.5 points per game while allowing just 10. These numbers are a little inflated after facing such an easy opponent last week, their week one game against Miami that ended 24-20 showed more of their true colors as a team. In that game, Florida looked sloppy but proved they could fight through some adversity and get a tough win.
The Wildcats have started their season 2-0 with wins over Eastern Michigan and Toledo. Kentucky put up 38 points in both games while allowing 24 and 17.
Kentucky is posting 441 yards per game while allowing 336.5. Florida’s offense should look to get going on this Kentucky defense, the story of the game will be Kentucky surviving Florida’s excellent pass rush.
After suffering a torn patellar tendon Terry Wilson, the quarterback that upset Florida last year will be out for the season. Junior transfer Sawyer Smith took over last week and looked good against a much weaker defense than what Florida will provide.
Sawyer is a junior transfer from Troy, he is very capable of running this offense for the remainder of the season, but he will be facing a very tough test in his first start against this Gator defense.
Florida currently has 15 sacks over their first two games, when a team has a rush like that it is impossible to stop completely, but Kentucky will have to limit it as much as possible if they want a chance at another upset this season.
Freshman running back Kavosiey Smoke has been getting it done on the ground for Kentucky this year and will most likely have a more significant role with their starting quarterback down. Over their first two games, Smoke has 18 attempts resulting in 170 yards and two touchdowns; This gives him an outstanding 9.4 yards per carry average.
What to expect
After a big upset last season, this should be an emotionally charged game from start to finish. Look for Florida’s outstanding pass rush to be emotionally charged and even more explosive from the first snap. The Wildcats will have to have a solid gameplan in place to get the ball out of their new starting quarterback’s hands fast to keep him out of trouble and to keep drives from stalling early.
Despite Florida having a better roster, this should be a close game where the team that makes the fewest mistakes will win. I believe Florida will get the win here and they will finally be able to get last year’s loss off their back and allow them to focus on moving up toward the bowl season. Bet the Gators -8.