This week is arguably the most important game of the season for the Wildcats. If we win we have the chance to repeat the success of last year. If we lose, it’ll be really hard to not take a step back. Now, most everyone expected Kentucky to take a step back but Mark Stoops and company really don’t care what everyone expects. They seem to thrive on proving people wrong.
Obviously everyone will be talking about early season injuries to some key players for both teams in this game. Terry Wilson is out for the year like most of us know and Sawyer Smith will make his first start as a Wildcat against a very tough defense. Florida has two injuries that could keep both from traveling to Lexington this weekend. Kadarius Toney (shoulder) and CJ Henderson (ankle) are described as the Gators most dynamic playmakers and that could have played a big role in the conference opener.
Florida comes in with a 2-0 record after beating Miami and UT Martin and they are a 8 point favorite. Feleipe Franks is back at the helm after starting every game last year for the Gators. Franks went 17-27 with 2 interceptions against Miami but did throw for 2 touchdowns and run for another. He accounted for 216 yards per game last year combining his passing yardage with his running yards. The wide outs have not been impressive this season with no one averaging over 58 yards per game this year. The rushing game has been less than impressive as well with no one averaging over 47 yards per game. To compare Kentucky has Smoke who is averaging 85 ypg and AJ Rose with 73 ypg in the rushing game and our two leading receivers are Bowden with 65.5 ypg and Wagner with 64 ypg.
Defense will be the key in Saturday’s match up. Florida is allowing less yards through the air and on the ground than Kentucky is and one could argue that they have faced tougher competition in at least the opening week. The defense for Florida has came up with 15 sacks already this year but has only came up with 1 turnover. Kentucky’s defense has only 6 sacks but has came up with 3 interceptions. I expect our offensive line to do well enough to give us a shot to take some shots downfield and open some holes for our backs to get some penetration. Franks doesn’t scare me at all against our young talented secondary and with the speedy Toney out, I don’t see us having a problem sideline to sideline. It’ll all come down to 3rd down stops in my opinion. The atmosphere at Kroger Field is going to be amazing and I hope everyone reading this will join me in bringing noise and energy to the stadium Saturday night!