There is a very interesting matchup in Lexington on Saturday as the 4-0 Kentucky Wildcats host the 3-1 Florida Gators. Here are the three keys to a Cat win.
By Steve Wright
1 -Win on the ground offensively
This game will be decided by the ability of Florida to run the ball. This isn’t Kyle Trask’s passing game of a year ago, the Gators are winning games with a monster-rushing attack. They have mobile quarterback options, running backs that go with both speed and power, and an offensive line that is both massive and athletic.
Florida is averaging 7.6 yards per carry and well over 300 yards per game on the ground – and one of those games was against Alabama. The Kentucky run D has allowed less than 105 rushing yards against all three FBS teams, but this Florida attack is something special. The Gators need to aim for 250 or so on the ground, controlling the tempo and the clock and taking the Kentucky crowd out of the matchup.
2 – Win the turnover battle
Neither of these teams is great at holding on to the ball, but Kentucky is worse. The Wildcats are -9 in turnover margin and have given up the ball three times in three of their four games so far this season. The Florida defense will be aggressive in the backfield, getting to Penn State transfer quarterback Will Levis and making him throw under duress. Levis has a monster arm, but he will put the ball up for grabs overestimating its strength. A win in the turnover column will make it very hard for Florida to lose this game.
3 – Be better on third down
Kentucky has done an outstanding job this season on third down. The Wildcats are third in the SEC at converting third downs at 54%. The Gators, on the other hand, are just 11th in the league in stopping the other team on third down. Kentucky tailback Chris Rodriguez Jr. is a big reason for this as he has converted 19 of 25 times in his Kentucky career in third-down situations with one to three yards to go. The Florida defensive front will have to get at Rodriguez on third down to stop Kentucky from controlling tempo.