Kentucky faces Florida on Saturday in Lexington. Here are your three keys to a Kentucky win over Florida.
By Steve Wright
Florida week is one of the big ones annually for Kentucky football. It is just a shame that the game this September has been overshadowed by the patella injury suffered by quarterback Terry Wilson last weekend. This season the Wildcats host the Gators and their lofty No. 8 ranking. Let’s take a look at the three keys for this difficult matchup.
Key 1 – An all-timer from Sawyer Smith
The injury to Wilson is the exact reason why former Troy quarterback Sawyer Smith was plucked out of the NCAA transfer portal by Mark Stoops earlier this summer. Smith is not Wilson – a player who seemed primed for a monster year in the system – but he is a big-armed quarterback with some ability to move in his legs.
Smith will be relying on the Kentucky run game to get going to take pressure off of his throws, and if that happens he has shown the arm talent to move the ball for the Wildcats.
Key 2 – Keep Smith clean
The other part of the equation for Smith is that his offensive line just has to find a way to keep him clean. The Florida pass rush has been pretty insane over the first two weeks of the season. The Gators have 15 sacks and 26 tackles for a loss in their first two wins, with both those marks leading the nation in their respective categories.
Expect to see a bunch of plays where the pocket is moved to put less pressure on the offensive tackles given the pass-rushing ability of the Florida defensive ends and outside linebackers.
Key 3 – Stopping the Florida run game
The running games stats against UT Martin look great. The Gators rushed for 231 yards and put up 6.1 yards per carry. The interesting part of this, however, is that the Gators did most of their running work late in the game when the defense of the FCS school fell away. Until the last couple of quarters, and deep into the third at that, the running game was pretty pedestrian.
The best chance Kentucky has to win here is to make Florida one dimensional and force Feleipe Franks to throw the ball to beat the,
Saturday‘s game kicks off at 6:00 PM CT (7:00 PM ET). Watch on the ESPN Network.
This Week’s SEC Football News and Analysis
|Game||First Looks||3 Keys|
|Kansas State vs. Mississippi State||KSU||MSU||Preview||KSU 31, MSU 24||Stats|
|Colorado State vs. Arkansas||CSU||Arky||Preview||Arkansas 55, CSU 34||Stats|
|Northwestern St vs. LSU||NWSU||LSU||Preview||LSU 65, NWSU 14||Stats|
|Florida vs. Kentucky||FLA / UK||UK / FLA||Preview||Florida 29, UK 21||Stats|
|Kent State vs. Auburn||Kent St.||Auburn||Preview||Auburn 55, Kent St. 16||Stats|
|Alabama vs. South Carolina||USC / Bama||Bama / USC||Preview||Bama 47, USC 23||Stats|
|SE Missouri St vs. Missouri||SEMO||Mizzou||Preview||Mizzou 50, SEMO 0||Stats|
|Lamar vs. Texas A&M||Lamar||Texas A&M||Preview||TAMU 62, Lamar 3||Stats|
|Arkansas St. vs. Georgia||Ark. State||UGA||Preview||UGA 55, ASU 0||Stats|
|Chattanooga vs. Tennessee||UTC||Tennessee||Preview||Tennessee 45, UTC 0||Stats|
|SE Louisiana vs. Ole Miss||SE Louisiana||Ole Miss||Preview||Ole Miss 40, SELA 29||Stats|