LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Saturday night’s game against Florida is a chance for Kentucky to prove itself as a top-25 college football team.
This is a chance for the Wildcats to stamp themselves as the second-best team in the East Division of the Southeastern Conference against the No. 10 Gators.
This is a chance for the rebuilt and reimagined Kentucky offense to confirm its modernized improvement.
“To be honest with you, Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen, I like their stuff,” ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky said on the Kap & J. Hood radio show in Chicago Thursday morning. “It’s very, very NFL based, very Sean McVey ... I love that system. I kind of like what they are doing.”
This is a chance for coach Mark Stoops, his staff and the UK players to entertain and energize what is expected to be a sold-out crowd of 61,000.
TIME: Saturday, 6 p.m., Kroger Field, Lexington.
WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN: TV — ESPN (Bob Wischusen, play by play; Orlovsky, analyst; Kris Budden, sidelines); RADIO — UK Radio Network, 840 AM, WHAS (Tom Leach, play by play; Jeff Piecoro, analyst; Dick Gabriel, sidelines).
THE LINE: Florida by 8, over/under total points 55.
THE LAST TIME: Florida defeated the Wildcats, 34-10, in Gainesville last December.
THE RECORDS: Florida is 3-1, with the loss by two points to top-ranked Alabama; Kentucky is 4-0 with a pair of SEC victories.
PLAYER TO WATCH FLORIDA: Emory Jones leads SEC quarterbacks in rushing with 375 yards, averaging nearly 6.6 yards per carry. But Jones could be a short leash because he has thrown more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (four). Redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson has returned from an injury and is predicted to be the next great Florida quarterback. The Gators’ quarterbacks are coached by former University of Louisville offensive coordinator Garrick McGee.
PLAYER TO WATCH KENTUCKY: Florida ranks 13th in the SEC in passing defense. That means UK receiver Wan’Dale Robinson should be positioned for a big game. Robinson ranks third in the SEC with 25 catches and second in receiving yards at 100.5 per game.
SIDELINE STORYLINES: Florida has already lost to Alabama. A Kentucky victory would move the Wildcats two games ahead of the Gators in the SEC East standings and give UK the tiebreaker with a visit by LSU booked for next weekend. Florida has won 16 consecutive games in Lexington. The Gators’ last loss at Kentucky was in 1986. Florida coach Dan Mullen has a career record of 10-2 against UK, which includes eight wins in nine games when Mullen was the head coach at Mississippi State. The Gators rank ninth nationally in offensive yards per game, while the Wildcats rank ninth in yards allowed. Florida has gained 400 yards or more in nine consecutive games. Kentucky is trying for its fourth 5-0 start in 70 seasons, matching 2018, 2007 and 1984. A victory would be No. 54 for Stoops at UK, just six away from tying Bear Bryant as the winningest coach in program history.
THE QUOTE: From Orlovsky: “This should be a good game. Kentucky’s got a good defense. Florida is very run dominant. The big thing is Florida has had so many big plays ... sometimes it’s trick plays. If you can keep those big plays in balance. (Florida) has a young quarterback named Anthony Richardson who’s actually electric. But he’s been hurt a little bit with a hamstring. I think it’s going to be a good game. Kentucky’s defense is very sound. They are the most disciplined defense I’ve seen on tape this year. So they’re going to make Florida go and earn their stuff.”
THE PICK: Kentucky 31, Florida 28.
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