Florida Gators vs. Kentucky Wildcats Preview

Kentucky Wildcats
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 07: Lamical Perine #2 of the Florida Gators celebrates a touchdown during the game against the Tennessee Martin Skyhawks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The Florida Gators will be back on the road as they will play their first true road game of the season. The Gators will be traveling to Lexington, Kentucky to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Last season, the Kentucky Wildcats snapped their 31-game losing streak to the Florida Gators in the Swamp. This will be an intense game as Florida is looking for revenge and Kentucky will try to start a streak of their own. Both of the teams come into this game with 2-0 records. The Florida Gators have a 51-18 record against the Kentucky Wildcats. Here is the preview for the Florida Gators vs. Kentucky Wildcats game.

Kentucky Wildcats

The Kentucky Wildcats will be playing the rest of their games without their starting quarterback. Former JUCO transfer Terry Wilson suffered a leg injury last Saturday which ended his season. The Wildcats will be led by backup quarterback and Troy transfer Sawyer Smith. The graduate transfer got some playing time in Kentucky’s win over Eastern Michigan to prepare himself for their first SEC opponent. Without Wilson, Kentucky’s offense will likely lean on their run game and offensive line. Redshirt-freshman Kavosiey Smoke has been the lead back for the Wildcats early in the season. Smoke has 18 carries for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Asim Rose is another running back to watch for in Kentucky’s backfield. Rose has 33 carries for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. has been Kentucky’s top receiver as he has 13 receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, the Kentucky Wildcats will be looking to come after Feleipe Franks and the Florida Gators offense. Kentucky’s pass rush has been impressive this season with twelve sacks. Josh Paschal leads the Wildcats defense in sacks with three in the first two games of the season. Jordan Wright and Marquan McCall each have two sacks early in the season. Senior defensive end Kash Daniels is going to be a player Florida will keep an eye on. A big key for Kentucky’s defense is to shut down the Florida rushing attack. They’ll try to keep Florida one dimensional and test Franks’ decision making.

Florida Gators

The Florida Gators are off to a nice start to their season with a 2-0 record including a 45-0 shutout against UT Martin last Saturday. Franks is coming off an almost perfect game in which he completed 93% of his passes, threw for two touchdowns and didn’t turn over the football. Senior running back Lamical Perine is a player Kentucky’s defense will need to try to keep in check. If Florida can get the ground game going, it opens up the playbook and would help Franks in the passing game with play action. Florida’s offensive line will need to improve on their run blocking and give the running backs some running lanes. They’ve been better than expected in pass protection but needs to continue to improve against a good Kentucky defensive line.

The Florida Gators defense is coming off a great game as they had their first shutout win since 2016. They also lead the country in sacks with 15 sacks but this will be their toughest test they’ve faced so far. Redshirt-seniors Jabari Zuniga and Jon Greenard have been terrific for Florida’s defense against the rush and pass. Alabama native Jeremiah Moon leads the Florida defense in sacks with 3.5 on the year. Florida’s defense will likely be without one of their top defensive player in C.J. Henderson. The junior cornerback suffered an ankle injury versus UT Martin and is listed as doubtful. Freshman cornerback Kaiir Elam may be counted on to play a much bigger role in this game. It wouldn’t be the first time as a freshman at Florida needed to get some early playing time and perform at a high level.

5 Players to Watch: Kentucky Wildcats

  1. Kavosiey Smoke
  2. Kash Daniels
  3. Sawyer Smith
  4. Josh Paschal
  5. Lynn Bowden Jr.

5 Players to Watch: Florida Gators

  1. Jabari Zuniga
  2. Van Jefferson
  3. Shawn Davis
  4. Lamical Perine
  5. Trey Dean

5 Predictions:

  1. Franks throws for over 225 yards and has two total touchdowns.
  2. Rose rushes for over 65 yards and a touchdown.
  3. Florida’s defense forces at least two turnovers.
  4. Kentucky gets two sacks in the game.
  5. Florida Gators beats Kentucky Wildcats 27-17.

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