Sep 14, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Jalen Whitlow (2) throws a pass against the Louisville Cardinals at Commonwealth Stadium. Louisville defeated Kentucky 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Do the Kentucky Wildcats finally present a threat to the Florida Gators?

I understand the title of this post can be a bit deceiving. Yes, Kentucky has put a good team on the field before against Florida during “The Streak, No. 2″ (not to be confused with the streak against Tennessee). There was 1993, when Heisman winner and Florida QB Danny Wuerffel led the Gators 60 yards down the field with a minute remaining to score a touchdown as time expired. The Gators took that one, 24-20. There was 2003, also in Lexington, when Florida QB Chris Leak made his first career start as a freshman. The Cats had a 21-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Even with a few blown chances, Kentucky still had a chance to win just by milking the clock during the last four minutes. But Jared Lorenzen threw an interception, and Florida would score a touchdown on the following play to win 24-21. Leak ended up becoming Florida’s all-time passing leader and won a national championship in 2006.

There was 2007, the year Leak’s successor Tim Tebow would win the Heisman. Kentucky was ranked in the top 10 nationally, ahead of Florida. The Cats had a 6-1 record heading to the game, Andre’ Woodson was a Heisman candidate himself, and College Gameday was in town. The stars aligned for the Cats that day. Woodson even threw better than Tebow that day, statistically. Yet, the Gators ended up winning by one extra touchdown, thanks to the unorthodox “jump-pass” from Tebow to Aaron Hernandez.

So now we get to 2013. The common factor for Florida in all those wins was a confident quarterback on the road. No pressure, whatsoever. Another factor that played in was a consistent, tough-nosed defense. Although young, somewhat inexperienced, and unproven, the Cats have all those on their team as well. We don’t have that one single quarterback that all the pressure falls onto (Tim Couch, Lorenzen, Woodson): we have two. A dual-threat at quarterback like what we had in 2009 with Mike Hartline and Randall Cobb helped lead to some big wins against teams like Auburn and Georgia. We don’t have a senior-laden defense like before, but we do have the Za’Darius Smith, who is second in the SEC and sixth in the nation for sacks. We’re also not playing on the road, but at Commonwealth Stadium, which has always given us the best chance to win. Some of the best games have been won at home. No pressure, whatsoever. So, why can’t we win on Saturday?

Tags: Florida Gators Football Kentucky Wildcats

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