By the time you read this, you are hopefully dressed in blue and causing a ruckus outside of Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky takes on the Florida Gators tonight in one of their best chances to end that ridiculous losing streak in a number of years. Kickoff is set for 7pm, which should allow fans plenty of time to partake in good food and beverages before heading inside to cheer for their Cats.
Despite what is decidedly a down year for Kentucky football, many members of the local and national media are feeling an upset in Lexington tonight. That set includes yours truly. The stars seem to have aligned to give the young Wildcats a chance to beat the Gators for the first time since 1986. The Gators have lost their defensive star in Dominique Easley and starting quarterback in Jeff Driskell in the span of a week. They have a former 2* QB making his first ever start on the road in the SEC. The fearsome Gator defense has several starters banged up and will be missing one for the first half due to suspension.
The night game atmosphere at Commonwealth Stadium can be a huge home field advantage. (Most of Kentucky’s recent upsets have come during night games.) The Wildcats have a new coaching staff that is familiar with playing Florida. The team has played better every week since the beginning of the season. They have several young playmakers from the state of Florida who were spurned by the Gators.
None of which will matter if the Cats start slow tonight. The Florida defense is too come back against if you get behind. Kentucky needs to start fast and keep it up for four quarters, a feat that they haven’t accomplished yet this season. They need to move the chains on offense enough to score some points and keep the defense off the field. And they can’t afford any turnovers. Ditto for the dropped passes that plagued them during the Louisville game.
Kentucky needs to play a great game, but not perfect as many have postulated. It all depends on which Kentucky team shows up. But there is a definite buzz around this program right now. There are a lot of new faces on the sideline, the players and coaches are performing as if no one told them that they aren’t supposed to be any good this year. That is drastic change from recent years when UK played as if they just wanted to get the game over with. The players have bought in to Kentucky football, now it’s our turn. Go Big Blue.