Kentucky Wildcats Football: Kentucky @ Florida preview


Sep 6, 2014; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles (14) runs from Ohio Bobcats linebacker Quentin Poling (32) in the second half at Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky defeated Ohio 20-3. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

So, I can’t lie to you and tell you I’m super happy to be back from my vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pumped for the start of SEC play and it sucked missing the first two games of the year, but that beautiful sand and surf sure seems nice on a dreary day here in Lexington. Alas, all vacations come to an end just like the Wildcats two cupcake non-conference openers have come and gone. It’s time to get ready for Florida.

To start things off though, let me be clear that I do not know exactly who Kentucky is at this point, and the same can be said for Florida. The Gators had their first game cancelled before throttling Eastern Michigan by 65 points. Will Jeff Driskel continue to play like Peyton Manning? Will Kentucky continue to run its 6’5 240 pound quarterback like he’s Mike Vick? The answer to both questions is probably no. But that’s also the point. The two teams haven’t HAD to show who they truly are after beating up on inferior opponents. And before we dive into the match up between the two schools, let’s just be clear that Kentucky could have beaten Ohio far worse but the staff appeared content to just run basic offensive plays in the second half. Also, writing this has allowed me to realize that Eastern Michigan’s initials are EMU, which I find hilarious despite knowing its not that funny. Moving on…

When Florida has the ball:

Driskel will look to have a better year this season and to finally live up to his lofty ranking as a recruit. His poise and accuracy appear to have improved, but forcing mistakes is something Kentucky should be far more equipped to do than Eastern Michigan was. The skill players in Gainesville are impressive yet again for the 50th year in a row and almost all are burners in the open field.  The real question mark is the offensive line.  While the group is talented, there were some assignment errors against Eastern Michigan that should occur against such an over matched team and Driskel was able to make plays with his mobility despite the pressure. No offense to the Eagles, but a combination of Dupree, Z. Smith, Hatcher, Elam, etc should be much more formidable than what the Gators saw last weekend. A vastly improved Kentucky secondary will still need help, but newly emerged ball hawks A.J. Stamps and Fred Tiller could capitalize on mistakes made by Driskel if he’s under duress. While Florida’s passing game was impressive, most of the yards were accrued on short passes turned into long runs, so tackling and sound coverage will be crucial for Kentucky’s success. All that considered, this is still Florida, so stopping the run should remain priority number one.

When Kentucky has the ball:

If I am Will Muschamp, I’m scratching my head. Patrick Towles looked like a surgeon picking apart the defense in week 1 and then looked like a bulldozer running people over in week 2. The truth is that Kentucky’s best offensive scheme is probably somewhere in the middle.  With a running back position that is confidently five men deep, seeing Towles run the ball 20+ times just can’t happen. Instead. Look for the deceptively mobile quarterback to focus on moving around behind the line and allowing his receivers to break open. The name of the offense may be air raid, but there is simply too much talent in Kentucky’s backfield and too much size along the offensive line for the team not to feature a heavy dose of the running game. Expect the staff to try and keep a balanced attack up to keep the defense guessing and a violent pace to wear out the Gator front seven early.


Like I said before, this one is tough. Normally you know more about a team, in the third game than I feel like is evident about EITHER of these two squads. From a talent standpoint, Florida is bigger, faster, and more experienced in most spots so they should have a decided advantage. Really, they should win easily. However, the Gators have a real shot at the SEC East crown and there’s no way that a coach that has struggled with game planning and execution as much as Muschamp has in the past can formulate a true identity foe UK at this point.  Basically, the Florida staff is going to have to guess and hope their talent and speed win out. If this game was in Lexington, I would probably pick Kentucky solely because I’m not sold on the ability for the Gators staff to out coach Mark Stoops. I mean, they SHOULD be in the national title picture every year because the team is just that good. That level of talent playing at home in one of the best atmospheres in all of college football will likely be too much for a Kentucky team dominated by sophomores and freshmen to overcome at this point though.  Expect the best effort we’ve seen from Kentucky in decades, but a loss looks likely.

Final Score: Florida 35 – Kentucky 27