Kentucky Football: Three things Wildcats must do to beat Florida

Kentucky and Florida. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Kentucky and Florida. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Kentucky football may adhere to the belief that it’s just another week preparing for another game, but in the back of their minds, they know the magnitude of the tussle with No. 10 Flordia on Saturday and what a victory would mean.

Coach Mark Stoops has said it’s been business as usual all week, and that’s true in theory but if No. 23 ranked Kentucky can draw from the energy of a sellout Kroger Field crowd and a win it would vault the team into the limelight and respect level it longs for.

Can Kentucky football finally secure a win against the Gators

During his Thursday press conference, Stoops said his Troops are preparing physically and mentally for the challenge of toppling a team that historically it has little success achieving.

"“We’ll see. This is a new opportunity. There’s nothing that this team has done that would lead me to believe that they wouldn’t. They’ve been business as usual all week. They’ve been going about their business and working and working on the things we need to. So that’s the only indicator that I have.”"

There are a lot of players on this team that has been through battles with the Gators in years past and hopefully they have imparted their wisdom and knowledge of how snakebit they have been trying to secure wins as well as the upgrade in talent and play the Gators bring to the field.

When UK knocked off host Florida 27-16 in 2018 it broke a 31-game losing streak to the Gators. Prior to that, it was in 1986 where the Cats won 10-3.  Florida leads the overall head-to-head battle 53-18 and is 22-10 in the Bluegrass.

Historical numbers aside five of the past seven meetings have seen the outcome in doubt deep into the fourth quarter even though Stoops is 1-7 against Florida. That is why I projected the UK would ink out a win 31-28 with a Matt Ruffalo field goal.

A few bizarre endings to Stoops games against Florida:

  • In 2019 against Florida, Kentucky had a field goal attempt with 58 seconds to play that would have given the Cats the lead. It missed wide right.
  • In 2017 against the Gators, UK attempted a 57-yard field goal as the final horn sounded. That attempt came up just short and Florida prevailed 28-27.
  • In 2015 against UF, the Cats had two possessions late with a chance to win against the Gators, only to come up short in a 14-9 loss.
  • And in 2014, Florida needed triple overtime, and perhaps a favorable call from the officiating crew, to top the Cats in Gainesville, 36-30.

Big Blue Nation is longing for another game where the end results and break go the Wildcats way. It will take a massive effort but there are three things the Cats MUST do to secure the win.