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
Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports) /

Kentucky offense score early, score often, and control the tempo

Both Kentucky and Florida can clearly put points on the scoreboard, but the Wildcats really don’t want to get into a shootout with the Gators.

UK for the first time in years is stuffing the stat sheet averaging 443.8 yards of offense per game, which ranks eighth in the SEC, but Florida is averaging 541 yards per game.

What the Wildcats can’t afford is empty possessions and 3-and-outs.

However, they have been very efficient so far on third down this season, converting 25-46 (54.3 percent) of its chances which puts them ninth in the nation.  Last week they were successful on 6 of 12 against the Gamecocks and have converted 14 of 26 in SEC play.

Kentucky will come out juiced and jacked up and simply has to score on its opening possession. The key is getting up early and by two touchdowns would force the Gators to try and play catchup.

If that flipped I am not sure Kentucky can play rally ball. Give Florida the momentum and the Gator train may pick up speed faster than the Wildcats can counter.

Todd Grantham’s defense knows what UK will do. Feed Christopher Rodriguez the ball and let him pound the ball on the ground. C-Rod has gained 525 yards this year on 85 carries with three touchdowns.

But have the fumbles gone to his head? This game will clearly show.

Will Levis must make better decisions and not try to force things. Bad picks will lead to Gator points. Levis has completed 66 of 101 passes for 902 yards and seven touchdowns but has five interceptions.

Stoops was asked if he thought Grantham would try and force Levis to throw more.

"“They have some really good cover guys so I’m sure that they’re going to — anybody that plays us knows that they want to try to take away the run first and foremost. We’ve gotta be able to put the ball up in the air and move the ball.”"

That target through the air will be Wan’Dale Robinson who has amassed over 500 total yards (receiving, rushing, special team returns) and finding the endzone twice for touchdowns. The Frankfort kid is a special prime-time player who wants to be the prime target in a prime-time game.

His 402 yards of receiving leads the SEC.

That fans mean Kentucky boasts the top rusher and receiver in the conference.

Wan’Dale the lights don’t get much brighter than Saturday night.

Liam Coen is going to line Robinson up in the backfield, the slot, wideout, and any other place in behind the UK line of scrimmage. He prefers to not carry the ball a lot like he was forced to do at Nebraska, but if that is what Coen needs rest assured Robinson is up for the challenge.

Kentucky’s other top Levis target Josh Ali is having a good season but he too can’t seem to hold onto the ball. He has pulled down 16 passes for 233 yards but just a single TD. Jet sweeps lead to fumbles when he touches it.

Maybe we see the emergence of Isaiah Epps or Izayah Cummings get free behind a linebacker or corner.

Here is hoping several players get loose for some big-time plays that ignite this offense and crowd.