When No. 9 Florida travels to Kentucky on Saturday night, the Gators will be looking for revenge after the Wildcats broke UF’s 31-game winning streak in the series last season. In 2019, both teams are 2-0 and hoping to notch their first SEC win of the season. Will the Wildcats make it two in a row, or will the Gators get the job done in the Bluegrass State? This has been a key “upset alert” game for commentators across the country, but Florida aims to make that notation look ridiculous on Saturday night.
Both teams will be short-handed entering the game as Kentucky lost its starting quarterback for the season and Florida looks to be without a star playmaker on each side of the ball. Will those absences doom one team or another on Saturday? Let’s break down the game and make a pick. Click here for additional.
Florida: Quarterback Feleipe Franks looked great last week in a 45-0 win over UT-Martin, completing 94.2 percent of his passes and throwing for 270 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. That was refreshing to see after the redshirt junior was erratic in a win over Miami in Week Zero. Van Jefferson caught four passes for 94 yards and a touchdown against the Skyhawks, and KaDarius Toney added three catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Toney will miss this game with an arm injury, so coach Dan Mullen will have to find another versatile weapon to keep defenses honest. Also out for the Gators is star cornerback C.J. Hendersron.
Kentucky: The Wildcats lost starting quarterback Terry Wilson for the year with a torn patellar tendon against Eastern Michigan, but it’s not like his replacement is inexperienced. Troy graduate transfer Sawyer Smith is the new QB1 in Lexington after throwing for 1,669 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Trojans last season. The better news for coach Mark Stoops is that Kavosiey Smoke and Asim Rose have proved to be an effective 1-2 punch at running back. The Wildcats defense gave up 337 passing yards last week, so the outcome of this one might depend on which Franks shows up.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 14 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Kroger Field — Lexington, Kentucky
TV: ESPN | Live stream: 247SportsTV.com
Game prediction, picks
With all due respect to Smith, this isn’t the Sun Belt and the Gators defense is ready to eat. They have 15 sacks on the season and will bring the heat on Smith from the moment the game starts. As a result, it will come down to which quarterback makes the most mistakes. Franks isn’t exactly the most reliable signal-caller in the world, but he’s coming off a strong outing and knows what to expect from SEC defenses. The Gators will win and eek out a late cover. Pick: Florida (-9.5)