This series used to be one-sided, but not anymore, as the Kentucky Wildcats program has trended up as of late, and the Florida Gators have been dropping. The Gators lost their season opener in Utah, while the Wildcats have played a weak schedule.
The formula continues to work effectively.
No one would argue that UK has faced anyone of any quality, but they needed the time to reload a bit. Under former NC State quarterback Devin Leary’s guidance, the passing game has been enough. The UK’s defense has forced multiple takeaways in three of four games while holding its ground against running opponents.
Kentucky remains Kentucky. They continue to confound logic and reason, yet no team has managed to break 100 yards on the ground so far, while their pass rush may just be strong enough to get to Mertz and reach him before time runs out.
The offense hasn’t exactly been thrilling to watch, but it has performed admirably, thanks to an effective passing game.
Graham Mertz has been incredible so far for the Florida Gators, completing 77% of his passes easily, performing admirably on third downs, and locking down against strong opponents.
The No.1 pass defense in the SEC denied Tennessee any consistency, while their No. 2 run defense has held everybody from producing more than 3.5 yards per carry.
Kentucky has performed admirably on offense so far this season, but has faced nobody with a good defense, the competition has been Vanderbilt and Akron, can the Cats handle the Gators?.
Florida and Kentucky have squared off in a battle, and Florida has suffered consecutive losses to Kentucky in this series as of late.
Understanding this “rivalry” requires realizing just how painful Florida has suffered during this entire saga – from 1986 until 2017, they hadn’t lost one game; since then they’ve lost three in five!
Florida last suffered three consecutive series losses between 1948 and 1951 when Kentucky went on a four-game winning streak.
Let’s put it this way: Florida needs to be good enough against an unproven and deeply flawed UK team, but as has often been the case under Mark Stoops’ watch, they win even when it isn’t pretty.
Take the Cats as they win a close one.
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