The Florida Gators were one of the dark-horse favorites to win the SEC this season. Living and dying on the defense last season, the Gators were successful enough to make a BCS game, but were shut out at the hands of the Louisville Cardinals. Florida has lost an early-season game to the Miami Hurricanes already in 2013, but could seriously contend moving forward.
On the other side of the field, the Kentucky Wildcats were one of the worst teams in college football a season ago with a lowly 2-10 record. Mark Stoops is now the man in charge of this team and they already have half the wins they had a season ago with a 1-2 record. The Wildcats, however, are a program on the way up.
Quarterback Jeff Driskel was injured in the Gators’ week four game against the Tennessee Volunteers, which could end up being a big blow to the offense. However, Driskel is an average, at best, quarterback in college football and somewhat held the offense back. Junior Tyler Murphy has come in, providing a dual-threat option, and helped the Gators past the Volunteers. He passed for 134 yards and a score while rushing for 84 yards and another touchdown. Mack Brown leads the run game with 227 rushing yards and three touchdowns, but no running back that gets solid carries averages more than four yards per carry.
Kentucky is led by pocket-passer Maxwell Smith and dual-threat QB Jalen Whitlow on offense. The two are a solid combination that has combined for over 800 yards and five scores through the air while Whitlow is second on the team in rushing with 160 yards and two touchdowns. These two will be the main reason why the Wildcats will give the Gators a bit of trouble in the game, but other than that, the offense is pretty low-key.
Defensively, the Florida Gators have one of the top defenses in the country — as they’ve had for a couple of seasons under Will Muschamp. They have allowed just 14.7 points per game this season while playing some fairly solid offensive opponents. Kentucky has had a hard time slowing down the opposition, as they’ve allowed 23 points per game, including 35 points to Western Kentucky.
Florida will travel to Kentucky to take on the Wildcats at 7 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 28. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU.
PREDICTION: Florida 24, Kentucky 10