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Kentucky @ Florida: Bring it or take a beating


This is the official A Sea of Blue Open Game Thread for Kentucky at Florida.

The title of this one says it all. Despite the injuries, the hurts, the misery of having to drag their hind parts all the way down to Gainesville to face the powerful Florida Gators, Kentucky needs to face one fact: If they don't bring it hard against the Gators, they will return home embarrassed and humbled.

The Florida offense is the most prolific in the SEC, and they have no hurts or injuries to slow them down with the exception of offensive lineman Jim Tartt. The Gators have no excuses -- they are as ready to play as they will ever be, and they are at home where they have perhaps the most overwhelming advantage of any team in the entire SEC.

If this sounds like a tough spot for the 'Cats, yes, it is. But part of becoming the kind of football program that Brooks & Co. are trying to create, i.e. a competitive SEC program, is going down to face superior teams in their place and competing with them. If the game were played on paper, this one would have been over a long time ago. But being kind of partial to actual college football games, the SEC requires that you lace them up, put on your armor and get after it regardless of what the Vegas line is.

Five things that need to happen for the Wildcats to pull the upset:

  1. Take the football away from the Gators, and hold on to it themselves;
  2. Play confident, methodical football. Refuse to be intimidated by the mighty Gators and their fans;
  3. Score in the red zone every time they get there;
  4. Force Florida to kick field goals instead of allowing touchdowns;
  5. Keep the faster Gators in front of them so as to negate the big play.

Five things that could make this an ugly loss:

  1. Going three-and-out often and keeping the defense on the field;
  2. Turning the ball over with a short field for the Gators like UK did against Arkansas;
  3. Allow the Gator defense get to Hartline;
  4. Over-penetrate against Tebow on defense -- letting Tebow get open grass in front of him is a sure recipe for disaster;
  5. Allow Demps and Harvin to get loose in the secondary.

This is the kind of game that tells a coach a lot about how his team will compete. UK has to have near perfect focus and outstanding execution to win this game, and a victory here would exorcise all kinds of demons and change the perception of Kentucky football dramatically, as well as make us bowl eligible just halfway through the season. In other words, we have everything to win and little to lose.

Go Cats!