Perhaps the most critical week of the season is already here.
Kentucky will take on Florida to determine the No. 1 team in the East division of the SEC. It’s a home game, it’s a big one, and it’s a chance for Kentucky to finally end the three-decade losing streak against Florida.
Coming off a huge 23-13 win over South Carolina, Kentucky is riding a 3-0 high and sits at No. 1 in the East standings. The defense has played incredibly well and the offense has managed to score when it has to; they haven’t been perfect, but they’ve more than gotten the job done.
They’ll have to do that again this week as they take on No. 20 Florida. They were heavily underestimated against South Carolina, but this week we’ll get a legitimate understanding of where Kentucky stands this year.
Florida Gators vs. Kentucky Wildcats
Date: Saturday, September 23
Game Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky
TV: SEC Network
Series: Florida leads 50-17.
Last meeting: Florida 45, Kentucky 7 in Week 2 of the 2016 season.
Odds: Florida opened as a 4-point favorite.
- Kentucky ranks 3rd nationally in run defense, allowing just 57 yards per game.
- They rank eighth in fumbles recovered as they’ve recovered four so far this year.
- Stephen Johnson is 10-4 as the primary quarterback for Kentucky (8-4 as a starter).
- Benny Snell has run for 615 yards in his last five SEC games. He’s averaging 90.7 yards per game this year.
- Snell is seven yards away from tying Alfred Rawls for 23rd all-time on Kentucky’s rushing yardage list.
- Kentucky has 14 players from the state of Florida. Thanks to Mark Stoops, Lamar Thomas Darin Hinshaw and Eddie Gran’s Sunshine State connections, that’s growing every year.
- Two of the last three meetings between Kentucky and Florida have been decided by one possession.
- Garrett Johnson (Juice) has caught a pass in 14 straight games.
- Kentucky is honoring its 2017 Hall of Fame class at halftime. This will include Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers
- Kentucky will retain its first place standing in the SEC East with a win.
- They’d also have their first 4-0 start since 2008.
- Austin MacGinnis is now just 22 points away from catching Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer, Lones Seiber.
- Derrick Baity was named SEC Defender of the Week after recording eight tackles and an interception against South Carolina.
- Kentucky’s head coach, Mark Stoops, was the defensive backs coach for Randy Shannon’s defense at Miami 2001-03.
- Florida is the first of four top-25 teams currently on Kentucky’s schedule for this year.
- Florida has beaten Kentucky 30 years in a row. It’s the fourth-longest winning streak in NCAA history (longest active).
- Florida leads the all-time series 50-17
- Florida’s last win was thanks to a miraculous Hail Mary against Tennessee to win 26-20.
- Freshman Malik Davis rushed for a career-best 94 yards against Tennessee, including a 72-yard run, the longest of his career.
- Florida freshman C.J. Henderson has two pick-sixes this season.
- Florida ranks third in the SEC in sacks per game (3) and tackles for loss (8).
- Florida special teams coordinator Greg Nord played at Kentucky in 1975 and 1977-78. He is also a former member of the Kentucky coaching staff.
- This will be a homecoming for Garrett Stephens, a Florida DB who played his high school ball at Saint Xavier in Louisville.
- Florida returns Antonio Callaway, a wide receiver who is the first in school history to score a rushing, receiving, punt return and kick return touchdown in his career.
- Florida has played 12 true freshmen and 15 newcomers through two games. In the season opener against Michigan, 13 of the 52 players (25%) that saw action were making their Florida debut.
- Florida’s 20 true freshman who saw playing time ranks third in the SEC, behind Georgia and LSU.
- When winning or tying the turnover battle since 2011, Florida is 40-11. When losing the turnover battle since 2011, UF is 7-19. In addition, Florida is 10-1 under Jim McElwain when the Gators have won the turnover battle.
Kentucky Depth Chart:
Florida Depth Chart: