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5 players to watch as Kentucky takes on Florida

Five guys that will play a key role for Kentucky as the Gators come to town.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Kentucky at Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Saturday is a big game as the Kentucky Wildcats host the Florida Gators for an early kickoff at Kroger Field.

The annual matchup holds a lot of weight, and this year, Kentucky is looking to get off to a 5-0 start and get a key win in a difficult stretch of the season.

As the Wildcats prepare to take on the Gators, here are five Wildcats to keep an eye on.

Eastern Kentucky v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

#1. QB Devin Leary

If Kentucky wants to win this game, Devin Leary has to play well.

Simple as that.

Through four games, Leary has shown the ability to make big plays through the air, but he’s also struggled with turnovers and has had some struggles along the way.

For Kentucky to get the win, Leary will need to come out and avoid key mistakes while showcasing that big-play ability we’ve seen through the first four games.

Kentucky opted for Leary over Florida’s Graham Mertz, adding another storyline to this game, but hopefully, Leary comes out on Saturday and shows why he was the better fit for Kentucky.

Florida is allowing the fewest passing yards per game in the conference this season, so it won't be an easy task for Leary on Saturday, but Kentucky needs its signal-caller to have a big game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Kentucky at Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#2. WR Dane Key

Dane Key had a big performance last year in Gainesville, catching three passes for 83 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown in the second quarter that was one of the biggest plays of the game.

This year in Lexington, Key needs to come up big again.

Through four games, Key has 13 catches for 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a great touchdown grab at Vanderbilt last week.

Kentucky needs a big day from its wide receiver group as a whole, but Key’s ability to go up and make contested catches is a real X-factor for this offense.

Be on the lookout for #6 on Saturday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Kentucky at Tennessee Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#3. Tie between Marques Cox/Jeremy Flax/Courtland Ford

Three for the price of one here.

Kentucky’s offensive line will be put to the test on Saturday against this Gators' defense, by far the best front the Wildcats’ rebuilt Big Blue Wall has faced this season.

Despite a low sack total (seven on the season), this group still has the ability to put pressure on the quarterback.

The Gators are led by junior Princely Umanmielen, who has two sacks on the season.

Last year, the Gators sacked Will Levis three times and had seven QB hits.

Kentucky’s tackles will need to keep Devin Leary upright and avoid letting the Gators' pass rush become a major factor in the game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 23 Kentucky at Vanderbilt Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#4. Maxwell Hairston

Hairston, the sophomore corner, has had a solid start to the season, intercepting three passes in the first four games, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns last week against Vanderbilt.

In addition, he’s second on the team in total tackles.

Coming off a big game last week, the Wildcats will need a big game from Hairston this week.

What the Florida passing attack has lacked in explosiveness, it has made up for in efficiency, and a key part of that is senior wide receiver Ricky Pearsall.

Pearsall leads the Gators with 26 catches for 362 yards and a touchdown. He’s been the go-to target for Graham Mertz.

Hairston has played well as a starter through the first four games, but Saturday represents a big test for the young corner.

NCAA Football: Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

#5. Trevin Wallace

Wallace has been Kentucky’s defensive leader this season, so if the Cats are going to win, Wallace needs to have a solid performance.

The last time the Gators visited Lexington, this is what he did...

Through the early part of the season, Wallace leads Kentucky in total tackles (25), tackles for loss (five), and sacks (3.5).

Kentucky needs its defensive leader to come up big on Saturday, providing pressure on blitzes while also ensuring that Florida running back Trevor Etienne doesn’t run wild like he did in Florida’s win over Tennessee.

Who do you think is the biggest player to watch for Saturday on Kentucky’s side? Let us know in the comments section!