How Kentucky and Florida match up for Saturday's game in Gainesville, Fla.:
Patrick Towles (61.7 completion percentage; two TD passes with no interceptions) ran the ball a whopping 22 times (for a net 59 yards) against Ohio. If the UK sophomore has to carry the football half that much in The Swamp, that's a bad sign. Back after missing the final nine games of 2013 with a broken leg, Florida's Jeff Driskel was sharp (31-for-45 for 248 yards with one TD pass) running new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's high-tempo spread attack last week against Eastern Michigan.
Never miss a local story.
Kentucky newcomers have produced three long rushing TDs this season; Nebraska transfer Braylon Heard had scoring runs of 73 and 43 yards against Tennessee-Martin; true freshman Stanley "Boom" Williams had a 53-yard TD jaunt vs. Ohio. Florida, too, has a deep stable of backs. The tailback rotation of Matt Jones, Kelvin Taylor, Mack Brown and Brandon Powell averaged 8.68 yards per rush vs. Eastern Michigan.
UK sophomore slot receiver Ryan Timmons (10 catches, 95 yards) had the best game of his young career against Ohio. In Florida, the Franklin County product will face a team that recruited him hard. Florida senior Quinton Dunbar has caught at least one pass in 29 straight games. He had five catches for 82 yards against Eastern Michigan.
Kentucky senior Steven Borden dropped a sure TD pass against Ohio. Neither Borden nor classmate Ronnie Shields had a reception against the Bobcats. Florida starter Jake McGee, a senior transfer from Virginia, was knocked out for the season last week with a broken leg. In his absence, holdover Clay Burton (younger brother of UK nemesis Trey Burton) caught a career-high seven passes for 42 yards vs. Eastern Michigan.
After missing the opener because of a suspension, Darrian Miller was back against Ohio in his familiar spot as Kentucky's left tackle, and Mark Stoops praised the Bryan Station product's play. With starting left guard Zach West sidelined by a neck injury, walk-on redshirt freshman Cole Mosier is expected to make his second straight start. Florida starting left tackle D.J. Humphries is out with a high ankle sprain. Normal right tackle Chaz Green will shift into Humphries' role, while redshirt freshman Roderick Johnson will make his first career start at RT.
With the flux in the Florida offensive tackle positions, Kentucky needs its much-hyped defensive ends, seniors Alvin "Bud" Dupree and Za'Darius Smith, to take advantage. Florida star defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. had three tackles and two quarterback hurries against Eastern Michigan. Defensive tackle Leon Orr, a redshirt senior, had five tackles last week.
UK's Khalid Henderson was expected to be supplanted at weakside linebacker by junior-college transfer Ryan Flannigan. Instead, Henderson stands (tied for) 15th in the SEC with 13 tackles. Florida's Neiron Ball was a one-man "wrecking Ball" against Eastern Michigan with six tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Junior-college transfer safety A.J. Stamps leads UK in tackles (14). Junior cornerback Fred Tiller is tied for first in the SEC in "passes defended" with four (three breakups, an interception). Florida sophomore Vernon Hargreaves III is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the country. True freshman Duke Dawson returned an interception for a 36-yard TD against Eastern Michigan.
UK place-kicker Austin MacGinnis booted a school record-tying 53-yard field goal against Ohio; he also missed from 28 and 35 yards. Punter Landon Foster was strong (44.8 yards on five punts; three inside the 20) against Ohio. Florida's kicking game was stout vs. Eastern Michigan. Punter Kyle Christy averaged 48.3 yards on three kicks; place-kicker Francisco Velez went 3-for-3 on field goals (a long of 36).
Florida 28, Kentucky 10