No. 20 Florida at Kentucky
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Kroger Field (formerly Commonwealth Stadium)
Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, XM Channel 190, Sirius Channel 137
Records: Kentucky 3-0 (1-0 SEC), Florida 1-1 (1-0 SEC)
Series: Florida leads 50-17 and has won 30 games in a row
Last meeting: Florida won 45-7, Sept. 10, 2016, in Gainesville
Line: Florida is favored by 2 1/2 points
The story line
Kentucky tries yet again to snap its embarrassing, three decades-long losing streak to SEC East rival Florida. The status of nine Gators’ players suspended amidst allegations of credit card fraud — a group that includes star wide receiver Antonio Callaway and starting running back Jordan Scarlett — is uncertain. Florida Coach Jim McElwain has said the players will be out until the issue is resolved.
On the spot
Stephen Johnson and Eddie Gran. Florida held Kentucky without a touchdown two years ago in a 14-9 win. Last year, UK was behind 45-0 in The Swamp before the Cats crossed the goal line in a 45-7 spanking. This year, the Gators come to Lexington with only two offensive touchdowns scored in two games — one of them a Hail Mary pass. So a Florida offensive explosion seems unlikely. The question is whether UK offensive playcaller Gran and quarterback Johnson can generate enough points against a Florida defense for Kentucky to win even in a low-scoring affair?
The big threat
The Florida secondary. The Gators’ defensive backs have produced more touchdowns this season (three) than the UF offense (two). Freshman cornerback C.J. Henderson has had a pick-six in both of the Gators’ games in 2017, taking an interception 41 yards to the house vs. Michigan and 16 yards for a score vs. Tennessee. Junior corner Duke Dawson scored a touchdown on a 48-yard interception return vs. Michigan, though his status for Saturday’s game is unclear due to a head injury suffered vs. UT. Last year, the Gators intercepted Drew Barker three times.
Perked up considerably after Kentucky went on the road and beat South Carolina in its SEC opener. UK is pleading with its fans to fill Kroger Field. It will be interesting to see how much fan-base belief there is in UK’s chances of making history by finally breaking free from Florida’s three-decade hold.