UK Football

Mark Story: Three key questions about Kentucky's game vs. Florida

Kentucky Wildcats place kicker Austin MacGinnis (99) was congratulated by Kentucky Wildcats center Jon Toth (72) after hitting the field goal that tied the game in regulation as the University of Kentucky played the University of Florida in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fl., Saturday, September 13, 2014. This is fourth quarter action. Florida won 36-30 in 3 overtimes. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff
Kentucky Wildcats place kicker Austin MacGinnis (99) was congratulated by Kentucky Wildcats center Jon Toth (72) after hitting the field goal that tied the game in regulation as the University of Kentucky played the University of Florida in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fl., Saturday, September 13, 2014. This is fourth quarter action. Florida won 36-30 in 3 overtimes. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff Herald-Leader

Florida at Kentucky

GAME FACTS

When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday

Where: Commonwealth Stadium

TV: SEC Network (play-by-play Brent Musburger, analysis Jesse Palmer, sideline Maria Taylor)

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, XM Channel 192, Sirius Channel 93

Records: UK (2-0, 1-0 SEC); Florida (2-0, 0-0)

Series: Florida leads 48-17 and has won 28 in a row.

Last meeting: Florida won 36-30 in triple overtime on Sept. 13, 2014, in Gainesville

Favorite: Florida by 3 points

THREE KEY QUESTIONS

1. Can Kentucky step up to the moment?

A year ago at Florida, the Cats came agonizingly close to ending what is now an embarrassing 28-game losing streak against the Gators. Almost from the moment that game ended, UK backers have pointed to 2015 in Commonwealth Stadium as the point when that skid ends. Florida, of course, remembers last year, too, and there will be no sneaking up on the Gators. Can the Cats handle the pressure of attempted streak-busting and not play "tight?"

2. What is Florida's frame of mind?

New Gators head man Jim McElwain termed his team's undisciplined, penalty-plagued performance in last week's 31-24 escape over East Carolina "embarrassing." So are the Gators motivated to show their new head man what they are really made of? Or are the Florida players and their new head coach locked in a house divided? Regardless, one would think no one on the Florida roster wants a lifetime of being remembered for being on the Gators' team that finally lost to Kentucky.

3. Will the Kentucky offense "show up" for the second half?

In the first half against Louisiana-Lafayette, Kentucky scored 24 points, threw for 219 yards and had 303 yards of total offense; in the second half, the Cats had 16 points, threw for 38 yards and had 132 yards total offense. In the first half against South Carolina, Kentucky scored 24 points, threw for 151 yards and had 307 yards total offense; in the second half, the Cats had two points (on a defensive two-point conversion), threw for 41 yards and had 92 yards total offense. With so much on the line against Florida, will the Cats finally "throw a complete game?"

THE MOOD

Is fired up. After 17 straight losses, Kentucky beat a Steve Spurrier-coached team in 2010. After 26 defeats in a row, the Cats bested Tennessee in 2011. The 28-game losing skid against Florida is the last remaining of "the terrible three" losing streaks that have plagued UK football. Breaking through Saturday night would be a definitive sign that, under Mark Stoops, UK football really can "change the game."

MARK STORY

  Comments