Kentucky at Florida
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.
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Records: Kentucky 1-0, 0-0 SEC; Florida 1-0, 0-0 SEC
Series: Florida leads 51-17 and has won the last 31 games in a row
Favorite: Florida is favored by 14.5 points.
The story line
One year after falling to Florida in one of the most dispiriting defeats — giving up two touchdown passes to Gators wide receivers who were uncovered at the line of scrimmage — in the star-crossed history of Kentucky Wildcats football, Mark Stoops and the Cats will try again to end an embarrassing 31-game losing streak to SEC East rival UF.
The big threat
Feleipe Franks. The Florida quarterback was shaky a season ago, including getting pulled in favor of backup Luke Del Rio in UF’s comeback victory in Lexington. However, with new Gators Coach Dan Mullen in charge, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound sophomore opened 2018 with aplomb. Franks passed for 219 yards and five touchdowns in Florida’s 53-6 season-opening victory over FCS foe Charleston Southern.
On the spot
Terry Wilson. The junior-college transfer’s first start as Kentucky quarterback did not begin in a stellar manner: The 6-3, 205-pound redshirt sophomore committed three turnovers (two interceptions and a lost fumble) and suffered a bruised shoulder in the first half of UK’s season opener against Central Michigan. To Wilson’s credit, he returned to the game and directed two second-half TD drives that sealed Kentucky’s 35-20 victory. For UK to win in The Swamp, it will need better from Wilson.
Is skeptical. Mark Stoops’ standing with the UK fan base took a hit with last year’s excruciating come-from-ahead loss — and the maddening way it went down — to Florida. The best way for the sixth-year Wildcats head man to fully make amends with the Big Blue Nation would be to beat UF this year. Of course, when one team has lost 31 in a row to another, that’s far easier said than done.
Mark Story: (859) 231-3230; Twitter: @markcstory