Looking ahead to Kentucky football game two: Florida scouting report


Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen sacks the QB during the game against the University of Florida on Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky was defeated 28-27. Photo by Chase Phillips | Staff

Braden Ramsey

The Benny Snell-led Kentucky Wildcats roll into Gainesville this weekend to take on No. 25 ranked Florida in an early season SEC East clash. Kentucky hasn’t been able to beat the Gators since 1986, with the Cats’ 31 straight losses standing as the third longest losing streak to one opponent in FBS history. This year’s Florida team is coming off of a down year and had a coaching change in the offseason, which the Cats will look to use in their favor as an opportunity to end the streak.

The Gators hired Dan Mullen from Mississippi State last December to replace Jim McElwain, who lasted fewer than three seasons with the team. He served four years at Florida as the quarterbacks’ coach and offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer before his tenure at Mississippi State, and brings a great record of success against the Wildcats, going 8-1 against them with the Bulldogs.

Florida moved into the AP Top 25 rankings after defeating Charleston Southern 53-6 last Saturday in the Gators’ opening game. Sophomore quarterback Feleipe Franks threw for 219 yards and five touchdowns against the Buccaneers, and added another 34 yards on the ground. After having nine touchdowns and eight interceptions in 11 games last season, Franks will look to lead the team offensively.

Freshman Dameon Pierce paced the backfield in week one, racking up 78 yards on nine carries. Last year’s backfield leaders– Lamical Perine and Malik Davis– combined to handle eight carries for 56 yards.

The Gators defense ended last season ranked 31st in the FBS, which was good for sixth in the SEC. That finish will be tough to replicate without defensive tackle Taven Bryan, who was the 29th overall selection in the NFL draft, and two secondary players– defensive backs Duke Dawson and Nick Washington– who also moved to the NFL. Not a single starter on the defensive side of the ball is a senior. Middle linebacker David Reese holds a big leadership role for the unit, and led the team with 102 tackles last season as a sophomore.

Kentucky will look to end the infamous losing streak to Florida on Saturday night at 7:30 in Gainesville, which will be televised on the SEC Network.