LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky (2-0) has a tough SEC opener as the No. 9 Florida Gators (2-0) come to Kroger Field to take on the Wildcats in a primetime matchup.
Kash Daniel before kickoff of Kentucky's Week 2 game against Eastern Michigan (Regina Rickert)
All eyes will be on the quarterback position Saturday as Troy graduate transfer Sawyer Smith makes his first start for Kentucky following Terry Wilson's season-ending knee injury last week against Eastern Michigan. Smith was able to get some reps in relief of Wilson and threw for two touchdowns.
Kentucky has run the ball well against two MAC opponents, but they will face a much stiffer test against a Florida defense which is very capable to stifling opponents on the ground. The Gators are also known for being able to pressure quarterbacks, which is why it is important for Kentucky to avoid 3rd and long situations. Florida is without All-SEC first-team cornerback CJ Henderson.
While Florida's defense appears to be the strength of the team, many Gators fans are hoping to see Dan Mullen's offense take the next step in his second year as head coach, but after an inconsistent season-opening performance against Miami, some are questioning how good the Gators will be. Feleipe Franks is the team's returning starter, but his turnovers against the Hurricanes nearly cost Florida the game. The offensive line remains a question mark, as Miami was able to stifle the Gators' running game as well. The Gators will be without starting wide receiver Kadarius Toney.
Florida was able to easily defeat FCS foe UT-Martin in its second game of the year.
Kentucky will look to beat Florida in Lexington for the first time since 1986. The Wildcats ended the Gators' 31-game winning streak in 2018 with a win in Gainesville.
Game Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT
Weather: 77 at Kickoff
Spread: Florida -8
Series Record: Florida 51-18