Kentucky at Florida
Time: 6:30 PM CT
Spread: FLA -13.5
The improved Kentucky Wildcats began its season with a 35-20 victory over Central Michigan and now it will travel to face its much-maligned conference foe, the Florida Gators. The Gators host the game as 13.5-point favorites, and the betting total is set at 51 points according to NCAA football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Florida is ranked No. 25 in the nation, but Kentucky has had its sights set on the Gators for an upset for the past several seasons. Could this be the year the Wildcats finally get the best of their rival?
If so, it will require all of Benny Snell Jr. to do it. Snell has been the workhorse of the Kentucky offense the past few seasons, and he began the year strong with 20 carries for 125 yards and two TDs, while getting plenty of help from Asim Rose who also had a 100+ yard day with 104 yards on just eight carries, also scoring two TDs himself. Kentucky managed just 128 passing yards, with Terry Wilson throwing 11 of 18 for 78 yards (and two interceptions) and backup Gunnar Hoak coming in to launch 4 of 9 for 50 yards with a TD (to David Bouvier).
Bouvier led the WRs with three catches for 48 yards, though Lynn Bowden Jr was impressive with five total catches for 17 yards.
Kentucky also fumbled four times in the game, with Bowden Jr accounting for one of those, and two of the four fumbles were lost. Adding that to Wilson’s two interceptions, and Kentucky was somewhat lucky to emerge as 15-point victors in a game it turned the ball over six times in. That kind of mistake making will hardly cut it against a nationally ranked SEC opponent like Florida.
Florida won its week 1 matchup 53-6 against Charleston Southern. Feleipe Franks threw 16 of 24 of 219 yards with five (!) TDs, and the Gators rushed for another 205 yards on 39 attempts (5.3 yards per carry). Franks rushed for 34 yards on five attempts, but Dameon Pierce led the way with 75 yards on nine carries.
Kyle Trask scored the lone rushing TD (from the QB position), and he had seven yards on three attempts.
Florida boasted six players with at least 10 rushing yards in the game, but it can be expected that Pierce sees the majority of the carries as the Gators begin to face tougher opponents.
Last year Florida fared just 4-7 while going 3-5 in the SEC, but Dan Mullen takes over as a first year coach following that disaster. He basically has to rebuild a lot of this program, but the sheer progression of talent in Gainesville gives him plenty to work with. Franks was expected to be in a QB battle, but it seems that after Week 1 that is more or less settled since Kyle Trask saw just three plays (though he was 3 of 3 on those).
The Gators have a lot of talent at the skill positions, and Jordan Scarlett will eventually emerge as a top option in the backfield , despite just six carries for 24 yards in Week 1.
Scarlett was suspended the entirety of last season, and three running backs combined for just over 1,000 yards with 10 TDs last year. The receivers have plenty of talent too, with Tyrie Cleveland, Kadarius Toney and a couple transfers rounding out the unit. Cleveland had just 10 receiving yards in Week 1, while Toney did not play, but Freddie Swain and Trevon Grimes each had 50 or more yards and Grimes scored one of the five TDs. Van Jefferson led the way in TDs with two, while catching 34 total yards on four passes.