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Kentucky Wildcats vs. Florida Gators Prediction and Preview

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Florida Gators Prediction and Preview

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Florida Gators Prediction and Preview

The Florida Gators have not lost to the Kentucky Wildcats since the 1986 season. Head coach Dan Mullen is hoping his Gators can extend their winning streak to 32 games.

In their season opener, the Gators were able to cruise to a 53-6 win over Charleston Southern. While the Gators played a team from the FCS, the Wildcats were able to defeat MAC member Central Michigan 35-20 in its opener.

In their most recent meeting, the Gators were able to rally from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win 28-27 in Lexington. A touchdown or less have decided three of the past four meetings between Florida and Kentucky.

Kentucky at Florida

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. 

TV: SEC Network

Spread: Florida -14

Three Things to Watch

1. Feleipe Franks

In one game in Mullen's offense, Franks looked like a new quarterback as he was able to complete 16 of 24 passes for 219 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. In 2017, Franks threw only nine touchdowns the entire season.

Last Saturday, Franks threw five touchdown passes for four different receivers before he sat in the second half due to the Gators large lead. 

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"Coach does a great job of making practice faster than the game, so when I get in the game, it slows down," Franks said earlier this week. It had helped me a lot. We're just scratching the surface."

2. Kentucky's running game

The Wildcats have a pair of running backs that could give the Gators some trouble on Saturday night. Kentucky's offense is led by All-SEC selection Benny Snell Jr., who finished last week's game against Central Michigan with 125 yards on 20 carries, despite having an unknown illness leading into the game.

A.J. Rose also was able to run for the century mark against the Chippewas as he finished with 104 yards on eight carries as 55 came on a long run in the first quarter. 

Expect Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops to use both Snell and Rose with the hopes of wearing down the Gators' defense. Also, a quality rushing attack from Kentucky will keep Florida's offense off the field.

3. Gators' defense

The Gators only surrendered one first down in the opening half (and only four through three quarters) against Charleston Southern. They will need another excellent performance to slow down the Wildcats' rushing attack.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson entered the season opener with one career sack, but he was able to record two on the day against Charleston Southern. John Huggins recorded his first career interception as Florida held Charleston Southern to a total of three passing yards.

Final Analysis

Florida's offense looked improved against Charleston Southern, but Saturday's game against Kentucky will present a different test. The Wildcats have two standout defenders in linebacker Josh Allen and safety Mike Edwards who could give the Gators some problems.

The determining factor should be if the Gators' defense can create pressure on Wildcats quarterback Terry Wilson had two interceptions against Central Michigan. If Florida can cause Wilson to throw the ball before he wants to, that should create a lot of turnover opportunities.

Prediction: Florida 37, Kentucky 17

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.