The No. 6 Florida Gators (6-1) host the Kentucky Wildcats (3-5) on Saturday as they look to maintain their position atop the SEC East standings and a hopeful playoff bid alive. Florida has dominated the series over the last three decades, winning 32 of the previous 33 meetings between the two. Kickoff inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville is at noon Eastern on ESPN.
The Gators are a 25-point favorite in the conference matchup.
What to Know – Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky has dropped three of their last four games, including a blowout 63-3 loss at No. 1 Alabama last Saturday. To make matters worse, the Wildcats will be without numerous players and staff this weekend because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing.
Senior quarterback Terry Wilson completed 10-of-19 passes for 120 yards and one interception. The turnover was just his second of the season. Kentucky completed just 40% of their passes for an average of 4.8 yards per reception.
Running back Asim Rose Jr. carried the ball ten times for 68 yards, and Kavosiey Smoke chipped in nine rushes for 26 yards. Kentucky was without their leading rusher Chris Rodriguez Jr. (88 carries, 562 yards, six touchdowns) for the game for an undisclosed reason. The Wildcats are fourth in the SEC, averaging 178.0 yards per game on the ground.
Wide receiver Josh Ali (four receptions, 52 yards) and tight end Keaton Upshaw (three receptions, 44 yards) continued to lead the Wildcats in receiving. Kentucky is last in the conference in passing, averaging just 122.6 yards per game.
What to Know – Florida Gators
After a slow start in Nashville last week, the Florida Gators got it going in the second half and took care of business with a 38-17 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores. Florida is expected to have Kyle Pitts back at tight end this weekend after missing two weeks with a concussion and a broken nose.
Heisman hopeful Kyle Trask continued his assault through the air with 383 yards passing and three touchdowns. Back up quarterback Emory Jones also got in on the action completed his only pass of the day for a 30-yard touchdown.
Dameon Pierce carried the ball 11 times for 55 yards and scored his third rushing touchdown of the season. Malik Davis added eight carries for 38 yards, and Nay’Quan Wright supplied eight touches for 24 yards.
The Florida Gators 377.6 yards per game through the air is tied for the nation’s best. Kadarius Toney topped 100 yards receiving for the first time this season, catching six passes for 107 yards. Justin Shorter hauled in five grabs for 94 yards and backup tight end Kemore Gamble caught three balls for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Pick is In
Florida has dominated the series over the last 30+ years, but the Wildcats have made things interesting in the last handful of contests. Kentucky is coming off a beatdown by the Crimson Tide and will be without at least 18 players. On the other hand, Florida gets Pitts back to bolster one of the top offenses in the nation.
Florida’s defense is average at best this season, and they will need to bottle up the efficient Kentucky rushing attack. The Gators should win this one, but this feels like a backdoor cover here. Kentucky won’t let an embarrassment like last weekend happen again.
FREE PICK: Kentucky Wildcats (+25).