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Kentucky takes on longtime rival #10 Florida looking for the respect they deserve

Kentucky Football has its biggest game of the year this Saturday as the 10th ranked Florida Gators comes to Kroger Field to try and spoil the Cats 4-0 record. A win this weekend will bring Kentucky to 5-0 (3-0 in SEC play). This is Kentucky’s proving game to show that they belong with the top teams of the SEC. Each year, Kentucky seems to get closer and closer to becoming a staple in the SEC but has not got the respect they truly deserve. Beating the Gators before taking on LSU and Georgia can boost the morale of the team and finally put the team in the AP top 25 rankings for college football. What does Florida have to offer and what do the Cats need to clean up to be sure they are successful Saturday?

The Gators are 3-1 on the season, with the only loss for the team being a close 31-29 game with number one ranked Alabama. This game brought got a lot of people’s attention. Emory Jones has been the staple quarterback for Florida this year, but there have been times where freshman Anthony Richardson has come in the game for a different look for the offense. Jones has passed for 668 passing yards with a 67.3% completion percentage. He also leads the Gators on rushing with 376 rushing yards on 57 attempts. Richardson has completed only 6 of his 11 passes for the year for 192 yards but is also second in rushing for the team with 275 rushing yards on only 11 attempts. The two-headed monster for the Gators at quarterback could bring the Kentucky defense some fits, but if the defense continues their play, the Gators will have to figure out some new players on offense to run through. 

Kentucky has had some recent struggles on offense during their wins over Chattanooga and South Carolina. If Kentucky wants to win the big game this weekend, there must be a clean-up on the mishaps. Chris Rodriguez Jr. is the man of the offense as he sits in 5th in the nation with 513 rushing yards on 85 attempts. The main problem for Rodriguez Jr. is that he has had a fumbling problem this year. Taking care of the football will be crucial for the Cats if they want to stay undefeated. Will Levis must also find his passing mojo again. In his last two games, he has had good completion percentages, but his throws have been very inconsistent. He also has thrown an interception in every game so far. These mishaps will not bring a win against a top 10 team in the country. 

The defense for both the Cats and the Gators has both played great and have similar stats in the sack and interception categories. Kentucky has nine sacks and two interceptions on the year. Louisville native J.J. Weaver leads the team with four total. The two interceptions belong to Tyrell Ajian and Jacquez Jones. As for Florida, they have 12 sacks for the year to go with their single interception. Defensive lineman Zachary Carter leads the team with four and the only interception belongs to defensive back Kaiir Elam. Both defenses are strong and do not be surprised if both offenses struggle at times due to the great defensive play. 

This is a must win for Kentucky in my opinion. If the Cats want true respect from others and to stay in contention for the SEC East title with Georgia, the team must show out and take the Gators down. This is a very tall task, but at least the game will be in Lexington with the Big Blue Nation cheering them on. My player of the game on offense pick is Wan’Dale Robinson and for the defense I will take Jordan Wright. I do believe in the Cats this game. I believe that the Cats will take the win this weekend 24-21. It’s a risky pick because Florida could easily win the game, but this is a massive game for the Cats and the team is going to come out strong after two weaker performances. Always remember also, GO CATS!!

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Devin Hall is a columnist for MESPORTS digital.  A University Louisville graduate who loves good music, good games and good times. He can be reached at DHall@maineventsports101.com. Follow him on Twitter @Mista_Hall25

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