Florida faces its first road test against a Kentucky team that’s struggled at times in its first two games, but comes in at 2-0 just like them. It could be a make or break game for the Gators’ season if they want to make a respectable bowl game.
So here are ten things that I think will/won’t happen on Saturday:
1) By the end of the night, Florida will have found its starting QB for the future. Simply because Jim McElwain doesn’t have a choice any longer. I hope it’s Will Grier, but I’d rather go with Treon Harris forever than have the two keep splitting reps. Just… pick somebody.
2) Florida’s defense will allow fewer than 100 rushing yards. Kentucky’s averaging almost 200 yards on the ground through two games, but they haven’t faced a real defense yet.
3) Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkrite will each score a touchdown. Kelvin Taylor’s throat slash gesture cost him his starting spot, and #JordanSquared will take advantage of the opportunity.
4) Patrick Towles will not throw for over 250 yards. East Carolina’s Air Raid gashed Florida’s secondary last week, but that was without starting cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and starting safety Keanu Neal. With both of them (presumably) returning to the starting lineup, Towles may have a long night.
5) Both Will Grier and Treon Harris will throw a touchdown pass. It may very well be the last meaningful touchdown one of them throws as a Gator. But Kentucky’s defense has some holes, and no matter how difficult McElwain may make it for either QB to get into a rhythm by platooning them, both of them will find their groove eventually.
6) Florida will commit at least two turnovers. Nobody said this game is going to be easy. The Gators are bound to make mistakes here or there, and buoyed by their home crowd, the Cats will pounce.
7) Austin Hardin will make a 45+ yard field goal. I’ve learned not to trust Hardin as a kicker, but there’s no denying that he’s got a tremendous leg. He’ll shock us by booming a long one right through the uprights.
8) Kentucky will lead at some point in the second half. After the way last year’s game went down, it’s foolish to expect anything less than Kentucky’s best shot. That means the Wildcats will put themselves in a position to win the game with a second half advantage on the scoreboard.
9) Florida will accumulate at least six penalties. There were 12 last week. Cutting that number in half seems like a good goal. But lord have mercy on whoever gets flagged for the taunting penalty.
10) Florida will win a close, sloppy game. But not before scaring fans even more than they did last year with the thought that they really could lose. A back and forth, low scoring game culminates with a late Florida touchdown to put Kentucky away.
Projection: Florida 33, Kentucky 20