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    Demarcus Robinson catches a touchdown pass on 4th and goal in the first overtime against Kentucky in 2014. / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

Florida Gators 2015
opponent preview: Kentucky Wildcats

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Written by Nick de la Torre, July 31, 2015, 2 Comments,
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Here it is.

After two warm up games against lesser foes, the Florida Gators and Jim McElwain will open the SEC schedule against the Kentucky Wildcats. This will be the first time McElwain takes his team on the road, his first SEC game and his first true test.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s Kentucky, they’ve lost 28-consecutive games against the Gators and this year will be 29. Well, this isn’t your grandfather’s Kentucky.

Mark Stoops has done a very good job building a program that will always be in the shadow of the basketball team and he’s brought a lot of quality players into school. Kentucky is young, but they’re experience and they’re hungry to end the streak that started before any player on either roster was born.

Last season was disappointing for the Wildcats who missed out on a bowl game after a red-hot 5-1 start to the season. They’ll look to get back to a bowl game for the first time since 2010 this season.

Opponent: Kentucky Wildcats

When and Where:

The Florida Gators will travel to Lexington to kick off the SEC schedule on Saturday, September 19.

 

All-Time Matchup:

Florida leads the series 48-17.

 

Last Matchup:

The Gators won 36-30 in triple overtime.

Key Returners:

QB | Patrick Towles | JR

(225-393, 2,718 yards, 14 TD, 9 INT / 145 carries, 303 yards, 6 TD)

Towles is one of the better quarterbacks returning in the SEC. Towles started every game last season, the first time a quarterback has done that at Kentucky since Andre Woodson in 2007. Kentucky utilizes an Air Raid style of offense that will feature Towles arm. He’s also a threat to run, and at 6-5 and over 240 pounds, he’s a load to bring down in the open field.

Last season Towles threw for three touchdowns and three interceptions against Florida. His 369 yards were the third most that the Gators allowed all season.

RB | Stanley Williams | SO

( 76 carries, 486 yards, 5 TD)

As a freshman, Williams led the Wildcats in rushing attempts (74), yards (486) and touchdowns. The Air Raid offense doesn’t favor running backs but Williams will be called upon to bring balance to the offense and keep defenses honest. Kentucky will need him to pick up the tough yards when they get down near the goal line.

 

LB | Josh Forrest | SR

(110 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT)

Forrest led the Wildcats with 110 tackles as a junior and he returns for his senior season as one of the leader on defense. Forrest is the best linebacker that Kentucky has had since Avery Williamson and Stoops needs him to anchor the defense in the middle.

 

Key Loses: DL Bud Dupree, DL Za’Darius Smith, DB Ashley Lowery

 

Matchup Preview:

28.

That number has been engrained into the minds of every player at Kentucky. Every player on the roster wants to be part of the team that beats Florida and with the Gators changing head coaches, working in two young quarterbacks and trying to find an identity early on in the season this could be the year for the Wildcats.

Kentucky is finishing renovations on their stadium and the game against Florida will be sold out. This is the first test of the Jim McElwain coaching era and it’s a pass/fail. A loss to Kentucky on the gridiron has become unacceptable at Florida.

I can’t pick Kentucky just yet. The Wildcats don’t have enough weapons on offense to challenge Florida’s defense — not to mention no answer for Demarcus Robinson who had 15 catches for 216 yards and two scores in last year’s contest — and the Gators will make it 29 in a row before turning their attention to Tennessee.

Nick de la Torre

About Nick de la Torre

A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC

  1. showmeJuly 31, 2015, 1:45 pm

    I don’t share your optimism about the outcome of the Kentucky game. The reason UF won last year is not because of Demarcus Robinson, even though he had a great game. It was because UF’s offensive line was superior to Kentucky’s defensive line and Florida was able to mash Kentucky with Matt jones and keep the ball away from Kentucky’s offense which had some success against the Gator defense. I don’t see UF having the same advantage on the offensive line this year, and that, along with a green quarterback, if Will Grier wins the job, poses major problems. Stoops will come up with some exotic looks on defense that will confuse UF’s quarterback into making mistakes.
    I think the key to UF winning will be to stop Kentucky’s offense. I think Kentucky will have the better quarterback on the field and the key to stopping him will be for UF’s secondary, particularly the safeties, to do their job.
    I see a close low-scoring game with the team that makes the fewest self-inflicted mistakes winning. UF going into a hostile arena where the other team will play like it’s their Super Bowl, and have someone under center that is a better player makes the game a hard one for me to see UF winning. I’ll quit hedging and come out and say it. I think Kentucky doesn’t come close again this year, I think they beat Florida. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see a coaching change making a dramatic difference. You still have to block and tackle, and in UF’s case, blocking may be a problem.

    • landportJuly 31, 2015, 3:21 pm

      The Bottom Line: The Gator will likely win five (5) games (New Mexico St., E. Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and FAU). The reason they will win five games is due to: (1) Injuries, OL and LB, (2) Inexperience at QB, (3) Lack of SEC-quality depth when the injuries start coming. In October the Gators will lose five straight against SEC competition. The turn-around will start on the field in the 2016 season.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Florida-Gators-wide-receiver-Demarcus-Robinson-Florida-Football-2014-Kentucky-The-Swamp-touchdown-overtime-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre FeatureFootball ,,,,
Print Friendly

Here it is.

After two warm up games against lesser foes, the Florida Gators and Jim McElwain will open the SEC schedule against the Kentucky Wildcats. This will be the first time McElwain takes his team on the road, his first SEC game and his first true test.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s Kentucky, they’ve lost 28-consecutive games against the Gators and this year will be 29. Well, this isn’t your grandfather’s Kentucky.

Mark Stoops has done a very good job building a program that will always be in the shadow of the basketball team and he’s brought a lot of quality players into school. Kentucky is young, but they’re experience and they’re hungry to end the streak that started before any player on either roster was born.

Last season was disappointing for the Wildcats who missed out on a bowl game after a red-hot 5-1 start to the season. They’ll look to get back to a bowl game for the first time since 2010 this season.

Opponent: Kentucky Wildcats

When and Where:

The Florida Gators will travel to Lexington to kick off the SEC schedule on Saturday, September 19.

 

All-Time Matchup:

Florida leads the series 48-17.

 

Last Matchup:

The Gators won 36-30 in triple overtime.

Key Returners:

QB | Patrick Towles | JR

(225-393, 2,718 yards, 14 TD, 9 INT / 145 carries, 303 yards, 6 TD)

Towles is one of the better quarterbacks returning in the SEC. Towles started every game last season, the first time a quarterback has done that at Kentucky since Andre Woodson in 2007. Kentucky utilizes an Air Raid style of offense that will feature Towles arm. He’s also a threat to run, and at 6-5 and over 240 pounds, he’s a load to bring down in the open field.

Last season Towles threw for three touchdowns and three interceptions against Florida. His 369 yards were the third most that the Gators allowed all season.

RB | Stanley Williams | SO

( 76 carries, 486 yards, 5 TD)

As a freshman, Williams led the Wildcats in rushing attempts (74), yards (486) and touchdowns. The Air Raid offense doesn’t favor running backs but Williams will be called upon to bring balance to the offense and keep defenses honest. Kentucky will need him to pick up the tough yards when they get down near the goal line.

 

LB | Josh Forrest | SR

(110 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT)

Forrest led the Wildcats with 110 tackles as a junior and he returns for his senior season as one of the leader on defense. Forrest is the best linebacker that Kentucky has had since Avery Williamson and Stoops needs him to anchor the defense in the middle.

 

Key Loses: DL Bud Dupree, DL Za’Darius Smith, DB Ashley Lowery

 

Matchup Preview:

28.

That number has been engrained into the minds of every player at Kentucky. Every player on the roster wants to be part of the team that beats Florida and with the Gators changing head coaches, working in two young quarterbacks and trying to find an identity early on in the season this could be the year for the Wildcats.

Kentucky is finishing renovations on their stadium and the game against Florida will be sold out. This is the first test of the Jim McElwain coaching era and it’s a pass/fail. A loss to Kentucky on the gridiron has become unacceptable at Florida.

I can’t pick Kentucky just yet. The Wildcats don’t have enough weapons on offense to challenge Florida’s defense — not to mention no answer for Demarcus Robinson who had 15 catches for 216 yards and two scores in last year’s contest — and the Gators will make it 29 in a row before turning their attention to Tennessee.

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