For the first time in almost two years the Kentucky Wildcats will play in front of a sold out home crowd. Mark Stoops’ Wildcats have played 11 consecutive home games since they last sold out the newly named Kroger Field against Auburn back in October, 2015.
This week Kentucky announced a sell out crowd for the 7:30 p.m. matchup with the Florida Gators and the Wildcats have been a popular pick among national pundits. Local Lexington newspapers are even writing stories about the potential that Kentucky fans would rush the field after a win this weekend.
Needless to say, the environment should be especially hectic and hostile for the visiting team.
“I love it. As a player I relished playing on the road. I truly enjoyed playing on the road more than I did at home,” Florida head coach Jim McElwain said. “Why? I don’t know. I think it’s just using the energy of the opposition that hates you, for those three hours with that uniform on. The hostility, I don’t know how you can’t love it and I don’t know how you don’t play better on the road.”
McElwain has always enjoyed the history of rivalries throughout the SEC and going to play at historic venues. He does know that that sort of energy can affect individuals differently. Fortunately the Gators had the opportunity to play in a NFL stadium this season and they also played in front of more than 87,000 in The Swamp. The Gators know that Kentucky is coming for them and they’re prepping for that.
“It’s going to be a great night,”McElwain said. “I know this is what makes it fun, you go to a sold-out arena on the road. That’s why you do this stuff. This is fun. It’ll be interesting. It’ll be interesting to see where our team is.