UK Opens SEC Schedule with No. 20/19 Florida at Home
Sept. 26, 2013
Kentucky will begin the 2013 Southeastern Conference campaign with a night game against No. 20/19 Florida in Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday. Kentucky will face its second-straight ranked opponent as UK’s next three opponents – including Florida – are all currently ranked inside the AP top 25.
Coming off a bye week, the Wildcats will look to bounce back from a 27-13 loss to top-10 ranked Louisville the last time out. Florida is coming off a 31-17 home victory over Tennessee last Saturday.
The Wildcats have embraced a youth movement in head coach Mark Stoops’ first season. Multiple newcomer players have seen action in the early part of the 2013 season.
Kentucky’s leading rusher in 2013 is Jojo Kemp, as the true freshman has run for 167 yards and is averaging 9.3 yards per attempt. The Wildcats’ top-three receivers this season are all newcomers to the team as well, led by transfer junior Javess Blue, who has 15 catches for 197 yards this season.
Senior linebacker Avery Williamson leads the SEC with 35 tackles as he is averaging 11.7 tackles per game this season. Junior transfer defensive end Za’Darius Smith ranks second in the conference with 4.5 sacks so far in 2013 with a league-high average of 1.5 per game.
Cat Scratches: UK looking to youngsters in bid to upset Florida
Within a few months of his arrival, Mark Stoops cobbled together one of the best recruiting classes in Kentucky football history.
Considering the talent of the group, it was clear many of the newcomers would play immediately. Few, however, could have predicted just how much of a youth movement would happen in Lexington.
Relying on so many players suiting up for the first time at the Division-I level, of course, has its pitfalls. Three games into the season, there have been plenty of growing pains. But as UK prepares for its Southeastern Conference opener and tries to end a 26-year losing streak to No. 20 Florida, there are positives too... read the full preview
Florida enters Saturday’s game ranked in the top 20 of both major college football polls after a 2-1 start. The Gators started the season with a win over Toledo before falling at Miami (Fla.) 21-16 in week two. UF started its SEC slate last weekend with a 31-17 home win over Tennessee. Florida is in its third season under head coach Will Muschamp.
The Florida defense has been very strong so far this season, ranking first in the SEC in scoring defense (14.7), total defense (212.3), rushing defense (55.3) and pass defense (157.0). Overall, the Gators rank second in the nation in total defense and sit in the top 20 nationally in nearly every defensive category. Sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison leads the team in tackles this season with 13, while junior linebacker Michael Taylor has 12 tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. Dante Fowler is tied for the team lead with four tackles for loss, adding a sack and three quarterback hurries, while Ronald Powell has four tackles for loss and two sacks.
Quarterback Jeff Driskel leads the team in passing, but will miss the rest of the season after sustaining an injury vs. Tennessee. Junior quarterback Tyler Murphy saw most of the playing time against Tennessee leading the Gators to the win. Murphy is 8-for-14 this season for 134 yards and one touchdown. Murphy has also rushed 10 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. Mack Brown leads the team in rushing with 227 yards and three touchdowns, while Matt Jones has 96 yards on 30 carries for a touchdown. Trey Burton is the leading receiver with 14 catches for 160 yards, while Solomon Patton has 10 catches for 212 yards and two TDs.