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Official Game Thread Week 2: #12 Florida Gators vs #20 Kentucky Wildcats 9/10/22

Escambia94

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Overview
The #12 Florida Gators kick off SEC play against the #20 Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, September 10 at 7 PM Eastern on ESPN. The Gators are favored by 6 at home and the over/under is at 52 points with a 54.8% FPI. Last year the Wildcats defeated the Gators 20-13. The seniors on this team are the only Gators to have suffered defeat at the hands of the Wildcats. The Gators lead the all-time series 53-19 in a rivalry that goes back to 1917. Under Mark Stoops the Wildcats are 20-8 in games where the point margin is 7 or less, and are 44-7 when leading at the half. Kentucky is 5-34 all-time against ranked Florida teams. Florida is 28-4 since Mullen's tenure when scoring 30 points a game. We will soon discover Napier's winning point threshold, which is currently at 29 after one game. Kentucky is 19-40 under Stoops when allowing more than 20 points. I predict a 32-17 victory for the Gators based on the following analysis.
KentuckyFlorida
37 P/F29 P/F
13 P/A26 P/A
353 YD/F451 YD/F
303 PASS YD168 PASS YD
50 RUSH YD283 RUSH YD
290 YD/A446 YD/A
179 PASS YD/A216 PASS YD/A
111 RUSH YD/A230 RUSH YD/A

Trenches
The Wildcats match up rather well against the Gators in the trenches, but the Gator offensive line performed very well compared to previous years and it could be the key to a Gator victory. Florida has not seen as good an offensive line since the days of the Great Wall of Florida in the 1980s. On the defensive line both teams are similar in size and will use similar techniques in a 3-3-5/ hybrid 3-4 defense. Florida's defensive front looks good at times, but on occasion the EDGE will fail to set the edge and allow opposing running backs and dual threat QBs to cut across the grain for yardage.

Kentucky Offensive LineFlorida Offensive Line
LT 68 Kenneth Horsey RSr 6-3 304 Sanford, FL/ SeminoleLT 76 Richard Gouraige RSr 6-5 308 Tampa, FL/ Cambridge Christian
LG 62 Jager Burton RFr 6-4 301 Lexington, KY/ DouglassLG 77 Ethan White Sr 6-4 331 Clearwater, FL/ Calvary Christian
OC 75 Eli Cox RJr 6-4 298 Nicholasville, KY/ W JessamineOC 65 Kingsley Eguakun RJr 6-3 301 Jacksonville, FL/ Sandalwood
RG 79 Tashawn Manning GrTrSr 6-4 330 Apopka, FL/ Wekiva (Auburn Transfer)RG 54 O'Cyrus Torrence TrSr 6-5 347 Greensburg, LA/ St. Helena Central
RT 77 Jeremy Flax Jr 6-6 328 Detroit, MI/ RobichaudRT 70 Michael Tarquin RJr 6-5 320 Ocala, FL/ N Marion

Kentucky Defensive LineFlorida Defensive Line
DE 90 Tre'vonn Rybka RSo 6-4 275 Dickson, TN/ Dickson CountyDE 33 Princely Umanmielen JR 6-5 245 Manor, Tx/ Manor
NT 52 Justin Rogers JR 6-3 332 Oak Park, MI/ Oak ParkNT 92 Jalen Lee JR 6-2 299 Watson, LA/ Live Oak
DT 8 Octavious Oxendine Jr 6-1 281 Radcliff, KY/ N HardinDL/ EDGE 9 Gervon Dexter SO 6-6 312 Lake Wales, FL

Linebackers
The key to the Kentucky defense is the linebacker corps, which returns all of its starters from last year. The Gator linebacker corps is nowhere near as good, but the Wildcats are playing without their All-SEC running back Chris Rodriguez, who is suspended for a DUI. The Kentucky linebackers also have the advantage in terms of total experience and experience in the same defense. The Gators have an overhauled defense that sometimes puts WILL Amari Burney and JACK Brenton Cox into new situations. As long as Cox remembers to set the opposite edge from EDGE Gervon Dexter and DE Princely Umanmielen the 5-man front should be fine. When the Gators are pressed into 4 and 3-man fronts, both Burney and Cox can be liabilities in pass defense and in some run defense situations where a QB or TE (or in the case of Kentucky, a FB) leaks out.

Kentucky LinebackersFlorida Linebackers
MIKE 10 Jacquez Jones GrTrSr 6-0 233MIKE 51 Ventrell Miller RSr 6-0 221
WILL 5 DeAndre Square GrSr 6-1 221WILL 2 Amari Burney RSr 6-2 228
OLB 13 JJ Weaver RJr 6-5 242JACK 1 Brenton Cox TrSr 6-3 252

Secondary
Florida is still a ways from its heyday as DBU, but they may get a solid test this weekend. Kentucky's secondary looked good against an elementary school football team, so they have that.
FCB 1 Keidron Smith TrSrFCB 24 Avery Helm RSo
BCB 14 Carrington Valentine JrBCB 3 Jason Marshall RFr
NICKEL 23 Andru Philips RSoSTAR 16 Tre'Vez Johnson Jr
SS 6 Tyrell Ajian GrSrSS 0 Trey Dean RSr
FS 4 Jalen Geiger RJrFS/CREEPER 22 Rashad Torrence Jr
 
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DRU2012

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(Note: Not sure, but it appears you had more to say above, E--. This is important, because I was engrossed in your analysis!)
It is OUR defense that I am most concerned about now... I THINK we are somewhat improved overall over last season--even if that is more a matter of discipline, motivation and technique more than talent and/or personnel as of yet.
I suppose we are about to find out if the Utah team we just faced and triumphed over was really a top-shelf squad that REQUIRED every BIT of the improvement in performance that we thought we saw in Game 1, or if we are about to see another nerve-racking barn-burner we'll be LUCKY to take at the very end.
We'll take the WIN in ANY form, obviously--but as I have noted repeatedly, my eyes thus far tell me that we are a better TEAM all around now. Not that we have a great deal of data or hard evidence in that regard yet.
Stoops' teams tend to be well-prepared and rise to the occasion, at least against us. We must assume that even down a few guys they will present another strong challenge start-to-finish tomorrow night in The Swamp--but it IS at our place, which looks to be ROCKIN' again like days of old. These Wildcats will be ready to face that--Stoops will make sure of THAT. But we finally have a calm and composed Head Coach now who will I believe again have his young charges themselves in the proper state-of-mind.
That, as much as anything else I feel will be the difference this time.
I'm not sure that'll be reflected in as big a margin as YOU project, E--, but if we DO score 30 or more, we WILL win this game.
GO GATORS!
Eat 'em UP!!!
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
Quarterbacks
Will Levis is going to throw a lot because the Wildcats are shorthanded at running back. Levis does have a couple tight ends that operate in a similar manner as the Utah tight ends. Coach Napier did not highlight the passing game last week, so we do not know if the passing game was purposely limited or if there is something else going on. In a sample size of 1, Kentucky's passing offense does look formidable against MAC teams.
Kentucky QuarterbackFlorida Quarterback
7 Will Levis 6-3 232 Madison, CT (21/32 303 YD 65.6% 3 TD 1 INT 169.9 RAT 46.0 QBR)15 Anthony Richardson 6-4 232 Gainesville, FL (17/24 168 YD 70.8% 129.6 RAT 94.8 QBR)

Tight Ends, H-Backs, Fullbacks
Kentucky does use a fullback as a Tight End/ H-back. As a matter of fact, they have two of them Dingles. Yes. RFr Jordan Dingle and TrRSr Justice Dingle are FB1 and FB2 playing at the TE/H-back spot. Their true TE is RSr Brendan Bates. Bates is less of a receiving threat and he will likely be used to augment their offensive line. The Cats will dangle the Dingles for the H-back passing game with Jordan Dingle jangling the stat box to the tune of 2 receptions for 11 yards and a 5.5 yard average last week. Justice Dingle is the other dingleberry who converted from defensive back at Georgia Tech to fullback at Kentucky. The only stats that I am aware of is that the Dingle brothers share a sister-wife.

Florida is also using a TE set consisting of a player with a position change. As a mater of fact, Dante Zanders not only changed positions from defensive line to tight end, but also changed names from Dante Lang to Dante Zanders. Zanders is more of a blocking tight end who had some decent blocks on the offensive edge last week. Zanders also has the size to play on the left side of Florida's unbalance line when Rob Sale and Darnell Stapleton call for the formation in key situations. Zipperer is more of a receiving threat as the detached tight end. He had one catch for 7 yards last week. In previous seasons he has averaged between 10.3 and 13.2 yards per catch and a touchdown each season with long catches 25-39 yards. We have not seen anything from 84 Nick Elksinis, 89 Hayden Hansen, or 81 Arlis Boardingham, but I would not be surprised to see one of them worked into the rotation in SEC play.
Kentucky WR-H/TEFlorida WR-H/TE
80 Brenden Bates 6-5 264 Cincinnati, OH18 Dante Zanders 6-5 262
85 Jordan Dingle 6-4 236 Bowling Green, KY9 Keon Zipperer 6-1 246 Lakeland, FL

Wide Receivers/ Wide Blockers
The Gators feature several large receivers and blockers set wide with a sprinkling of speedy inside receivers, including local boy Trent Whittemore and transfer Ricky Pearsall. The Cats have an excellent deep threat receiver, Tayvion Robinson. The Gator DBs will have a field day defending him one-on-one. I expect him to get his yardage along with a few pop passes to the running backs.
Kentucky Wide Receivers/BlockersFlorida Wide Receivers/Blockers
WR-X 6 Dane Key Fr (4 rec, 53 yd, 1 TD)WR-X 3 Xzavier Henderson Jr (6 rec, 41 yd)
WR-Z Barion Brown Fr (3 rec, 45 yd)WR-Z 1 Ricky Pearsall TrJr (4 rec, 67 yd)
WR-F Tayvion Robinson TrJr (6 rec, 136 yd)WR-Y 4 Justin Shorter TrRSr (2 rec, 25 yd)
WR-X2 89 Chris Lewis RFrWR-X2 8 Daejon Reynolds RFr (1 rec, 5 yd)
WR-Z2 Demarcus Harris RJr (1 rec, 15 yd)WR-Z2 14 Trent Whittemore RJr
WR-F2 Chauncey Magwood RFr (1 rec, 8 yd, 1 TD)WR-Y2 0 Ja'Quavion Fraziars Jr

Running Backs
RSr Kavosiey Smoke must pick up the load for Kentucky's #4 all-time leading rusher. Last year Smoke only carried the ball 4 times for 17 yards in the UK victory compared to Rodriguez's 19 carries for 99. Smoke averaged 4.6 yards on 7 carries for 32 yards against the other Miami, so the Gators should respect his ability even if he lacks the credentials of the suspended Rodriguez and if the Gators have not corrected a few things from the Utah game. Will Levis is a low threat to run, having run 6 times for 21 yards. Backup running back RFr La'Vell Wright has only carried the ball 3 times for 10 yards this year and he has a grand total 119 yards since 2021. The Gator running back corps is deadly behind the new offensive line (see above). The Gator running backs totaled 283 yards against #7 Utah last week. The Kentucky running backs totaled 50 yards against a G5 school. The Kentucky linebackers probably will not be able to contain the stable of running backs that also includes dual threat QB Anthony Richardson.
Kentucky Running BacksFlorida Running Backs
RB1 24 Chris Rodriguez Sr 5-11 224 McDonough, GARB1 5 Nayquan Wright RJr 5-9 202 Miami Gardens, FL/ Carol City (10 att, 39 yd, 3.9 yd/rush)
RB2 0 Kavosiey Smoke RSr 5-9 209 Wetumpka, AL (7 att, 32 yd, 4.6 yd/rush)RB2 2 Montrell Johnson TrRSo 5-10 218 New Orleans, LA/ De La Salle (Louisiana transfer)(12 att, 75 yd, 6.3 yd/rush, 1 TD)
RB3 29 La'Vell Wright RFr 609 217 Louisville, KY (3 att, 10 yd, 3.3 yd/rush)RB3 7 Tevor Etienne Fr 5-9 217 Jennings, LA/ Jennings (5 att, 64 yd, 12.8 yd/rush)
RB4 17 Jutahn McClain Jr 5-9 201 Fairfield, OH (6 att, 16 yd, 2.7 yd/rush)QB1 15 Anthony Richardson So 6-4 232 Gainesville, FL (11 att, 106 yd, 9.6 yd/rush, 3 TD)
 
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DRU2012

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(Note: Not sure, but it appears you had more to say above, E--. This is important, because I was engrossed in your analysis!)
It is OUR defense that I am most concerned about now... I THINK we are somewhat improved overall over last season--even if that is more a matter of discipline, motivation and technique more than talent and/or personnel as of yet.
I suppose we are about to find out if the Utah team we just faced and triumphed over was really a top-shelf squad that REQUIRED every BIT of the improvement in performance that we thought we saw in Game 1, or if we are about to see another nerve-racking barn-burner we'll be LUCKY to take at the very end.
We'll take the WIN in ANY form, obviously--but as I have noted repeatedly, my eyes thus far tell me that we are a better TEAM all around now. Not that we have a great deal of data or hard evidence in that regard yet.
Stoops' teams tend to be well-prepared and rise to the occasion, at least against us. We must assume that even down a few guys they will present another strong challenge start-to-finish tomorrow night in The Swamp--but it IS at our place, which looks to be ROCKIN' again like days of old. These Wildcats will be ready to face that--Stoops will make sure of THAT. But we finally have a calm and composed Head Coach now who will I believe again have his young charges themselves in the proper state-of-mind.
That, as much as anything else I feel will be the difference this time.
I'm not sure that'll be reflected in as big a margin as YOU project, E--, but if we DO score 30 or more, we WILL win this game.
GO GATORS!
Eat 'em UP!!!

Whoa. A WHOLE lot "more to say above"!
I'm a little confused as to how everything after "The Secondary" came through AFTER I received and responded to it above.
A veritable "epic DRAMA". Sometimes a comedy, even (that whole "Dingle/dangle", jangle/jingle thing? That's real, right?)...
So, if our Offense can roll up 30+ on these guys and basically "Swamp 'em in The Swamp", will it be our "Deadly RBs" or a reveal of Anthony's developing accuracy with his powerful arm that gets it done for us this coming week?
Another chapter in the Florida Gators' "We'll See" Season, 2022, under new Coach Billy Napier.
 

Escambia94

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Moderator
@DRU2012 The forum limits the number of characters in a post, and it discarded part of my content. By the time I fixed it by splitting it in two, you had responded in the middle.
 

DRU2012

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@DRU2012 The forum limits the number of characters in a post, and it discarded part of my content. By the time I fixed it by splitting it in two, you had responded in the middle.
Thought it might be something like that...similar has happened to me from time to time--and why I don't always use the "reply" option, but rather address you directly OR simply ASSUME you'll see my response, since experience has shown that using "reply" means that whatever I then write will be prefaced/repeated by your detailed post then directly above it--which may be unnecessary, and can limit MY room to properly respond in similarly extended manner...As I say, that has HAPPENED to me on occasion. What was different THIS time was the "close timing" you mention: As a matter of fact, that too eventually occurred to me as perhaps what had contributed. But thanks for explaining/confirming my suspicions.
 

Escambia94

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Moderator
Kentucky RB Chris Rodriguez is officially ruled out for today (suspended for DUI). Kavosiey Smoke will be the primary running back. Smoke will need to have a career day in order for Kentucky to beat Florida, assuming Florida does not rack up 120+ yards of penalties like last year. Last year Florida limited Chris Rodriguez to 99 yards rushing, but the penalties killed them.

 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
If Kentucky cannot get the running game going as they failed to do against Miami (Ohio), how many yards passing will be necessary to beat the Gators? Will Levis threw for 303 yards against Miami (Ohio), but I doubt he will get more than 200 behind that offensive line that surrendered 3 sacks and a half dozen QB hurries.

The Gator 3-3-5 defense is built to stop the spread offense passing game and it performed rather well flexing into a 3-4 in obvious running situations. Even in its base formation it takes talented TEs to exploit the personnel mismatch. Obviously a team with explosive receivers can beat the Gators via talent over scheme, and Kentucky does have Tayvion Robinson as a deep threat.

 
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DRU2012

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I am psyched--and living, BREATHING college football BEFORE 10 AM (!!!) on a Saturday morning in SEPTEMBER!
Normally I am determined to AVOID this sort of overheated state-of-mind at ANY point short of an outright season-ending Championship Game...
PART of the problem for us Gators stuck in south-central TX is this Horns-host-Tide-game kicking off at 11am here in Austin 's DK Royal Stadium. The town is abuzz, College GameDay is here and Black's is delivering heaped mounds of assorted barbecue to each of the guys at their places on-camera FOR BREAKFAST OUTSIDE the stadium...Most of the folks I know here, many of 'em UT grads, in truth don't expect a Texas victory:
"Just like to see us hold up throughout, show well--not embarrass ourselves..." is the common refrain. That, and a linked follow up mention of the LAST time these two met, in the 2010 BCS Championship Game, where the OTHER "common refrain" keeps being sung:
"If Colt doesn't get hurt, we WIN that game and have another National Championship!"
And to spice this one up further, there's a bitter undercurrent to that last point, the suggestion/suspicion that the injury was the result of an intentional "dirty hit", TRYING to take Colt McCoy OUT of that game.
Which in turn adds a definite "Revenge Factor" underlying this one--at least from the fans' standpoint...As for the players, perhaps they can use it to get some motivationl traction from it:
They'll need everything they can GET here.
My point in mentioning all this is that it has made it virtually impossible for me to do what I was inclined to do...ie. stay composed, low key, maybe watch a movie early in the day, go out to Zilker Park/Barton Springs, ANYTHING but get myself worked up watching/thinking/talking college FOOTBALL this early on THIS particular Saturday! It's still morning, and OUR game in the Swamp isn't until TONIGHT.
Sigh...Let's be real: Guess I'll at LEAST see how this Game plays out early, like everyone around me here. My neighbors next door, All twenty-something UT grads sharing a house, are having a backyard watch-party, with their 70-incher set up along with keg and barbecue going already.
They were smart and invited everyone up and down the block "to stop by".
It will be a LOOOONG Day.
Got MY Gator Flag flying outside my front door, as usual on a Fall Friday...All in all, I'm set up for "feast or famine", I fear.
 

DRU2012

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Crap. With every damn bad luck/bad call/bad injury that has happened in a game I really didn't want or mean to see in the first place, the main effect this "height-of-frustration game" that Bama at Texas has turned out to be, at least for me, has been to hilight all the ways something like this could happen to US tonight in the Swamp!
I can't even imagine how extremely apoplectic I'd be by the 4th quarter if all of this were to happen to OUR team at home!
To know your team should have WON the game, but lose the starting AND back up QBs, still get inside the red zone SIX TIMES and (thanks to settling for field goals--and missing some of THOSE!--plus seeing the officials ignoring opponent's glaring penalties time and time again) only coming up with 16 points??!
Alabama will almost certainly win this--though Texas IS driving at the end.
Talk about "woulda/shoulda/coulda"!
No matter HOW it actually comes out, this game has given me a really bad feeling about OUR game. Am not exactly SURE why.
 

DRU2012

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(Am drinking PRODIGIOUSLY in the aftermath--as are most everyone stumbling into each other here in my neighbors' back yard at this point...
Mostly keg beer--though I am augmenting THAT with a few ounces of aged French brandy out of a flask I brought with me. I'm not up for the shots of local vodka the rest are dumping back.
They're switching among games and slurring complaining about the game just over less than an hour ago here...Guess I'll thank our hosts and head to home soon. Try to move on, focus on other things, anything BUT CFB for a while--hopefully be able to refocus and to some extent ENJOY what will hopefully be a more satisfying contest out in the Swamp in around two and a half hours. Am COUNTING on it NOW!
I REALLY need to see a Gator team calmly composed and prepared to EXECUTE, smoothly and properly--play a complete game that has us well in control and able to finish in satisfactory fashion to close the game out in the 4th quarter.
Do we have that IN us yet?
Now would be a good time.
"See" y'all In a coupla hours or so.)
 

DRU2012

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They put the Tenn at Pitt game up next door.
That game looks to be going in a direction that will only fuel MORE worries in coming weeks now, no matter WHAT the outcome of OUR game vs the Wildcats later today.
Some folks in our Nation root for basically ALL SEC teams when they play out-of-conference games, but I'm not one of them--well, not always. Last week was different (against all those Pac-12 teams), and late in the season and into the Bowls, when further demonstration of our general superiority can be once more well re-established.
But though it was a little more complicated with respect to the big one here in Austin today, I would have enjoyed seeing Alabama fall, just as I was hoping that Pitt would beat the Vols at Pitt today--mainly to see them brought down a notch or two, AND present some weaknesses and openings for US to exploit.
I'm home and have it on in the background--though not for much longer, I suspect. It isn't that I'm a big Pitt fan or anything; I just prefer to see Tennessee exposed in various ways, if possible.
In the long run, that is more likely to help US, when the time comes that we face each other.
See? This is why I don't really ENJOY these late-starting Saturday Gator games: More like "SUFFER through the day!", regardless of what kind of matchups are out there.
When we play earlier, it's more a "fifty/FIFTY" proposition: If we lose, that's IT, the DAY is OVER, and I don't WATCH any other games. If we WIN I can relax and actually ENJOY the rest of whatever is shown, pretty well REGARDLESS of "who what when where or how"!
Even the dumbass media yappers can't get to me: I can even laugh off the most shallow and banal chatter that passes for "analysis".
 

DRU2012

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Here we go. UK won the toss, elected to defer.
We get the ball--and AGAIN don't take the fair catch, and suffer for it.
Run for 2. Then hits the slant for a first down.
Damn. Had the guy open long--overthrow.
Now 3rd and long.
Over THREW the open guy open for a nice gain.
Punting.
 

DRU2012

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Stopped the QB draw--Cox, of course.
3rd and long...Nice stop!
They gotta punt from DEEP.
 

DRU2012

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OK. Good field position near the 50.
AR needs to take charge, get us a drive here.
 

DRU2012

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We are still waiting for Anthony to do some things with that arm of his; if he can, I think we can take control of this one.
 

DRU2012

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Pearsall's a good one. Let's get him in the endzone.
Run for 5; inside the 25 now on 3rd down...
 
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