Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Kentucky Wildcats

By Adam Silverstein
September 13, 2014

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather: 82°F (feels like 88°F), scattered t-storms (chance of rain: 40 percent)
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT

TV: SEC Network (Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer, Maria Taylor)

Streaming Video: SEC Network | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 119/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Stoops
Record: 1-0 (0-0 SEC) Record: 2-0 (0-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida -18.5 | O/U 53.5

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you forgot to check out via the links below!

Notebook: Muschamp sees room for improvement after Gators’ 65-0 win
Notebook: Jeff Driskel avoiding miscues; Dante Fowler Jr. leading defense
Notebook: Mark Stoops preparing for big test at Florida
Notebook: Kurt Roper wants Gators offense to stay humble, speed up
The Silver Lining: Florida loses J.C. Jackson for the season
Friday Final: “Trash talk,” coaching connections, Tim Tebow returns


HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida 47-17 all-time against Kentucky and enters Saturday’s game on a 27-game winning streak, which dates back to 1986 and is the longest active winning streak nationally in an annual series.
» The Gators won their 25th-straght season opener last week. It is the longest such winning streak in the SEC and second-longest in the nation behind Nebraska (29).
» Last week, UF won a football game for the first time in 336 days, shut out an opponent for the first time since 2012, scored 65+ points for the first time since 2008, registered the ninth-most yards in a single game in school history (655) and earned its largest margin of victory since 1997 (65 points).
» Florida finished 2013 with a 4-8 record, putting together its first losing season since it went winless (0-10-1) in 1979. UF rebounded to finish 8-4 in 1980, setting an NCAA record for best turnaround in major college football history at the time.
» Florida has forced more turnovers than any other SEC team this century. UF has accounted for 371 over the last 14 seasons, while LSU is second with 360 forced.
» The Gators are first nationally in interceptions returned for touchdowns (18) and interception return yards (1,896) since the start of the 2008 season. In that span, Florida is third in total interceptions with 107, behind only Oregon (114) and Boise State (113).
» Twenty-five players, including nine freshmen, 12 redshirt freshmen and three transfers, saw their first action for the Gators last Saturday.
» Florida has finished with an undefeated 7-0 record at home three times in the last eight seasons (2006, 2009, 2012).
» Redshirt senior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar enters Saturday having caught a pass in 29-straight games, a school record he hopes to continue extending each week.

SEC NATION

The SEC Network‘s College GameDay-esque Saturday show will emanate live from Gainesville on Saturday for the first time in program history. Built at the Plaza of Americas on UF’s campus, viewers at home will see a great shot of the Century Tower while host Joe Tessitore and analysts Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears and Paul Finebaum commiserate over the upcoming day of college football action.

Expect Tebow to be featured heavily on the program. He met with the media on Friday to discuss his return to Gainesville, what its like to still be so loved by Gators fans, and new role with SEC Network.

CELEBRITY MR. TWO-BITS

Former Florida defensive end Thaddeus Bullard, now a WWE wrestler known as Titus O’Neil, will be taking the reigns on Saturday.

INJURIES AND ABSENCES

» Probable (1): Redshirt sophomore defensive back Marcus Maye (hamstring)
» Questionable (1): Redshirt freshman linebacker Matt Rolin (ACL)
» Out (4): Junior left tackle D.J. Humphries (ankle), redshirt sophomore LB Jeremi Powell (knee), redshirt senior tight end Jake McGee (leg – season), freshman DB J.C. Jackson (shoulder – season)

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Florida
There is no question that the Gators are a week behind schedule, as Florida definitely wanted to play its two non-conference games in order to tune up for SEC play. With the Idaho game canceled, UF has been thrown into the fray without as much preparation. Simply put, the Gators cannot afford to stumble against the Wildcats. A loss to Kentucky would not only be embarrassing for the program, it would be the third time Muschamp has been involved setting a negative historic mark as it pertains to Florida’s schedule. Last season, he was at the helm of the a UF team that ended a 25-game winning streak against Vanderbilt and was the first to drop a game to an FCS opponent. The Gators must win Saturday, and a convincing win would be even better heading into one of their most difficult tests of the season next week when Florida travels to Alabama. Nevertheless, Sports Betting Dime is predicting that UF is a long shot to win the SEC at 10/1.

Kentucky
The Wildcats desire to be known as legitimate contenders in the SEC, and they have wanted that for years. Perhaps for the first time, Kentucky has a head coach that can truly lead the program to legitimate success, though he has yet to record a signature win in his short time at UK. Ending a 27-game losing streak to UF and taking down the Gators on their own home turf would not just be huge for stoops but historic for the Wildcats. Even if Kentucky does not win Saturday, a stellar showing would prove to the nation that its 2-0 start (in which UK outscored its opponents by a combined 79-17) was less fluke and more legitimate progress. Kentucky is nevertheless planning for success, according to ESPN.com, or else Stoops may find another reason to be furious at his team.

SEC NATION: STORIFIED

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