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Florida vs. Kentucky football preview, prediction

Your guide to Florida vs. Kentucky on the Week 2 college football schedule
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A pair of SEC rivals meet in an early season matchup that could go a long way in determining how the East Division shapes up as Florida and Kentucky square off in a Week 2 matchup from the Swamp.

Kentucky earned a historic win in this series last season, beating the Gators in Lexington for the first time since 1986.

But now Florida looks rejuvenated under 1st year coach Billy Napier, whose debut included an upset win over then-No. 7 Utah.

Here's what you need to know about this Saturday's Week 2 game.

Florida vs. Kentucky football preview, prediction

Florida Gators college football team schedule, rankings

Week 2 college football schedule: Kentucky vs. Florida

How to watch

When: Sat., Sept. 10

Time: 7 p.m. Eastern

TV: ESPN network

Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)

Florida vs. Kentucky odds, point spread, game lines

Line: Florida -6

O/U: 52

Moneyline: UF -250, UK +188

FPI pick: Florida 54.8%

Kentucky vs. Florida: What to watch

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis at a college football game in the SEC.

1. Florida against UK's run game. Kentucky won't have Chris Rodriguez running the ball as he serves a suspension, a stroke of luck for the Gators. Rodriguez's absence was felt in Week 1 against Miami (OH) as the Wildcats mustered just 50 rushing yards for a mere 1.9 ypc average. Will Levis had minus-18 on the ground, which cut into that average, but UK's top 3 backs combined for 58 total. Florida allowed 230 on the ground from Utah, but that was a group led by star Tavion Thomas, and Kentucky doesn't bring anyone like that into this game.

2. Meanwhile, Florida can run. Led by quarterback Anthony Richardson, the Gators piled on 283 ground yards and 4 TDs while averaging over 7 per touch against a very good and physical Utah run stop. Florida can create space for its backs and, when combined with tempo, is tough to stop.

3. Richardson in the air. The Florida QB was efficient passing against Utah, going 17 of 24 and didn't have a turnover. But he went under 170 yards, didn't throw a TD, and averaged just 7.0 ypa. Kentucky's solid linebackers will contain center field and pressure the pocket well enough to limit Richardson's running ability and force him to win the game with his arm. That needs to be the next step in the Gator QB's development.

Florida vs. Kentucky: Fast Facts

Florida Gators college football team

+ Kentucky is 20-8 (.714) in games decided by 7 or fewer points since 2016

+ Anthony Richardson is the first FBS player since Adrian Martinez to have an 80-plus yard run and a 75-plus yard pass in 1 game

+ Kentucky is 5-34 against ranked Florida teams all time

+ Florida is 28-4 since 2018 when scoring 30-plus points in a game

+ UK has not defeated Florida in consecutive years since 1976-77

+ UF is 27-4 when leading at halftime since the 2018 season

+ Kentucky if 44-7 when leading at the half under Mark Stoops and is 9-42 when trailing at the break

+ Of Richardson's 13 career TDs: 3 are 45-plus yard passes, 2 are 70-plus yard runs, 7 were 25 yards or more, 5 were 40-plus yards, and 3 were of 70 or more yards

+ UK is 19-40 under Stoops allowing 20-plus points and 7-32 allowing over 30 points

+ Kentucky is 51-4 under Stoops when leading after 3 quarters and 5-46 when opponents lead after 3

What happens?

There's no denying the momentum Kentucky has built in recent years under head coach Mark Stoops, who is fresh off signing the school's best ever recruiting class.

Will Levis is still capable of pushing around a secondary, especially a Gators back seven that had occasional issues against Utah's downfield game last week.

But without the production on the ground generated by Chris Rodriguez, the Wildcats lose a vital dimension of its offensive game plan, and with it the ability to better control the pace of the game and maintain possession.

UK's front seven will challenge Richardson about as well as Richardson did, but won't be able to bottle up the Gators quarterback the whole time.

College Football HQ Prediction: Florida 28, Kentucky 24

College football rankings

According to AP top 25 poll

  1. Alabama
  2. Georgia
  3. Ohio State
  4. Michigan
  5. Clemson
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Baylor
  10. USC
  11. Oklahoma State
  12. Florida
  13. Utah
  14. Michigan State
  15. Miami
  16. Arkansas
  17. Pittsburgh
  18. NC State
  19. Wisconsin
  20. Kentucky
  21. BYU
  22. Ole Miss
  23. Wake Forest
  24. Tennessee
  25. Houston

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