Florida Gators' next opponent: Scouting report on the Kentucky Wildcats

David Whitley
Gator Sports

Kentucky (1-0) at Florida (1-0)

When: 7 p.m Saturday. TV: ESPN. Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Fla. 

Last week: The Wildcats beat Miami of Ohio 37-13, though it was more of a struggle than anticipated. Kentucky needed a late field goal to take a 13-10 halftime lead but eventually wore down the visitors from the MAC. The Wildcats rebuilt offensive line struggled to open holes and protect the QB.

Best offensive player: It’s probably running back Chris Rodriguez, but he’s suspended for disciplinary reasons. Even if he were available, the most crucial player is QB Will Levis. He transferred from Penn State last season and got a lot of attention for eating banana peels and putting mayonnaise in his coffee. But Levis has evolved into a top-flight QB, completing 21 of 32 passes for 303 yards in the opener.

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Kentucky quarterback Will Levis

Best defensive player: The Wildcats’ secondary is a bit suspect, but linebacker J.J. Weaver leads a strong defensive front seven. He’s 6-foot-5, weighs 242 pounds and has six fingers (counting the thumb) on his right hand. UF won’t see many players like that this season.

Fun fact: The win over Miami of Ohio was Mark Stoops’ 60th at Kentucky, tying him for the school’s all-time mark with someone named Bear Bryant. “You can’t put my name in the same (sentence) as Bear Bryant’s,” Stoops said. “You know what I mean?”

Series: Florida leads 53-19, a margin punctuated by a winning streak from 1987-2017. It’s been a painful 2-2 since then for UF. Last year’s 20-13 defeat featured 15 penalties, including eight false starts. Whichever team wins Saturday will establish itself as the best SEC East Team Not Named Georgia (and maybe Tennessee).

Quote: “We had to replace three guys lost to the NFL, so you can’t rebuild the wall overnight. It’s going to take some time. We had a lot of guys that never even started a game here,” — Center Eli Cox on Kentucky’s offensive line.