GAMEDAY: UK vs. Florida

Kentucky hopes to end 26 years of frustration on Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium when the Wildcats play host to No. 20 Florida. Can UK break through for their first win over the Gators since Ronald Reagan was in the White House and "We Are The World" was the Billboard Song of the Year?

Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY.

Play-by-Play Clay Matvick
Analyst Matt Stinchcomb
Sideline Dawn Davenport

Play-by-Play Tom Leach
Analyst Jeff Piecoro
Sideline Dick Gabriel

Channel 94 - Sirius
Channel 200 – XM

Record: 1-2, 0-0 Southeastern Conference
Ranking: Not ranked
Last game: L, 27-13 vs. #7/7 Louisville (H)
Coach: Mark Stoops (Iowa, 1989)
Record: 1-2 (First season)
at UK: 1-2 (First season)
vs. UF: 0-0

Record: 2-1, 1-0 Southeastern Conference
Ranking: No. 20 (AP), No. 19 (USA Today)
Last game: W, 31-17 vs Tennessee (H)
Coach: Will Muschamp (Georgia, 1994)
Record: 20-9 (Third season)
at UF: 20-9 (Third season)
vs. UK: 2-0

Series Record:
Overall: UF leads series 46-17
in Lexington: UF leads series 18-10
Last Meeting: Florida def. UK 38-0 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville.

8/31 vs. WKU [ESPNews] (Nashville) L, 26-35
9/7 Miami (Ohio) [Fox South] W, 41-7
9/14 #7/7 Louisville [ESPN] L, 13-27
9/28 Florida* [ESPNU] 7 p.m.
10/5 at South Carolina* TBA
10/12 Alabama* TBA
10/24 at Mississippi State* [ESPN] 7:30 p.m.
11/2 Alabama State TBA
11/9 Missouri* TBA
11/16 at Vanderbilt* TBA
11/23 at Georgia* TBA
11/30 Tennessee* TBA

Note: all times Eastern and subject to change
* SEC game

8/31 vs. Toledo W, 24-6
9/7 at Miami (Fla.) L, 16-21
9/21 vs. Tennessee* W, 31-17
9/28 at Kentucky* 7 p.m.
10/5 vs. Arkansas* TBD
10/12 at LSU* TBD
10/19 at Missouri* TBD
11/2 vs. Georgia* 3:30 p.m.
11/9 vs. Vanderbilt* TBD
11/16 at South Carolina* TBD
11/23 vs. Georgia Southern TBD
11/30 vs. Florida State TBD

When Kentucky has the ball… The Wildcats will be facing their toughest defensive challenge of the season in a Florida unit that has future NFL players all over the field. First and second down are crucial for UK. The Cats must pick up good chunks of yardage on those plays in order to stay out of third-and-long situations, where the Gators are the stingiest unit in the country. Opponents are converting only 18 percent on third down against Florida this season. And then there's the question of who's under center for UK. Will Maxwell Smith's shoulder hold up, or will the Cats have to lean on Jalen Whitlow for a dual-threat approach? Either way, there's no room for the dropped passes and unforced turnovers that plagued UK against Louisville. Bottom line: When UK gets scoring opportunities, it must cash in. There won't be many.

When Florida has the ball… The Cats have to win the physical battle along the line scrimmage and force new Florida starting quarterback Tyler Murphy into obvious passing situations. If they can do that, and get the kind of consistent pass rush that defensive ends Za'Darius Smith and Bud Dupree have been providing through the first three games of the season, UK may have a puncher's chance at an upset and ending the 26-year drought against the Gators. Dual-threat quarterbacks have been an issue for UK teams in the past, so it will be interesting to see if Mark Stoops & Co. can devise a plan to contain the mobile Murphy.

Senior running back Raymond Sanders has 1,231 career rushing yards and needs 19 more to tie Rod Stewart for 25th place on the UK career rushing list… Senior running back Jonathan George has 786 career rushing yards and needs just 214 more to become the 34th player in school history with 1,000 career rushing yards… Junior defensive end Bud Dupree has 10.5 career sacks, needing 7 more to tie for fourth most all-time in school history… Junior defensive end Za'Darius Smith has 4.5 sacks this season needing just 4.5 more to tie for the fourth most sacks in a season in school history (Jeremy Jarmon 9 in 2007, Oliver Barnett 9 in 1988).

Saturday marks the 18th time in school history that the Wildcats have played on Sept. 28, holding a 12-5 record on this date. UK was actually credited with two wins on this date in 1907 after Winchester A.C. forfeited and UK later beat Louisville Manual 30-0. Kentucky and Florida have met twice on this date with the Gators winning both games. UF took down UK 65-0 on Sept. 28, 1996 in Gainesville before a 41-34 UF win in Gainesville on Sept. 28, 2002.

• Saturday's game is the SEC opener for Kentucky after three non-conference games to start the season. This is the fifth-straight season that Kentucky has opened SEC play against the Gators.

• Kentucky's offense ranks high in the SEC in several categories, including tied for fourth in total offense with 490.0 yards per game. UK's pass attack ranks fourth in the conference with 276.7 yards per game, while Kentucky is third in the conference in converting fourth downs (4-of-5; 80%).

• The Wildcat defense is also ranked high in several statistical categories, sitting third in the SEC in pass defense and third in 1st downs against. UK's defense has had success on third down, sitting second in the SEC by allowing teams just nine third-down conversions this season in 39 attempts. UK ranks first in the SEC in red zone defense only allowing opponents to score 69.2 percent of the time they enter the redzone.

• Kentucky is beginning a stretch of four games against opponents currently ranked in The Associated Press Top 20, including No. 7 Louisville, No. 20 Florida, No. 12 South Carolina and No. 1 Alabama.

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