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How Kentucky Beats Florida

The 3-5 Kentucky Wildcats travel to The Swamp to take on the sixth ranked Florida Gators on Saturday. Dan Mullen’s team is packed with offensive weaponry including a Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback in Kyle Trask. The Cats are reeling from a 63-3 loss to Alabama. Here’s how UK can win in the Swamp: 

OFFENSE

Score touchdowns in the Red Zone. Only Mississippi State and Vanderbilt have scored fewer touchdowns in the Red Zone than Kentucky. The Cats have produced 11 TDs out of 21 trips inside the 20-yard line. Finishing drives in the pay dirt has been an offensive downfall in 2020 and reared its ugly head in Tuscaloosa a week ago. Field goals have been a tricky proposition for the Cats recently. Touchdowns will need to be scored in order to keep up with the high-flying Gators, who are averaging 45 points per game. 

Prevent Havoc stats. The Gators lead the SEC in two Havoc statistical categories: Tackles for Loss (45) and QB Sacks (21). Kentucky’s offensive success is predicated on staying on schedule. Early down, negative yardage plays would significantly decrease the Cats’ chances to move the chains. Averaging 5.5 yards per pass attempt, UK cannot live in 3rd and 8+ situations. 

Play a clean game. No turnovers or costly penalties. A Red Zone holding call hurt the Cats a week ago against Alabama. A Pick-6 opened the flood gates in the second half. A decisive underdog cannot afford to give this explosive Florida offense extra possessions or hand over defensive points. 

DEFENSE

Slow down the Trask Machine. QB Kyle Trask is completing 71% of his passes and leading the SEC with 2,554 yards to go along with 31 touchdowns. The senior is in the hunt for the Heisman Trophy and his head coach is fully award of his signal caller’s plight. He’s averaging 364 pass yards per game. Dan Mullen will give Trask plenty of opportunities to add to his already impressive statistical ascendency. 

Avoid matchup disadvantages against Kyle Pitts. The tight end was mentioned in the Heisman Trophy race prior to missing two games following a nasty collision against Georgia. Pitts has 24 catches for 414 yards and 8 touchdown receptions in 5 games. A matchup nightmare, UK will have to be strategic in whom it chooses to check the highly effective pass catcher. Single coverage against a linebacker will be a play that Mullen will dial up often. Over-the-top help will be mandatory to slow down the future first round draft choice. 

Tackle Kadarius Toney. Toney is Florida’s “do-all” receiver and is extremely elusive with the football in his hands. He’s also Trask’s top target and has caught 42 passes for 503 yards and 7 receiving scores. Toney is also active in the Gator backfield and will be a threat in jet-sweep type actions. Extremely dangerous after the catch, the Cats will need to get him on the ground as soon as possible. 

Stop the run. The college football world is buzzing about Florida’s passing game. However, Dan Mullen places significant attention on his run game. RB Dameon Pierce is the Gators’ top rusher with 345 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Snap the football. Enough said.

Tackle Toney. Listed as the team’s punt and kickoff returner, tackling Toney in the return game can be precarious. The speedster can do it all for Dan Mullen. 

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN? 

Projecting impact players is challenging in 2020 due to COVID-19. Both teams have had struggles in this area. We will get a better feel for available personnel closer to game time. Dan Mullen may have the best team he’s had at Florida and is fighting for College Football Playoff respect through margin of victory and the “Wow” factor statistically. Kentucky must be ready for an onslaught of vertical passes as the Gators tend to push the football down the field which is evident in Trask’s 10.4-yards per pass attempt. 

UK will be facing yet another nationally ranked offense on Saturday. Its defense will have to find a way to pressure the Florida quarterback while playing pass defense against one of the best skill groups in college football. In other words, another challenge for Brad White and company. 

The best chance for a victory will come from the Wildcats’ run game. But, it’s imperative that the Wildcats finish drives with seven points. Empty-handed Red Zone trips could lead to a long day in the Swamp. 

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

27 Comments for How Kentucky Beats Florida



  1. blueballs80
    5:36 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Freddie, you should rename the article to how ‘ Kentucky finds offense in general” Year 5 under Gran has very little improvement. Josh Allen and Benny masked up the qb deficiencies quite a bit and now here we are.



  2. kydrummer
    5:39 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    How we beat Florida? Bring back Benny Snell, Josh Allen, Bunchy Stallings , Mike Edwards, Derrick Baity & Lynn Bowden. Then we have a chance to beat them!



  3. CombatMedic_98
    5:55 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Throw the BALL



  4. Rick_S
    5:59 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Stop the silly posts, Freddie…UK just like I told you with Bama is going down hard..42-17 UF



    • bigblue98
      6:13 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

      I think you’re being optimistic. They beat the crap out of Georgia and we couldn’t do anything against them. I’m going 49-6 UF. Cats get two field goals and get ball in red zone once, but can’t score when there.



  5. Southky
    6:05 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Uhhhhh……..is this serious???



  6. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    6:49 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Y’all stop criticizing Freddie for writing these columns. It’s what he was contracted to do. He’s just doing his job. He knows better than any of us what the odds are.



  7. Blueballz
    7:11 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Can the KSR writers let me know who their drug dealer is? Because what you all are smoking must be outstanding to write articles like this…sheesh



    • Bluehender
      8:46 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

      See comment above bluebell ^^^



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      2:19 pm November 25, 2020 Permalink

      Thank you BH! Haha.



  8. blueblood80
    7:33 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Good Gracious Freddie! I have the utmost respect for a writer who played for and worked for Kentucky Football. These articles are well written, but we both know that there is no way Kentucky can beat Florida. Fans were misled by KSR and other media outlets all summer and early fall. I see good high school quarterbacks throw with more zip and accuracy than ANY QB we have! This team has no Div. 1 receiver who can create separation AND catch a football. When pressed, this team can’t manage the clock. The OL is top 20 in run blocking, but not top 100 in pass protection. Still, I fly my flag outside and find positivity somewhere – we have one of the best punters in the country. Why did Max not play recently? I am not so sure his absence was all Covid related, but Stoops won’t release much information. Florida 35-3…..



  9. itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
    7:59 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Zero chance. 56-6 Florida



  10. Stop Hammer Time
    8:16 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Florida could play all second and third stringers and still win by a good margin. We are the Mud Dogs, pre Bobby.



  11. jpgfile
    8:55 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Q: “How Kentucky Beats Florida”
    A: “Play them in volleyball”



  12. UKFanSC
    9:15 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    They don’t



  13. jaws2
    10:31 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    With all the opportunities for Toney on kick-offs and punt returns, he’ll definitely run one back Saturday. Mark it down.



  14. magimae
    10:47 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Correct answer, they don’t a chance, so sad



  15. Lip Man 1
    11:31 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Maybe if half the Florida team is out because of COVID-19…but that’s the only way I see it happening.



  16. bbn606
    6:16 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    This is one game UK seems to get up for but our offensive woes will not let us win.



  17. BBNBRIAN
    6:32 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    I checked out of KSR when March Madness was canceled and the vibe turned even more political on the site. The crappy ads and “usual suspects” took the fun out of the site. I was dropping in to find info about tonight’s game and had to see if the “Homers” were still swinging from Stoops Jackie’s. Glad to see Stoops typical crappy coaching has driven them away – too much crow to eat I suppose. Ironic how poorly our coaches perform when they don’t have a normal talent on the field, isn’t it…?



  18. TBW3011
    10:49 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    Maybe hire a coach.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      2:18 pm November 25, 2020 Permalink

      Yes.



  19. Wade
    10:57 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    I’m going to continue to say it let sawyer play! Tw beat Florida when they were down and sawyer Should have won also in a yr FL finished top ten. If healthy give him a shot who cares he’s done more than any of the other guys not named terry. We have a snell type back and we play fl hard. Oline is good and should be healthy and also our d. We missed a lot of guys last week and we just need to scheme up some offense which I know we can and sawyer can make the throws. We can beat FL but trasK has been on fire, front needs to play lights out and get pressure. These guys want to get drafted win this game.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      2:14 pm November 25, 2020 Permalink

      I agree about Sawyer, but I wonder if he’s still banged up. We beat UF last year if he doesn’t get hurt, or if he falls on his fumble.

      This year there are too many problems besides QB play I’m afraid.



  20. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    2:18 pm November 25, 2020 Permalink

    You know it alls beat everything. Look, I come with strong opinions. I’m not criticizing that. I’m criticizing you for acting like Freddie doesn’t have a brain. Newsflash: HE KNOWS THE PROBLEMS WITH UK BETTER THAN YOU AND ME!!! Come on man! Like I said above, he’s writing about what KSR contracted him to write about. I don’t know if the exact title of this weekly segment was his idea or not, but it doesn’t matter. They asked him to write about football!



  21. Wade
    3:25 pm November 25, 2020 Permalink

    If wasn’t just the fumble Chris it was the holding penalty and missed fg



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      4:52 pm November 25, 2020 Permalink

      True. However, if he didn’t hold, Benny may not have made the yardage to get us into FG range. There were multiple reasons we lost. I wasn’t putting the blame on Sawyer alone.