If you didn’t see the game between Florida and Tennessee, let me bring you up to speed. Tennessee is bad and Florida’s starting quarterback Jeff Driskel is out for the season. Driskel had his leg rolled on after throwing a pick on Saturday and suffered a broken tibia that will keep him on the sidelines for the remainder of the season. While no one likes to see a player get hurt, especially at the college level, this does bode well for the Cats on Saturday against the Gators. So who will take over under center in place of Driskel? Meet Tyler Murphy.
After being recruited as a wide receiver as well as a quarterback, Murphy was put into the quarterback role by Florida’s coaching staff (or Joker Phillips scared him into another position with the photoshops) and has been Driskel’s backup this season. Originally from Connecticut, Murphy was once thought to be a sure thing to commit to Temple, before picking the Gators over the Owls at the last minute. He was only a two-star wide receiver out of high school in the class of 2010 but his athletic ability was never in question at 6’2 and boasting a 4.4 40 yard dash time. We always say you judge a player based on the offers he holds from big time schools. With that being said, Florida was the only big time school to offer him a scholarship, as he had offers from Fordham, Syracuse and Temple as well as the Gators.
Now a junior Murphy saw his first game action at QB when Driskel went down Saturday against Tennessee. Murphy completed 8 of 14 pass attempts against the Vol’s defense and racked up 134 yards and a touchdown after entering the game with about nine minutes left in the first quarter. Clearly Florida has enough athletes on the offensive side to not put too much on Murphy’s shoulders as was displayed when they only had him attempt 14 passes Saturday. The biggest stat to look at for Murphy is the zero turnovers in his first game at QB. He was well protected and took care of the ball and if Kentucky can force Florida to rely on Murphy’s arm to score points, they have a fighting chance.
For Kentucky to beat Florida, a lot of things have to fall in place perfectly. One of those things will undoubtedly be rattling the inexperienced quarterback and forcing turnovers. You can say that about the opposing QB every week, but it will be especially true for the Cats next Saturday. If Bud Dupree and Z’aDarius can lead the troops into the backfield and disrupt Murphy, he could make a few bad decisions that could swing momentum in the Cat’s favor. After seeing what Florida did to help their young QB succeed against Tennessee, stopping the run game will be at the top of the priority list for Kentucky’s defense. Again this will fall on the shoulders of the Cat’s defensive line as well as the linebackers to get penetration and stop Florida’s crew of athletes from rushing for big gains and forcing the offense into passing situations. As you can tell it will be up to the defensive line to put the rest of the defense in a position to make plays. If that happens, Kentucky has a much better chance to end the streak on Saturday. Kickoff is at 7 pm and Commonwealth Stadium needs to be rocking to make life difficult for Tyler Murphy in his first start.