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Kentucky vs. Florida Preview – GameDay Edition

Posted by Matt on October 19, 2007

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After upsetting the then #1 ranked Louisiana State Tigers, my Kentucky Wildcats settle in at home and welcome the Florida Tebows to Commonwealth Stadium for what is effectively been selected as ESPN’s game of the week. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the Florida visit this year would see Kentucky ranked higher than the Gators in Polls, the BCS Standings, and the SEC Standings, but here we are and it is time to put up or shut up and hopefully beat a team we haven’t beat since 1986 — before the majority of our players were born.

Taking a look at the offensive statistics leads one to believe that this game is a virtual push:

Total Yards: Florida 452.7 (30th) – Kentucky 474.4 (15th)

Passing Yards: Florida 249.8 (53rd) – Kentucky 274.4 (35th)

Rushing Yards: Florida 202.8 (22nd) – Kentucky 200.0 (25th)

Points Scored: Florida 39.7 (12th) – Kentucky 42.7 (7th)

The statistical similarities are almost uncanny but with Florida having an extra week to prepare, they still find themselves as a 7-point favorite on the late line despite Kentucky being at home. Which brings me to the quote of the week:

“Florida’s a 7-point favorite and we just beat the No. 1 team in the nation?” Brooks said. “How does that equate? It’s pretty interesting stuff.” -Rich Brooks

This will be an exciting weekend in the Bluegrass as the University of Kentucky welcomes ESPN’s College GameDay (built by the Home Depot) to campus for the first time ever. For anyone going to the game, or merely tailgating, here are a few items you need to know.

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Need-To-Know-Info:

  • College GameDay will broadcast LIVE from the W.T.Young Library at 5:00PM Friday night and from 10:00AM – 12:00PM Saturday morning and parking can be found at the adjacent parking garage (supposedly).
  • The “Cat Walk” will take place as usual at 1:15PM
  • Kickoff is at 3:30PM and the game can be found on CBS

GameDay Sign Ideas (feel free to use them as I am likely too lazy to put forth the effort):

  • “Basketball team? What basketball team?”
  • “Brooks ♦ Gillispie 2008: A Campaign That Cares”

Matt’s Keys To The Game:

  • Avoid the emotional let-down: Obviously easier said than done for some but coming off what could be seen as the biggest win in program history against a very physical #1 team, it is easy to have a “hangover” of sorts for the following game. Kentucky needs to remain humble yet hungry, as they have been all season, and come out and play another very physical game. If they play like they did last week, the Wildcats will be looking at another victory.
  • Protect Andre’: The differences in protection between the game at South Carolina and the game last week versus LSU are like night and day and just goes to show what solid protection can do for this offense: 43 points scored – 27 points in regulation – on the Nation’s top front line lead by Glen Dorsey and against a defense only giving up 9.3 points per game going in to the game. Florida proved what kind of speed they have on their defensive line in last year’s National Championship game and Kentucky’s embattled offensive line needs to step it up big yet again and give Woodson time to pick apart the secondary. The offensive line also gave up 0 sacks against this world-renowned defensive line.
  • Contain Tebow: You likely can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him and if there was one reoccurring glaring weakness on Kentucky’s defense it would seem to be their inability to stop a mobile quarterback. Tebow is the real deal, the total package, and basically the Gators’ entire offense. Tim comes in to the game with nearly 1500 yards passing and 13 touchdowns to go along with 500 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns on the ground making the sophomore quarterback Florida’s top passer AND rusher. There are no guarantees in this game but containing Tebow as much as possible will go a long ways in helping Kentucky find a way to win.

Matt’s Blueprint For Success:

Outside of the emotional and physical hangover that might affect the outcome, I feel that this game will be won, or lost, in the trenches. On both sides of the ball, Kentucky needs to control the line of scrimmage when at all possible. While on offense, playing up front as they did last week against LSU gives Woodson time to be successful, as well as remain healthy, and helps to spark our stable of talented running backs. On defense, being physical up front may prove to be highly advantageous in containing Tebow and forcing some long 3rd downs and some punts. The Wildcats need to be on their game again this week and need to put up another nearly flawless performance to have a chance at coming out on top as I believe Urban Meyer is 22-2 when he has more than a week to prepare for an opponent.

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Prediction: That’s why they play the games on the field! ;) — (This worked last week, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.)

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