The Streak, Gator Nation.
None of us even need to think about what we’re referencing when we say it. For 26 games we have beaten the Kentucky Wildcats in football and most years it is not even close. Enter Mark Stoops in his first year as coach. He’s going to do everything he can to get this streak ended. Kentucky will NEVER be considered a football threat until they do so. Heck, they beat LSU the year they won the BCS National Championship and no one talks about that loss. It’s the streak and with the exception of two years, 1993’s Wuerffel to Doering and 2003’s improbable comeback by Freshman Chris Leak, this is a series owned by the Gators. Is every ten year’s the time that the forces align to give Kentucky an edge over a team that generally has better talent, depth and coaching? Is 2013 the year? Let’s talk some football…
Little known fact…actually very little known…I was at both games in Lexington in 1993 and 2003 for completely random reasons. Both games were absolute heart-stoppers and the feeling afterwards when we won was none like you’ve ever experienced because we should not have won either game. We clearly should not even be speaking of a streak. Every ten years. Kentucky is an under-sized team that has very little depth, one receiver of note (Javess Blue) and two average QB’s. They do have a defense that plays hard….really, really hard…but they are very small and not deep at all. They took it to Louisville for a half and were it not for two turnovers in the red zone we could be talking about a big upset. Of course, Louisville kept trying for the homerun throw in the first half before settling for short routes in the second to move the ball. Kentucky has had a bye week to prepare and Mark Stoops knows us from his days as defensive coordinator at FSU. They will have a solid game plan and I’d expect it to be uncomfortable for the first half. However, it is really not difficult to know what the Florida game plan will be. We will run the ball and try to knock the other team off the line and keep pounding and pounding it. It is whether Kentucky can stop us or not. There are A LOT of people right now who think we are primed for an upset this weekend based upon our significant losses this week. The streak is going to come to an end, but not this weekend.
Coach Muschamp doesn’t put any faith in the streak and justifiably so. You can’t run a team off such things. He also is, clearly, not the type who is going to change his ways either. It isn’t pretty but he is winning games so we have to go with it. I would expect quite a bit from Mack Brown this weekend. Matt Jones has 2 fumbles in 2 games and we absolutely can’t afford any turnovers in this game. Maybe we survive 1 turnover and possibly 2, but if we get into 3+ then UK will know this could be their time. I’ve given up on expecting any downfield passing so any that we have will be bonus territory in my mind. I would expect Brent Pease and Joker Phiilips to try something very early on to test the waters in their return to Lexington. It will possibly be the first play or in the first series. That’s just a guess on my part. It is still Muschamp’s team and we’re gonna run. The loss of Easley will be seen in weeks to come but probably not this week. We still have significant depth and talent on the defensive side of the ball and Kentucky hasn’t seen anything like this yet. Finally, Tyler Murphy will be fine. I don’t foresee him trying to do to much. Just move the ball and get first downs. The rest will take care of itself. I am secretly hoping for us to return a Kickoff for a Gator TD, but that’s a whole different discussion. Florida 24 Kentucky 13. Game time is 7pm EST, 4pm PST on ESPNU—look for me in the crowd in the Gator section. A good night to join your local Gator Club because a Gator Victory over Kentucky on the road at night is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.
- Kentucky Wildcats Football: Anatomy of an Upset (aseaofblue.com)
- Assistant coaches at UF used to be at Kentucky (jacksonville.com)
- Florida vs. Kentucky: Previewing Joker Phillips’ WRs vs His Old DBs (bleacherreport.com)
- Anxious Gators QB Tyler Murphy set for first career start (miamiherald.com)
- Kentucky Football: Optimism Abounds, Florida Still Poses Challenges for Kentucky (bleacherreport.com)
- Battle between Kentucky, Florida Gators could be a close one (state-journal.com)