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Gators may not be at full strength against Cats

Benny Snell celebrated with his mom after last year’s win over Florida. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Florida’s 45-0 victory over Tennessee-Martin last week vaulted the Gators up to No. 9 in the Associated Press rankings going into Saturday night’s game at Kentucky.

The Wildcats are also 2-0 but lost starting quarterback Terry Wilson to a season-ending knee injury. Troy grad transfer Sawyer Smith will make his first start at UK against the Gators in a nationally televised game on ESPN that is already sold out.

Kentucky ended a 31-year losing streak to Florida with a win at Gainesville last year but the Gators are favored again this time — and UK’s chances certainly dimmed after Wilson’s injury.

However, the Gators don’t figure to be at full strength, either.

Wingback Kadarius Toney and cornerback C.J. Henderson both suffered injuries in last week’s win. Toney left the field in the first quarter with what apparently was an arm or shoulder injury after getting tackled during a run. Henderson, considered the best NFL prospect at Florida this year, suffered an ankle injury breaking up a pass play in the second quarter.

Veteran quarterback Feleipe Franks was 25 of 27 passing for 270 yards and two touchdowns — he also did not have a pass intercepted. Florida had 543 total yards of offense, including 231 rushing. Six different players scored touchdowns for the Gators.

Florida’s defense also showed the problems it could pose for UK with its first shutout in three years. The Gators limited the Skyhawks to 194 total yards and just eight first downs. Florida had five quarterback sacks, 10 tackles for loss and one turnover.

Smith insisted he would not be overwhelmed agains the Gators and that the UK staff had spent time making sure he was prepared in case he was needed.

“At this level of football you have to have two or three guys ready to go,” Smith said. “I think they have confidence in me to keep it going and that’s how it should be.”

10 comments

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  1. Join the crowd!

  2. Cats need to get after Franks.

  3. Hopefully, we take down the gators, and if so, prepare for the, “they’re over rated” tag from the southern talking heads-it almost inevitable.

    1. Would love to win this game

  4. I can’t imagine what Sawyer must be thinking. He gets his first start at KY against traditional powerhouse Florida. I have a feeling that Sawyer will hold his own on Saturday. He may even help the run game be more effective. Trust your training and experience, but most importantly, enjoy this game…win or lose. Compete, learn, get comfortable and then make the most of this opportunity.

    1. I think Sawyer is a little more athletic than some seem to believe. We’ll see

  5. Right on Catman-go Cats!

  6. I think we may be surprised in a good way!!!! GO CATS!!!

  7. Technically the Cats whipped the gators two years in a row, when you factor in the theft that was perforated on us by those refs looking the other way. If you go back and look at Sawyer’s Bowl game, he sure likes the big guys to throw to. We pounded sand up their butts two years in a row and there is no reason we can’t do it again. Keep it on the ground and mix in a few timely throws and we send them packing.

    1. To me the key to victory is pounding Franks, and covering Florida receivers.

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