Gainesville, Fla. — The fact that Florida has beat Kentucky 30 consecutive games on the football field doesn’t provide any comfort for head coach Jim McElwain.
This Saturday when the Gators travel to Lexington to take on the Wildcats at Kroger Field, McElwain said he knows the caliber of play they’re going to see.
“We’re going against a really good team. It’s going to be a crazy place – I know they’re looking forward to it.”
"I fully expect a sellout on Saturday and our fans to make it an amazing environment" — Mark Stoops
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) September 18, 2017
It’s still early in the season, but the Wildcats haven’t been beat in their four games so far. They triumphed over Southern Miss and Eastern Kentucky before defeating South Carolina for the fourth year in a row last weekend.
Since Mark Stoops took over the program at Kentucky in 2013, they’ve been on a rise to competitiveness within the SEC. He has elevated their season winning percentage from .167 in his first year to .538 in 2016.
In the Wildcats’ press conference on Monday, a reporter suggested that this Florida team isn’t that good. Stoops response? “You’re crazy.”
If you tell Mark Stoops that you don't think this Florida team is good, he'll call you crazy. pic.twitter.com/jsBzxRveEd
— KSTV (@KSTV_Sports) September 18, 2017
McElwain had mutual praise for the job that Stoops has done and commented that when he reflected on the 2016 season, “they had some of he best skill of anybody we played last season.”
“They’re playing as well as anybody is in the league,” McElwain said.” I’ll tell you the job that Mark’s done is incredible.”
From the Players Perspective
Kentucky has one more game under their belt than Florida since the Gators’ home opener against Northern Colorado was canceled due to Hurricane Irma. A part of Kentucky’s M.O. this season is quarterback Stephen Johnson.
The dual threat QB has been vital to their offense and Gator linebacker David Reese, knows they’ll need a game plan for containing him.
“I know he’s a good – a great player. Last year I played against him a little bit. Our main thing is being us and playing fast like we usually do. Our speed on defense can handle the whole situation and I feel like we just have to capitalize on the mistakes they make,” Reese said.
Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks said a key to bringing home a “W” this weekend will be cutting down on turnovers. Franks launched the 63-yard, game-winning pass to Tyrie Cleveland to beat Tennessee on the last play of the game last week.
“You want to keep a level head, especially at the quarterback position, but definitely off of a big win like that we enjoyed it, Franks said.
Even though a moment like that can provide momentum, Franks is focused on staying grounded.
“We enjoyed it and now its back on Monday and we have prepare for Kentucky. We have to beat them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so we can have fun on Saturday,” he said.