Florida head coach Dan Mullen, center, and quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) watch from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Charleston Southern Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Gators Football Preview: Florida looks for 32nd straight win against improved Kentucky

The energy that emanated from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium last Saturday probably felt a little nostalgic for some Gators football fans.

As part of one of his five touchdown passes on that day, already up 24-0 against Charleston Southern, Feleipe Franks treated the Gator Nation to a delicious jump pass from the three-yard line to Tyrie Cleveland.

You better believe Tim Tebow liked that one.

The former national champion and Heisman Trophy winner even had quite a bit of advice for Franks going forward.

That lone play summarized what was a phenomenal start to Dan Mullen’s tenure: A 53-6 home victory that supplied a breath of fresh air to the Gators’ football program.


Mullen’s second game in charge of the Gators, first against another SEC opponent, will come against a Kentucky team that the Gators haven’t lost to since 1986 — a span of a whopping 31 games.

Based on history, Saturday night’s game should keep Mullen and the Gators rolling. But the Wildcats are also 1-0, and Mullen will want to make sure his team doesn’t become victim to an early season upset.

Jeff Piecoro of FOX Sports explained on Sportscene why he thinks Kentucky is a much more improved team.

Florida looks to keep the good times coming

Despite some of their limitations, the Gators have a great chance to start the season off with a string of victories.

Kentucky will be a much tougher test than Charleston Southern. Yet, Mullen and his coaching staff would’ve been encouraged by the signs they saw last week.

The Gators defense didn’t allow a single first down through the air against Charleston Southern. It’s hard to envision that happening again, but the Gators’ corners could be in for another shutdown performance.

Kentucky even had to play two quarterbacks last week, as sophomore quarterback Terry Wilson struggled for parts of the game.

On the other side of the ball, the Gators offense clicked on almost as every level. Ten different receivers caught a pass from Franks, or Kyle Trask, and the rushing attack also did it’s job by keeping the chains moving.

Franks shouldn’t have to throw for five touchdowns for the Gators to win. But the fundamental plays he, and the rest of the team, did so well last week are what Mullen will want to see again against Kentucky.

Kentucky looks for upset after surviving Week 1

Despite beating Central Michigan last week, 35-20, Mark Stoops knows that his team will need to perform better if they want to leave Gainesville with a win.

The Wildcats overcame four turnovers in that game on top of their starting quarterback being given the hook.

But a quick look at the stat sheet would’ve given Gators’ Defensive Coordinator, Todd Grantham, a heavy preview of what to expect from the Wildcats’ offense.

Kentucky Running backs Benny Snell Jr. and Asim Rose both rushed over 100 yards on the game. They’ll give the Gators a tough test in the trenches, and Grantham is weary of the damage the Wildcats’ offensive line can do.

The Gators will look to start 2018 off with two home wins under Mullen. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.


About Edgar Chavero

Sports media and management student at the University of Florida. Content creator for ESPN 98.1 FM/ 850 AM WRUF.

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