College football preview: No. 20 Florida at Kentucky, 7 Saturday, ESPNU, 1250-AM

Published Sept. 28, 2013

No. 20 Florida at Kentucky, 7, ESPNU, 1250-AM

This is the first start for Florida QB Tyler Murphy, first SEC road game for the Gators (2-1, 1-0), and their first night game this season. UF owns a 26-game winning streak over Kentucky (1-2, 1-1). The Wildcats' 10-3 victory in 1986 was their last. The game marks the return of two Florida coaches. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease is a former Kentucky offensive coordinator (2001-02), and WR coach Joker Phillips will be back to Lexington for the first time since he was fired last year as Wildcats coach after three seasons. Phillips is also a former Kentucky player, coach and an alumnus.

Watch out for …: Florida will be without starting QB Jeff Driskel and DT Dominique Easley, each suffering season-ending leg injuries in the past week. How Murphy, a redshirt junior, responds in a hostile environment is a major question mark. The defense must also regroup after losing Easley. And though coach D.J. Durkin said depth makes it possible to compensate for Easley's loss on the field, filling the emotional leadership void and experience might not be nearly as easy. Kentucky is third in the SEC in passing yards allowed; the Gators are No. 1. Look for Florida to try to run often as the Wildcats are 13th in the league in rushing defense, allowing 186 yards per game.

Antonya English, Times staff writer