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Florida Gators’ opposing quarterback, UVA’s Bryces, USF’s rut and more state college football nuggets

Miami’s starting quarterback has a weird role in whom the Gators will face Saturday at Kentucky.
Kentucky quarterback Sawyer Smith (12) throws the ball during the NCAA college football game between Kentucky and Eastern Michigan, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Lexington, Ky. [BRYAN WOOLSTON | AP]
Published Sep. 13

Meet Sawyer Smith

Three things to know about Kentucky’s new starting quarterback, who replaces Terry Wilson (knee) and will start against No. 9 Florida:

1. He initially committed to play baseball at Alabama, then quarterback at UCF before signing with Troy in the 2016 recruiting class and transferring to Kentucky this offseason. Got all that?

2. He’s not as mobile as Wilson (who beat UF in Gainesville last year), but he’s experienced. He was 5-2 last year as Troy’s starter and was the MVP of the Dollar General Bowl. “This environment won’t be too big for him,” coach Mark Stoops said.

3. The Escambia County native might not be facing UF if it weren’t for Miami. Blue-chip recruit Jarren Williams was a Kentucky commit before flipping to the Hurricanes (where he now starts). That defection hurt the Wildcats’ depth and eventually led to the addition of Smith through the transfer portal.


Local of the week

UCF receiver Jacob Harris (Palm Harbor University)

The 6-foot-5 redshirt senior recorded his first career catch in Week 1 and followed that with his first career touchdown in Week 2 at Florida Atlantic. We’ll see what he can do for an encore against Stanford.

Bryce watch

Bryce Perkins of the Virginia Cavaliers runs with the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers during opening week. [JARED WICKERHAM | AP]

Florida State’s hopes of beating No. 25 Virginia hinge on how the Seminoles handle the Bryces. Quarterback Bryce Perkins joined Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray as the only two players nationally with at least 2,600 passing yards and 900 rushing yards last year. First-round talent Bryce Hall has more consecutive starts (35) than any cornerback in country and can lock down opposing receivers.

FIU flop

It’s not getting the attention of USF or FSU, but Florida International has been just as disappointing. The Panthers were expected to be Conference USA contenders but are 0-2 with a home loss to Western Kentucky. Butch Davis’ team will try to get on track against winless New Hampshire.

USF’s offensive performance

USF running back Jordan Cronkrite (2) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers in the season opener. [ALLIE GOULDING | Times]

It’s piling on at this point, but USF’s 10 points through two weeks are their lowest in back-to-back games in program history. If a quarterback battle (or change) can’t fix it, maybe the opponent can. South Carolina State has given up at least 37 points to all five Division I-A foes it has faced since 2016.

UCF QB trio

With Darriel Mack (ankle) cleared to play, the Knights have had three different quarterbacks start their last three games. Who gets the first snap against Stanford?

Redshirt sophomore Darriel Mack: 40 of 70 passing for 619 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games (three starts) last year. Also rushed 69 times for 337 yards and six scores.

Grad transfer Brandon Wimbush: 12 of 23 passing for 168 yards and two touchdowns in his UCF debut, a Week 1 start against Florida A&M.

Freshman Dillon Gabriel: 16 of 32 passing for 372 yards and five touchdowns in two games. Started last week against Florida Atlantic and is responsible for UCF’s two longest plays of the year

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson, left, fights off a tackle by Mississippi State cornerback Jarrian Jones on a short pass reception Oct. 19 in Starkville. LSU won 36-13. ROGELIO V. SOLIS  |  AP
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  3. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp says he doesn't want to take anything away from Florida, but he doesn't want to keep quiet about the officiating either. MIC SMITH  |  AP
    The South Carolina coach says getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct was "gutless.''
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    There were two shakeups to Matt Baker’s top five this week, too.
  6. Florida's Kyle Trask throws a pass against South Carolina in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Columbia, SC. Florida defeated South Carolina 38-27. MIC SMITH  |  AP
    The quarterback’s three fourth-quarter touchdowns help UF put the Gamecocks away for good.
  7. Illinois head coach Lovie Smith watches as his team plays against Minnesota on Oct. 5 in Minneapolis. BRUCE KLUCKHOHN  |  AP
    Game-day guide: Plus a look at Penn State-Michigan and a game plan that’s crazy enough to (almost) work for the Vols this weekend.
  8. BYU linebacker Max Tooley (31) tackles USF running back Jordan Cronkrite (2) during the second half of last week's game at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Game-day guide: And Will Muschamp’s South Carolina tenure looks almost exactly like his time with the Florida Gators.
  9. Florida quarterback Emory Jones (5) throws a pass against Auburn on Oct. 5 in Gainesville. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
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  10. Florida Gators running back Lamical Perine runs against Tennessee during the first half of the Sept. 21 football game in Gainesville. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    The Pac-12 has some interesting games this weekend. Too bad no one will be able to watch one of them. Plus: Times staff predictions for week 8.
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