Sep 12, 2019

SEC & Big Ten Week 3 Preview: Wildcats, Gators meet in early SEC East Tilt

No. 9 Florida (2-0) at Kentucky (2-0) at 7 p.m. on ESPN

This year’s Camping World Kickoff winner and the reigning Citrus Bowl champions will square off on Saturday night in an early-season matchup that could play a major role in deciding the SEC East.

This year’s matchup will be the first since the Wildcats snapped a 31-game losing streak against the Gators last year in Gainesville. This weekend in Lexington, the Gators will try to avoid losing to the Wildcats in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1976 and 1977.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the teams:

Florida Quick Hits:

  • Florida’s 15 sacks lead all FBS teams by three, and its 26 tackles for loss rank second nationally, just two behind FBS-leading UCF (28).
  • UF already has three passing plays of 60-plus yards this year, its highest total since finishing 2016 with three such plays.
  • Gators quart Feleipe Franks is still enjoying his best stretch of football as a collegiate quarterback, as he has thrown for 250-plus yards in four of Florida’s last five games, including both of this year’s wins.
  • Franks ranks sixth nationally in completion percentage (42 of 54 / 77.8 percent), and is only behind LSU’s Joe Burrow (54 of 66 / 81.8 percent) and Washington State’s Anthony Gordon (60 of 74 / 81.1 percent) among players with 40-plus attempts
  • Click here for Florida’s complete game notes.
  • Click here for the Gators’ Week 3 depth chart.

 Kentucky Quick Hits

  • The Wildcats have four wins in their past five games against ranked foes, including a 3-1 mark in 2018 that was bolstered by Kentucky’s historic win at No. 25 Florida.
  • Junior transfer quarterback Sawyer Smith is expected to make his first start for UK after transferring from Troy over the summer as a graduate transfer. The team’s previous starter, Terry Wilson, suffered a season ending injury last week against Eastern Michigan.
  • Smith entered the EMU game for an injured Wilson in the third quarter and connected with Ahmad Wagner for a 54-yard scoring strike on his first pass attempt as a Wildcat. He finished the game 5-of-9 for 76 yards and two scores
  • This is coach Mark Stoops’ seventh season in Lexington; the Wildcats have either matched or exceeded the previous season’s win total in each of the past six seasons, making them the only program in FBS to accomplish that feat.
  • UK has allowed 24 points or fewer in 15 of its last 16 games.
  • Click here for Kentucky’s complete game notes.
  • Click here for the Wildcats’ Week 3 depth chart.


Now let’s take a quick look at some of the other top games from this weekend’s slate:

No. 6 Ohio State (2-0) at Indiana (2-0) at Noon on FOX

Indiana has only won two its last 59 meetings with Ohio State (1987 and 1988) in a series that dates back to 1901. That nearly six-decade stretch also includes ties in 1959 and 1990.

Pittsburgh (1-1) at No. 13 Penn State (2-0) at Noon on ABC

Penn State and Pittsburgh will meet on the gridiron for the 100th time Saturday in the fourth and final installment of the Keystone Classic. The Nittany Lions hold a 2-1 advantage in the Keystone Classic with wins in the last two games.

No. 21 Maryland (2-0) at Temple (1-0) at Noon on CBSSN

Maryland’s 142 points this season are tied for the most through the first two games in a season by a Big Ten team since 1936 (Ohio State, 1996) and are the third most by any FBS team over that span.

No. 2 Alabama (2-0) at South Carolina (2-0) at 3:30 p.m. on CBS

These two SEC opponents will meet for the first time since the 2010 season, when the Gamecocks defeated the Tide 35-21 in Columbia. The teams are not scheduled to meet again until 2024.

Arizona State (2-0) at No. 18 Michigan State (2-0) at 4 p.m. on FOX

Mark Dantonio will look to become Michigan State’s all-time winningest coach as the Spartans clash with an undefeated Pac-12 opponent.

No. 19 Iowa (2-0) at Iowa State (1-0) at 4 p.m. on FS1

Iowa enters Saturday’s Cy-Hawk rivalry game having won four straight in the series, however, ESPN’s College GameDay will also be traveling with the Hawkeyes to Iowa State. Previously, that has spelled bad news, as Iowa is 1-6 all-time when playing at the site of a College GameDay broadcast.

TCU (1-0) at Purdue (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. on BTN

Purdue hosts a Big 12 team for the first time ever as the Horned Frogs of TCU pay a visit to West Lafayette for the first time since 1970. The Boilermakers have played three Big 12 opponents since the conference was founded in 1994, all in bowl games.

Kansas State (2-0) at Mississippi State (2-0) at Noon on ESPN

Mississippi State will look to avoid its first non-conference regular season loss since 2016 when the Bulldogs host Kansas State in Starkville. Last year in Manhattan, the Bulldogs defeated the Wildcats 31-10, giving Mississippi State its first road win against a Power-5, non-SEC opponent since 1995.


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