8:25:53:Football vs. South Carolina

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) scrambles with the ball during the University of Kentucky vs. South Carolina football game on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. UK won 16-10. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

The “Across the (By)Line” series will give Kentucky football fans an in-depth look at their opponent for this week — from the mind of the opposing school’s sports editor. This week: The Alligator, Florida, Michael Hull.

Do you think QB Emory Jones has turned a new leaf following his first two performances of the season?

Michael: Yes I do. Since his interception in the Alabama game, it’s been six and a half quarters or so, he’s been a completely different quarterback. He’s completed 30 of 41 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 187 yards and a touchdown on 27 attempts. He’s been efficient, he’s looked decisive, which is a big thing with him. Early on, against Florida Atlantic and South Florida and early against Alabama, he looked a step slow. He was very hesitant to make throws, he was very slow, even on his scrambles, which was surprising because that's what he does best. But that second half against Bama and against Tennessee, like I said he looked efficient, decisive, all the things you want a quarterback to look like.

Will Anthony Richardson be fully available for Florida on Saturday? How often will he be on the field?

Michael: Yes. Dan Mullen (UF head coach) said after the Tennessee win that Anthony was close to 100 percent, they wanted him to stay in that emergency backup role last week just to make sure that everything was good, but Mullen said that Richardson should be full-go from here on out. I do think he will be a complimentary option, I think he’ll come in, be that change of pace from Emory for a few reps here and there and try to create some explosive plays because that’s what he’s been doing best. He has three touchdowns over 70 yards this season and he’s only played in two games. He's top 10 in the SEC in rushing yards, he creates the big plays, he jump starts the offense, so he could definitely see the field some. I wouldn't expect it to be very much, though.

Will Florida be prepared for their first big road game of the season?

Michael: It’ll be interesting to see. UF hasn't had a true road game yet, technically South Florida was a road game but there were many more Florida fans in that crowd than USF fans, it was basically a Gator home game. It will be a good test for Jones to see where he’s at. I personally think he’ll be fine, he’s played on the road before, it’s not like he’s a freshman. As far as jitters for the rest of the team, it’s a pretty experienced group. I think Mullen will have them confident and ready to go. You could see some false start penalties here and there, especially along the offensive line that's a bit banged up right now, especially if the Kentucky crowd shows out like I'm assuming they probably will.

Will defensive coordinator Todd Grantham prepare his defense differently for Liam Coen’s offense?

Michael: I hope so. I think it would be effective for him to do so. I don’t think that he will. They’ve played well so far this year, give them credit. Grantham needs to do something especially on third down defense, which has been his Achilles heel as a defensive coordinator. That was a big part of why they lost to Alabama, so I will say that's an area that Kentucky could potentially expose.

Does the UK vs UF rivalry mean as much to Florida as it does to Kentucky?

Michael: I don’t know if it means as much as the rivalry against Georgia or Florida State or maybe even Tennessee, but that rivalry is still there. Whenever it’s an SEC opponent, that fire and hatred for the other team is going to be there, which will make Saturday really interesting. The rivalry, from my perspective, is a tier below Georgia and Tennessee, but Kentucky is right there.

STATS:

KENTUCKY:

Offense- 31 points per game, 16 touchdowns, 1763 total yards, 440 yards per game, 11 turnovers

Will Levis- 66-101, 902 yards, 7 TD’s, 5 INT’s, 23 rushes, 67 yards, one TD

Wan’Dale Robinson- 25 rec, 402 yards, 16.08 yards per reception, 2 TD’s

Josh Ali- 16 rec, 233 yards, 14.56 yards per reception, 1 TD

Chris Rodriguez Jr- 85 rushes, 513 yards, 6 yards per carry, 3 TD’s 

Defense- Jones, 24 tackles (13 solo,) 1 INT; Square, 24 tackles (18 solo,) 1 sack; Weaver, 3.5 sacks 

FLORIDA:

Offense- 36 points per game, 20 touchdowns, 2163 total yards, 540 yards per game, 6 turnovers 

Quarterback- Emory Jones- 70-104, 668 yards, 4 TD’s, 5 INT’s, 57 rushes, 375 yards, 2 TD’s; Anthony Richardson- 6-11, 192 yards, 2 TD’s, 11 rushes, 275 yards, 2 TD’s

Jacob Copeland- 10 rec, 232 yards, 23.20 yards per reception, 2 TD’s 

Malik Davis- 41 rushes, 257 yards, 6.3 yards per carry, 3 TD’s 

Dameon Pierce- 26 rushes, 172 yards, 6.6 yards per carry, 5 TD’s 

Defense- Dean III, 26 tackles (11 solo,) 0.5 sacks; Diabate, 26 tackles (8 solo;) Carter, 4.5 sacks, 7 tackles for loss