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Cat Calls: Florida Gators Look to Stay Focused Against Kentucky

SB Nation Tampa Bay previews the Florida Gators' first SEC Road Game against the Kentucky Wildcats

GAINESVILLE FL - SEPTEMBER 25:  Linebacker Jonathan Bostic #52 of the Florida Gators returns an interception against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 25 2010 in Gainesville Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE FL - SEPTEMBER 25: Linebacker Jonathan Bostic #52 of the Florida Gators returns an interception against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 25 2010 in Gainesville Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Coming off an emotional victory against a rival can take a lot out of you. For Will Muschamp's Florida Gators, their job is even tougher when they hear of their school's dominance over their next opponent, the Kentucky Wildcats.

Florida will go for their 25th consecutive victory over Kentucky when the Gators head to Lexington for their first road game of 2011.

With Alabama on the horizon, this game is stuff upsets are made of.

Still, one has to imagine the Gators should take care of business.

Let's take a look at the matchup:

Series History: Florida leads 44-17

Current Streak: Florida has won 24 consecutive games in the series

Last Meeting: Florida 48-14

Florida Gators Passing Game vs. Kentucky Wildcats Pass Defense

Johnny Brantley seems to be coming into his own in the Charlie Weis offense. He's now completing 65.3% of his passes while tossing 3 touchdowns and 2 ints. Both Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are deadly receiving threats out of the backfield while Deonte Thompson has provided Brantley a reliable target this season (he appears to have overcome his propensity to drop the football).

Kentucky does come in with a credible pass defense, ranking 32nd in the nation surrendering only 178 yards a game. They've also interception 6 passes this season led by Winston Guy's 2.

Advantage: Florida

Florida's Running Game vs. Kentucky's Rush Defense

Demps, Rainey and Burton - the three headed monster - heads to Lexington to feed on Kentucky's 66th ranked rushing defense. Kentucky surrenders 136.7 yards a game on the ground.

It doesn't bode well for facing a Florida offense ranked 30th in the nation averaging 210 yards a game.

Trey Burton scored a school record six touchdowns last year against the Wildcats.

Advantage: Florida

Kentucky Wildcats Passing Game vs. Florida Gators Pass Defense

Wildcats quarterback Morgan Newton isn't making anyone scared in the passing game, completing just 55% of his passes while tossing 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The Wildcats passing offense is ranked 108th in the nation.

The Gators defense is ranked 33rd in the nation in pass defense.

Advantage: Florida

Kentucky Running Game vs. Florida Gators Run Defense

While their passing game is terrible, Kentucky's running game isn't much better, ranking 92nd in the nation averaging just 119 yds a game on the ground. Josh Clemons is the Cats' leading rushing, banging out 193 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground this season.

Florida has the number one rushing defense in the nation, surrendering just 30.7 yds a game on the ground.

Advantage: Florida

Special Teams

Kentucky doesn't bring much of a challenge in special teams, either. Kicker Craig McIntosh is 3-for-4 with one miss inside 29 yards. Punter Ryan Tydlycka is averaging 44.9 yards a punt with 4 inside the 20. Randall Burton averages 1.0 a punt return while Mychal Bailey averages 24.0 yds a return on kickoffs.

The Gators' kicker Caleb Sturgis has been Mr. Automatic nailing 9-of-9 field goal tries. David Lerner is averaging just 35 yds a punt but has pinned 4 inside the 20. Andre Dubose leads the Gators averaging 27.0 yards a kick return while Chris Rainey averages 14.3 yds a return including a touchdown.

Advantage: Florida

Coaching

Will Muschamp is in his first season with the Florida Gators, he's 3-0 (1-0 in SEC play)

Joker Phillips is in his second season with the Kentucky Wildcats, he is 8-8 (2-6 in SEC play)

Advantage: Florida

Outlook

The forecast for Saturday's contest is rain. Well, it's certainly going to be Rainey for the Gators, as in Chris Rainey who continues to force his way into Heisman conversation.

This will be Florida's last tuneup before their season defining showdown with the Crimson Tide of Alabama. The Gators need to make sure they stay focused and get their work in against a porous Kentucky team.

Prediction: Florida 56, Kentucky 0

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.