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IT’S OVER! Florida ends one-game losing streak to Kentucky; Feleipe Franks injured

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A year after seeing their 31-game winning streak against Kentucky snapped, No. 9 Florida hopes to have started a new streak. Florida’s 29-21 victory in Lexington was all but clinched when a last-minute field goal by Kentucky narrowly missed going through the posts for a go-ahead score. But the win comes with a tough loss as Florida’s starting quarterback Feleipe Franks was carted off with an injury during the second half.

Franks suffered a serious-looking injury late in the third quarter when he was pinned between defenders on a 4th and 1. Franks was taken off the field on a cart after his entire team came out to wish him well. It looked as though Franks dislocated his ankle, and the emotion on his face coming off the field told a not-so-optimistic outlook moving forward.

With Franks injured, Kyle Trask took over at quarterback and immediately went to work. Trask completed four of his first five passes and led the Gators to a touchdown on his first series, with Lamical Perine capping the drive with an eight-yard run for the score. That touchdown meant Kentucky had to keep its foot on the gas pedal for the remaining 12 minutes. Unfortunately for Kentucky, the gas pedal wasn’t quite working anymore.

The Wildcats were forced to punt on the ensuing possession and Sawyer Smith was intercepted on their next possession. That setup Florida to take the lead with a Trask touchdown run from four yards out. The drive was given a boost when a Kentucky player was ejected for targeting. Immediately after the targeting ejection gave Kentucky 15 free yards, Trask completed a 30-yard pass to Kyle Pitts before ending the drive with the go-ahead touchdown run.

Kentucky kicker Chance Poore missed a would-be-go-ahead field goal from 35 yards out with 54 seconds to play, giving Florida the ball back with a chance to ice the game. A 76-yard run by Josh Hammond effectively did that, although Kentucky still got the ball back while trailing by eight points. But Florida’s defense made sure there would be no more scoring by Kentucky for the night.

Florida has now won 16 straight games at Kentucky. The Wildcats missed a chance to celebrate their first home win against Florida since 1986, and their first back-to-back wins against Florida since 1976-1977.

A few of players were also tossed from the game for targeting penalties. In the first quarter, Kentucky’s Yusuf Corker was ejected for a hit. Corker will be eligible play in Kentucky’s next game from the start. His teammate, T.J. Carter will have to sit the first half because he was ejected in the fourth quarter of the game for a hit on Trask (Carter’s targeting penalty led to Florida taking the 22-21 lead). Florida’s Donovan Stiner was ejected in the second half, which means he will have to miss the first half of Florida’s next game. It was the first targeting penalty this season for each player.

SEC play will continue for both teams next week. Kentucky will take to the road to face Mississippi State in a cross-division matchup. The Bulldogs took a loss at home earlier in the day against Kansas State, so they’ll be looking to bounce back from a loss. Kentucky defeated the Bulldogs last season, 28-7. Florida will remain in the SEC East to face Tennessee in Gainesville. The Vols finally got into the win column earlier in the day after dropping the first two games of the season at home.

Kentucky leading No. 9 Florida at halftime in Lexington, 14-7

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A year after ending a long losing streak against the Florida Gators, Kentucky is looking to do it again. In front of their fans at home in Lexington, Kentucky leads No. 9 Florida 14-7 at halftime.

Kentucky started the game with Sawyer Smith at quarterback in place of the injured Terry Wilson, and they have largely kept things within reason with the offensive approach. Smith ended the first half having completed 10-of-13 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. Smith tied the game early in the second quarter with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Wagner. Smith later gave the Wildcats the lead with a short touchdown run at the end of an 11-play drive that covered 54 yards.

Florida scored the first points of the game on a Feleipe Franks pass to Freddie Swain midway through the first quarter. Franks has been efficient with his passing by completing 10-of-12 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown, but he was also picked off once on the game’s opening possession. Fortunately, the Florida defense got the ball back three plays later when they recovered a fumble to set up Florida’s touchdown drive. Franks also lost a fumble, which led to the go-ahead score by Kentucky.

Florida had a chance to cut into the deficit in the second quarter, but a 27-yard attempt by Evan McPherson sailed wide right of the posts to keep the score a 14-7 edge for the Wildcats.

CFT Cheat Sheet: What to know for Week 3

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A quick primer on who, what and where to look for/at as we head into Week 3 of the 2019 college football season.

WEEK 3 STORYLINES

  • When ESPN‘s College GameDay traveling roadshow sets up camp in Ames for a game that decides the winner of the aptly-named Cy-Hawk Trophy, you know you’re in for, at least on paper, a light weekend of football schedule-wise. Thanks to Syracuse tripping over itself in Week 2 and Iowa State nearly getting knocked off by an FCS opponent in the opener, it’s Blutarsky’s GPA when it comes to Top 25 vs. Top 25 matchups in Week 3.  The last time there were no ranked teams facing each other?  Oct. 14, 2017 — and No. 2 Clemson was knocked off by unranked Syracuse on the road that weekend.  This weekend, No. 1 Clemson faces… unranked Syracuse… on the road.
  • It’s only Week 3, but Jeremy Pruitt and Chip Kelly are in more dire need of a win than any white man in history.  Pruitt has Tennessee off to its worst start to a season since 1988; under Kelly, UCLA has started a season 0-2 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since World War II.  Fortunately for UT, FCS Chattanooga is on tap and the Viols are 28-point favorites (then again, they were 26-point favorites over Georgia State and we all know how that turned out).  Unfortunately for UCLA — but fortunately for those looking to score free tickets — No. 5 Oklahoma is up next. If/when the Bruins suffer what seems like an inevitable loss, it will mark the first time since 1920-21 that they have gone 0-3 in back-to-back seasons.
  • In the first two games of the 2019 season, Florida State’s defense has allowed a combined 54 second-half points in a 1-1 start that includes the season-opening collapse against Boise State.  Enter Jim Leavitt, who Willie Taggart added this week in a defensive analyst role.  Leavitt served as Taggart’s defensive coordinator during the latter’s one-and-done season as Oregon’s head coach.  During his two seasons in Eugene, the Ducks finished tied for 63rd nationally in scoring defense in 2018 (27 points per game) and 77th in 2017 (28.3 ppg); the year prior to Leavitt’s arrival, they were 126th (out of 128 FBS teams at the time) at 41.4 ppg.  FSU travels to Charlottesville Saturday to face No. 25 Virginia.
  • With a Week 2 win over Western Michigan, Mark Dantonio tied Duffy Daugherty‘s Michigan State record for most career wins at 109.  If, unlike last year, No. 18 MSU can handle Arizona State this weekend, Dantonio, in the midst of his 13th season with the Spartans, will surpass the College Football Hall of Famer and stand alone in school lore with 110 wins.
  • No. 21 Maryland will take on Temple this weekend.  Maryland is leading the nation in scoring at 71 points per game (Penn State is next at 62); Temple is tied for 18th in the country in scoring defense at 12 ppg.
  • So, as you see, these notes signal very loudly that Week 3 is light in the britches and short in the wallet, as my grandfather used to say to describe one of his not-so-favorite sons-in-law.  Which, of course, means that utter and absolute chaos will very likely ensue…

SIX-PACK OF MUST-SEE GAMES

  • No. 6 Ohio State (-16½) at Indiana — Each of the past three seasons, a ranked OSU team lost to an unranked Big Ten opponent on the road in a game in which they were favored.  Are the Hoosiers the Buckeyes’ trap-game Waterloo this season?
  • No. 19 Iowa (-2) at Iowa State — As referenced earlier, this would’ve been a Top 25 matchup if then-No. 21 Iowa State hadn’t barely escaped Northern Iowa in triple overtime and dropped out of the rankings as a result.  The Hawkeyes have won the last four games in the rivalry; the Cyclones last home win in the series came in 2011.
  • No. 20 Washington State (-9) vs. Houston — This Friday-night, neutral-site affair is mentor vs. protégé as Wazzu’s Mike Leach had Houston’s Dana Holgorsen on his Texas Tech coaching staff from 2000-09.  Not only will this be the first time Leach and Holgorsen have been on opposing sidelines as head coaches, it’ll also be the first time since 1988 — and just the fourth time ever — the two schools have squared off in football.
  • No. 2 Alabama (-25½) at South Carolina — Alabama will be playing its first true road game of the 2019 season.  The last time these two teams met at Williams-Brice Stadium, the Gamecocks upset the top-ranked Crimson Tide in 2010. Unless I’m mistaken, though, neither Stephen Garcia nor Marcus Lattimore nor Alshon Jeffery will be suiting up this weekend.
  • Stanford at No. 17 UCF (-7½) — UCF will have two regular-season chances to prove its worth to national pundits against Power Five foes — this one at home, in Week 4 vs. Pitt.  Stanford is coming off a 25-point drubbing at the hands of USC that dropped them out of the Top 25, while UCF has beaten FAMU and FAU by a combined score of 110-14.
  • No. 9 Florida (-8) at Kentucky — If there’s a revenge game in Week 3 and despite the public pronouncements, it’s this one.  Week 2 last year, Kentucky beat Florida for the first time since Nov. 15, 1986, ending the Wildcats’ streak of 31 straight losses to the Gators.  That game was in Gainesville; this one is in Lexington.

BEST/WORST WAGERS OF WEEK 3

  • BEST: No. 1 Clemson at Syracuse (+28).  Clemson is, obviously, the better team, but on this weekend they won’t be four touchdowns better than Syracuse at home — the Orange’s spitting the bed against Maryland in Week 2 notwithstanding.
  • WORST: No. 5 Oklahoma at UCLA (+22½). Take the Bruins and the points at your own peril as the Sooners are primed to deal out a historic beatdown on Chip Kelly‘s woebegone squad.
  • COVER SPECIAL: Hawaii (+21) at No. 23 Washington.  Hawaii has beaten two Pac-12 opponents (Arizona, Oregon State) to start the 2019 season. Run, don’t walk, to your cyber betting window and lay that money on the Rainbow Warriors to cover.

HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH

  1. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma (Last week: No. 1) — Three touchdowns and 259 yards passing in a half’s worth of Week 2 work vs. an FCS foe would’ve been more than enough to maintain the top slot; working out like a boss immediately after the win and prior to the postgame press conference solidified it.
  2. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (No. 8) — Nine touchdown passes in two games this season for Burrow, giving him 25 in 15 appearances since transferring from Ohio State to LSU; in the two years prior to his arrival, Tiger quarterbacks accounted for 29 in 25 games.
  3. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (No. 2) — In just over a half of play vs. New Mexico State, the junior completed 16-of-24 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns.  He also scored another on the ground.
  4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (No. 5) — In his first two career starts, the Georgia transfer has been responsible for nine total touchdowns (six passing, three rushing).
  5. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (No. 4) — Taylor has three receiving touchdowns in two games after never catching one his first two seasons.  Oh, and he also has five touchdowns on the ground for good measure.
  6. Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas (No. 6) — Even in a loss to Burrow’s Tigers, Ehlinger shined statistically as he totaled 401 yards and four touchdowns through the air.
  7. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (No. 7) — The sophomore has been fair to middlin’ the first two games, throwing more interceptions (three) than touchdowns (two).
  8. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (No. 9) — Five touchdowns, 310 yards passing in a blowout win over Nevada in Week 2.
  9. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson (No. 3) — After 205 yards and three touchdowns in the opener, he put up 53 and zero in Week 2.
  10. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (No. 10) — As the token non-QB/RB, Jeudy is making a case to be taken out of the No. 10 slot as this past weekend he tied a school single-game record with three receiving touchdowns. The junior’s statline this season is 18-240-4.

(DROPPED OUT: None)

WEEK 3 BRAZEN PREDICTIONS
BRYAN FISCHER (@BryanDFischer): Given the slate of lackluster matchups (editor’s note: that’s being way too kind), I think we’re in for some chaos this weekend. I’ll go with four ranked teams getting upset on Saturday, with at least two getting upended at home.
ZACH BARNETT (@zach_barnett): Tennessee drops to 0-3. See the thing people don’t understand about Chattanooga is… okay, no. Mack Brown springs his third straight upset, moving the Mack Attack to 3-0. UNC is a three-point underdog for Friday’s non-conference game at Wake Forest; I would take them as three-point favorites. Sam Howell continues making the plays that need to be made and one of the best stories of this young season continues.
KEVIN MCGUIRE (@KevinOnCFB): Maryland has been scoring plenty of points to start the season and takes their high-flying, rejuvenated offense on the road this week. They are due for a letdown, and Temple is the team to give them their first tough battle of the year. The Owls get defensive at home in The Linc and the Terrapins go home with their first loss of the season, dropping them out of the top 25 as quickly as they entered. The AAC has a solid week as UCF sends Stanford home with a loss too.
JOHN TAYLOR (@CFTalk)
: Not only will No. 17 UCF win and cover, but the Group of Five school will hand Stanford its worst loss since Washington waxed them 44-6 in September of 2016.

NFL DRAFT PROSPECT WATCH
This week, our pals over at Rotoworld take an in-depth look at matchups in games such as Clemson-Syracuse and Oklahoma USC.  For the entire extensively-detailed piece, click HERE.

Revenge not on the menu for Florida against Kentucky

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They say revenge is a dish best served cold, or something like that, but the Florida Gators don’t have the appetite for it this weekend. A year after losing a rare game to the Kentucky Wildcats, the Gators get their shot to avenge last year’s defeat, but that is not a theme they are playing up this week.

“The past is the past,” Florida running back Malik Davis said this week, according to the Associated Press. “It’s not revenge. We are treating it like any other game.”

Part of the reason some Florida players aren’t looking at this as a revenge situation is because Kentucky has a new look to them this year after losing some key players from last year’s meeting to the NFL like Josh Adams and Benny Snell. Quarterback Terry Wilson has also been lost to a season-ending injury, so he’ll be out of the picture too.

Florida had won 31 straight games against the Wildcats up until last season. Kentucky’s 27-16 victory in Gainesville wasn’t by accident either, as the Wildcats thoroughly controlled the game from start to finish. Now, Kentucky will look to win a game against Florida in Lexington for the first time since a 10-3 victory in 1986. Kentucky is also looking for back-to-back wins against Florida for the first time since 1976 and 1977.

Florida State transfer Xavier Peters granted waiver at Kentucky

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Two games into the 2019 regular season, Kentucky is on the receiving end of some immediate personnel help.

Xavier Peters opted to transfer from Florida State in early May and, a couple of weeks later, landed at Kentucky to be closer to his young son.  Tuesday, UK announced that the outside linebacker has been granted an immediate-eligibility waiver that will allow him to take the field for the Wildcats as early as this weekend.

The basis for the appeal for the waiver was not divulged, although it very likely involved his child.

“We’re excited to have Xavier available to play this season,” head coach Mark Stoops said in a statement. “I appreciate the NCAA understanding Xavier’s situation. I also want to thank our compliance office for the great job they did with the appeal and for Xavier’s patience with the process.”

Including this season, Peters will have four years of eligibility to use in Lexington.

Peters, suspended by FSU head coach Willie Taggart in early April for unspecified violations of team rules before his transfer the following month, was a four-star 2018 signee who was rated as the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Ohio.  As a true freshman this past season, Peters played in a pair of games for the Seminoles.

Because he didn’t appear in more than four games in 2018, the 6-4, 232-pound linebacker was able to take advantage of the NCAA’s recently-instituted redshirt rule.