Tampa Bay Sports Day

BEAIRD: Florida Opens Up SEC Schedule at Home Against Wildcats

FLORIDA HOSTS KENTUCKY: Gator fans should not get too upset about the closer than expected win over UMASS. A rainy night plus the usual miscues and dropped passes slowed down the Gator offense. Quarterback Luke Del Rio was efficient. He did not throw any picks. It was good to see linebacker Alex Anzalone wrecking havoc again after missing last year with a should injury.

Florida is expected to beat Kentucky for the 30th straight time. The Wildcats have a serviceable quarterback in Drew Barker and capable running backs in Stanley Williams and JoJo Kemp. Kentucky’s problem is a defense that allowed Southern Miss to score 34 straight points causing the Wildcats to lose a large lead and the game. Kentucky has started strong over the past few years and finished poorly. Another losing season season means coach Mark Stoops might be in some trouble. Kentucky boosters have sunk a lot of money into refurbishing Commonwealth Stadium and new football facilities to allow more losing seasons.

FLORIDA STATE HOSTS CHARLESTON SOUTHERN: Few teams were as dynamic as FSU in its win over Ole Miss Monday night. The Noles made a furious rally behind quarterback Deondre Francois that erased an early Rebel lead. Running back Dalvin Cook was also instrumental in the win gaining nearly 200 yards of total offense. The Noles defense led by All-American candidate DeMarcus Walker stuffed the Rebels in the second half. Saturday is an easy win over over-matched Charleston Southern, predicted to win the Big South conference. FSU needs to come out of the game with a win and no injuries because they travel to Louisville next week.

MIAMI HOSTS FLORIDA ATLANTIC: The coach Mark Richt era got off to a fast start with the Canes scoring 70 points against FAMU. Quarterback Brad Kaaya was solid as usual with four touchdowns and no picks. Three Miami running backs ran for over 100 yards each. Freshman linebacker Shaq Quarterman continues to be a terror. He had seven tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. For Miami to win this week they need to stop FAU quarterback Jason Driskel, the younger brother of former Gator and Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff. Driskel, a redshirt sophomore, proved to be a dual threat in the win over Southern Illinois by connecting on 23 of 31 passes for 287 yards with two scores. He also ran for another touchdown. The Canes have an intriguing game next week as they travel to Appalachian State, the team that nearly beat Tennessee.

UCF AT MICHIGAN: The Knights started the season with a 38-0 victory over South Carolina State. UCF forced three turnovers and posted their first shutout since 2014. Quarterback Justin Holman completed 14 of 28 passes for 193 yards and two touchdown passes to Tre’Quan Smith and Tristan Payton. However, Holman has to get rid of the ball faster against Michigan.

Michigan’s strength is its defense. Jabrill Peppers, more of a pass rusher, is one of the best defensive players in the Big Ten. Against Hawaii, 11 different players caught passes from quarterback Wilton Speight. Jehu Chesson, Amara Darboh and tight end Jake Butt are the three main receivers.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS AT USF: South Florida opened the season beating Towson, 56-20. Quarterback Quinton Flowers struggled completing eight of 18 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for two more touchdowns before being replaced by Brett Kean.

Northern Illinois lost to Wyoming, 40-34, in three overtimes with the game ending only a few hours before dawn in the East. Quarterback Drew Hare threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns. Hare will be tested by a good USF secondary.