Three keys to the game vs Patriots

This Sunday gives us Dolphins vs Patriots, part 2. Here are the three keys to the game against the New England Patriots

It’s week 17 as the Miami Dolphins head over to Foxborough. Let’s dive into the keys to the game: Dolphins vs Patriots, part two.

Three Keys vs Patriots

Running the ball effectively

Miami can’t seem to consistently commit to running the football, but when it does it generally has some success. Mostert leads the team with 791 yards with a 4.9-yard average while Wilson adds 275 yards at a healthy 5.2-yard clip.

The Patriots have a good run defense, ranks ninth in the league, allowing 109.8 yards per game on the ground. They are also the 10th ranked rushing defense in EPA/play. Furthermore when looking into third and fourth down rushing plays the Patriots are the 4th best rush defense in EPA/Play.

On the other hand, Miami is the 17th best rush offense in EPA/Play but the third worst in third and fourth in EPA/Play partly as they pass more often than run.

While we know that Mike McDaniel is a pass happy play caller, the Dolphins run the ball efficiently on early downs. They are 6th best in the league in EPA/Rush on first and second down. Conversely, the Patriot’s rush defense is ranked 16th on early downs.

It will come down to moving the ball by running early and efficiently to get into manageable third and short situations and convert. The Dolphins rank 9th in third down conversion EPA. Certainly a factor to watch in Dolphins vs Patriots.

Getting three and outs

The Dolphins defense has not been that bad late in the season compared to the start of the season. They have been and elite run defense.

However, with the injuries in the secondary their strength has turned into a weakness. Getting the Defense off the field on third downs will be key in Dolphins vs Patriots.

They Dolphins are the 5th worst defense in passing yards allowed per game (245), and 4th worst over their last three games. Also, they are the 12th worst dropback passing defense in EPA.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is the fourth worst passer in EPA/Play and the offense overall passes the football 6% over expected than what they should on third and shorts.

Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer will have to be aggressive in getting after Mac Jones and limiting third down conversion so the Patriots do not sustain drives.

The Dolphins defense ranks sixth worse in EPA given up on third downs, it will be intriguing if defensive coordinator Josh Boyer gets aggressive and gets after Mac Jones to limit third down conversions.

Jason Sanders will have to be special

This season Jason Sanders has been in a funk. Sanders, who was once deemed to be automatic is 1-4 from the 50 yard yard line and out. He has an 82% extra point percentage which is 24th in the league.

Not to mention he had a “missed kick” on a 93 yard kickoff return against the Packers last Sunday.

Sanders will have be reliable for the Dolphins special teams unit, especially if the Dolphins offense can’t score in the redzone. Especially as the Dolphins rank sixth worse in red zone touchdown percentage since week 12.

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2022 Senior Bowl mid-season All Riser Team

The Senior Bowl just released it’s 2022 mid-season all riser team. Hussam Patel takes a look at the defensive side of the ball.

The Senior Bowl just released its 2022 mid-season All Riser team. It consists of offensive and defensive players that have risen two rounds or more on the Senior Bowl board from their junior year tape grades.

Let’s take a look at the defensive prospects.

All-riser Defensive Lineman

EDGE Keion White

Keion White joined Old Dominion as a freshman and transferred to Georgia Tech as a junior. Before making the transition to an EDGE rusher, White was a Tight end. He made Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks list”.

“White was a devastating player for Old Dominion in 2019, making 19 TFLs. He was 265 then. He transferred to Tech, but then suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him. He’s now 6-4, 290, and primed to be a problem for ACC teams. White has hit 21 mph despite being almost 300 pounds. He also has vertical-jumped 32 inches and done 38 reps of 225 on the bench press.”

Bruce Feldman

White is a well-built and dense-framed defensive end. He plays with good power on initial contact that can help soften edges and rush angles. His power in short spaces is effective. He’s a high-motor player, and he shows good enough hand use, as well as a tight spin move, to win as an edge rusher.

EDGE Mike Morris

Michigan EDGE rusher Mike Morris leads the Wolverines with five sacks on the season and is third-best in the Big Ten conference overall. As a junior, behind David Ojabo and Aidan Hutchinson, Morris played in four games and contributed on 107 snaps. He recorded just five tackles, no assists while making seven stops.

Morris explodes off the line with a quick first step, with agile feet to counter inside and closing burst to finish plays. His hand use is excellent; he’s strong in the upper body and consistently swats away blockers. As a pass rusher his junior year, he produced 14 total pressures, which included 10 QB hurries, one QB hit, and three sacks on the year.

“He’s one of those types of guys that he’s good at so many things. I think at some times, it’s like, ‘Oh, we can do this with him, we can do that with him.’ But he’s also a really good one-on-one rusher. And I think that’s what he’s proven to me. I think the most (he’s improved) is he has a great ability to win one on ones using his tools and what he’s good at a really consistent level.”

Michigan Defensive Coordinator Jesse Minter

DT Tyler Davis

Clemson defensive tackle Tyler Davis has made an immediate impact at Clemson, earning the starting role in his first career game as a true freshman in 2019, and becoming a key interior piece for Clemson’s defense ever since. Davis looks like a potential pro starter and top 100 pick, ideally suited for a team that utilizes a rotation-heavy defensive line.

Hearing from his head coach, Dabo Swinney, Davis is “Fundamentally sound. Technically sound. Relentless with his effort.” A compactly-built, high-motor lineman, he brings a nice blend of power and quickness. Davis shows impressive get-off, often exploding off the line and getting into gaps before blockers can react.

All-riser Linebackers

LB Owen Pappoe

The senior linebacker has more than lived up to his nickname, the Freak. He’s been compared to former Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses. He’s made 165 tackles and six sacks in his career for the Tigers. Equally good in the run game and pass game, Pappoe reads the offensive line well and attacks blocking schemes – has a natural feel for the game. Can attack the edge with speed and has the flexibility to dip low and under the tackle’s reach.

Pappoe gets the shout out in the 2022 Senior Bowl mid-season all riser team as he arrives at the receiver at the same time as the ball, giving up few yards after the catch.

EDGE/OLB D.J. Johnson

Oregon Duck D.J. Johnson made the 2022 Senior Bowl mid-season all riser team due to his pass rush and cover skills. He has established himself as one of the most versatile players in the country in his senior season at Oregon. He previously played tight end for the Ducks.

Johnson has a good bull rush, but his best attribute is probably his speed off the edge. He has a lot of athleticism for a guy his size, which is probably why he’s in the defensive line position most likely to drop back into coverage. Fluid and quick drop into zone, covers enough ground to be Tampa-2 “MIKE” and knows where the markers are.

Linebacker Daiyan Henley

Daiyan Henley is still relatively new to the linebacker position, which bodes well for his continued development as a player and offers perspective on just how enticing his instincts are. According to the Associated Press, Daiyan Henley is one of the nation’s three best linebackers at the midway point of the season.

The most productive defender for the Cougars, Henley enters the bye week leading his team with 68 tackles. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released his latest 2023 NFL draft big board this week, and Henley came in at No. 24 overall. He’s a former wide receiver and defensive back, so his ball skills when playing in coverage are considered a strength as well.

All-riser Defensive Backs

Cornerback Nehemiah Pritchett

Nehemiah Pritchett’s role for Auburn went up every year and was a key starter on cornerback and helped on kick returning on special teams, showing his ability to play multiple positions and help the team out in anywhere he can.

He’s very quick and very confident cover corner who plays bigger than his size when lined up in press coverage, delivering quick, surprisingly powerful punches and using his natural quickness and change-of-direction ability to mirror on underneath routes. Pritchett can get flat-footed but his makeup speed is impressive. He plays the ball as if it was thrown for him.

Cornerback Devon Witherspoon

The fourth-year Illini cornerback sure has come a long way from being an under-recruited, late addition to the Class of 2019. Now he’s one of the nation’s top cornerbacks. Witherspoon was named a Midseason All-American by Pro Football Focus (First Team) and The Athletic (Second Team). Now, he’s part of the 2022 Senior Bowl mid-season all riser team.

The Illini product reads receivers’ routes and anticipates throws at the first down marker. Covers a lot of ground in a hurry when in space. Reads the quarterback’s eyes and sees the routes very quickly, then has straight-line speed to arrive with, or just after, the ball. Witherspoon shows good awareness when dropping into zone coverage, with good route recognition and the ability to break quickly and cover a lot of ground.

Safety Jay Ward

In 2021, as a junior, Ward played in 11 games and contributed on 704 snaps. He chalked up decent 58 tackles, 15 assists, and added 13 stops. In the secondary, Ward forced two pass breakups and notched two interceptions.

Ward flashes good ball skills for a safety. The Tiger product tracks the ball well downfield and has the hands and coordination to come away with interceptions, even while not targeted often. He has the range and cover ability you want out of a post safety.

Safety Daniel Scott

Safety Daniel Scott is the old man of the Cal defense.  The 2022 season will be his sixth year of college football in Berkeley, and he will turn 24 midway through the season.

“He’s a play-maker, makes quick decisions, and I think that’s what he does best. He has good instincts and when he makes a decision, he can go fast.”

Cal Defensive Coordinator Peter Sirmon

Regardless of age, he looks the part with prototypical size and strength for a strong safety — long arms with a filled-out frame. Extremely strong with natural power to make punishing hits. He’s a willing and capable hitter in run support and closes fast to make plays against quick screens.

Safety Chris Smith

The Georgia Bulldogs senior made the midseason all-riser team for the Senior Bowl. Christopher Smith has 21 total tackles, two interceptions, and three pass deflections this season.

Smith’s an instinctive center fielder who flies around the field, has the tools to make up for a relative lack of size. He’s got a great football IQ and is versatile. He handles assignments as a deep safety, robber, and nickel corner. His downhill trigger is impressive showing the propensity to click and close, driving on anything in front of him with burst and intent.

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2022 Senior Bowl mid-season All Riser Team

The Senior Bowl just released it’s 2022 mid-season All Riser team. Hussam Patel takes a look at the offensive side of the ball.

The Senior Bowl just released it’s 2022 mid-season All Riser team. It consists of offensive and defensive players that have risen two rounds or more on the Senior Bowl board from their Junior year tape grades.

Let’s take a look at the offensive prospects.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker

The Tennessee quarterback is kind of like a mix between Bryce Young and CJ Stroud physically. He has Stroud’s arm and size and Young’s athleticism and accuracy. He may win the Heisman. The only major flaw about Hendon Hooker is his age. It brings with it questions of how much upside is left?

Running back Chase Brown

The Illini product has the ability to see where holes are going to open up. Brown can twist his hips in between the blockers to squeeze through holes that aren’t there to the naked eye.

He’s capable as a receiver, a weapon on swing passes and in the screen game. His stats through seven games:

  • ATT: 192
  • YDS: 1,059
  • TD: 4
  • AVG: 5.5

All-riser Pass Catchers

Tight End Luke Schoonmaker

Senior Luke Schoonmaker has picked up where Michgan TE Erick All left off last year, becoming a key part of the Wolverines’ passing attack and a favorite target of J.J. McCarthy.

Through six games, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end is second on the team in catches (23) and receiving yards (229). Schoonmaker has reliable hands and shows the willingness to make catches in traffic over the middle.

Wide Receiver Zay Flowers

Xavien “Zay” Kevonn Flowers has caught my eye for a while now, and he’s been on the Senior Bowl radar for quite some time. The Eagles product is first or tied for first in the ACC in:

  • Targets (63)
  • Receptions (42)
  • Receiving yards (556)
  • Receiving TDs (5)
  • 40+ yard catches (4)

His stock hasn’t only risen in the Senior Bowl board, but also among NFL draft boards.

“He’s a smaller receiver, like a [Terry] McLaurin, that type of guy. He can fly. He’s a highlight reel. Probably a second-rounder, might sneak in first if he runs real fast [at the combine].”

NFC Scouting Director

Wide Receiver Charlie Jones

Purdue receiver Charlie Jones is coming of age, especially on the mid-season All Riser team for the Senior Bowl. Although Jones is more of a possession target than a field stretcher, his fiercely competitive demeanor and run-after-catch ability make him a major threat in the middle of the field.

His play this season is even more impressive when you consider he had 39 career receptions coming into the year. Jones has become the most reliable target for Aidan O’Connell and consistently comes away with the difficult catch during the game’s critical moments. He has 62 catches for 735 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Wide Receiver Jonathan Mingo

Ole Miss Rebels receiver Jonathan Mingo was graded by Pro Football Focus as the No. 1 wideout in college football. Mingo plays with a smoothness and balance, and shows a knack for setting up defensive backs. He’s equally dangerous in catch-and-run situations as he is taking the top off a defense.

Mingo transitions quickly from receiver to runner, and he has enough speed to threaten the seam and has a knack for getting open. Through six games, Mingo has amassed 22 receptions, 507 receiving yards, and three touchdowns. He is also now averaging 23.0 yards per reception, which is good for first in the SEC and second in the nation.

All-riser Offensive Lineman

Offensive Tackle Tyler Steen

The development of Alabama offensive tackle Tyler Steen, a veteran transfer from Vanderbilt, has been critical for the Crimson Tide.

Through six weeks, he has been an anchor for the Crimson Tide at left tackle. He is a very instinctive player and leads by example along the offensive front. It will be interesting to see how he develops as the season progresses.

Offensive Guard O’Cyrus Torrence

Proving himself as Florida’s most impactful addition from the transfer portal this past offseason, Right guard O’Cyrus Torrence was recognized for his play twice through six games with the Gators as he lands on Associated Press mid-season All-American team and 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl Mid-season All-Riser Team.

Torrence does a nice job working with teammates to build the pocket, anchoring against bull rushers and displaying good awareness against stunts and twists. As a result, he’s continued his college career-long streak of games without giving up a sack, up to 42 games between his three years at Louisiana and six appearances at Florida.

Center Alex Forsyth

The Oregon product is little known outside of the college football community but has slowly risen up the ranks. Forsyth is currently on the mid-season watch list for the Lombardi Award. In the run game, he shows good burst off the line of scrimmage, with the ability to win at the point of attack.

Forsyth has enough speed and athleticism to move to the second level and land blocks. He’s a rock in the middle of the line as a pass protector, with the heavy hands and strong grip to hold his own against bigger defensive tackles.

Offensive Guard Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones’ name has not been a hot name recently as Ohio State’s high powered offense has names like C.J. Stroud, Marvin Harrison Jr., and Paris Johnson. However, Matthew Jones is a key contributor to keeping C.J. Stroud upright and to the Buckeyes having one of the best run games in the nation.

Jones consistently lands blocks at the second level and finishes strong. As a pass protector, he has violent, heavy hands. Along with a strong initial punch, he has the hand strength to grip and redirect pass rushers.

Offensive Tackle Darnell Wright

Last week Volunteers offensive lineman Darnell Wright stood out against Alabama. He had the task playing against an impressive EDGE rusher in Will Anderson Jr.

He has the feet to adjust when he anticipates what’s coming. Effective trapping and bends at the knees with adequate core strength to absorb the bull rush. Can clear a path at the second level if he hits the target. With a thick build and a naturally wide base, he brings power and physicality in the run game.

Wright’s pass protection has been key to keeping Hendon Hooker upright, and a big contributor for an explosive Volunteers offense.

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Week 3 College Football Preview

Week 3 of College Football is finally here! Hussam Patel gives his top three week 3 college football preview and games that you need to watch.

Photo Credit: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Week 3 of the 2022 college football season is finally here. Here are the top three college football previews and games from week 3 that you need to watch.

Penn St. vs. Auburn preview

#22 Penn State Nittany Lions v Auburn Tigers. 3:30 P.M. EST, CBS

  • Line: Auburn -3, o/u: 46

Penn State week 3 college football preview

Sean Clifford is the most important player on Penn State’s roster, and the team’s success will heavily rely on what he does leading the offense. Clifford does have some help, though, as last week saw the arrival of one of the top players for the future, freshman running back Nick Singleton.

There were problems against Aidan O’Connell and the Purdue passing game, but the secondary held its own. Between that game and the Ohio win, Penn State has allowed just 48% of all passes to be completed.

Penn State’s offensive line is still looking to show some solid improvement. Through two games, this group has given up a big play to the opposing defense just when you think things are improving.

The Nittany Lions have an advantage at quarterback and feature multiple wide receivers to spread the ball around against the Auburn Tigers.

Auburn week 3 college football preview

For all of the problems the Tigers had least season, run defense wasn’t one of them. They held Penn State to 90 yards and just 2.7 yards per carry in the 28-20 game last year.

TJ Finley has thrown three more interceptions than touchdowns this season, and he will be going up against a solid defensive secondary led by cornerback Joey Porter Jr.

Running back Tank Bigsby should be a featured player, just as he was last year in this game when he ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns. He should get his work in this week. It’s a small sample size, but Penn State has surrendered 161 total rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground in its first two games.

Clifford and Singleton may have a tough time establishing much rhythm against Derick Hall and the Auburn defense. Can TJ Finley rise up and get the O moving? 

Miami vs. Texas A&M preview

#13 Miami Hurricanes v #24 Texas A&M Aggies. 9 P.M. EST, ESPN

  • Texas A&M -5, o/u: 45

Miami week 3 college football preview

Miami’s defense isn’t quite there yet, but it showed off the offensive talent in layups against Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss, with 100 points and well over 1,000 yards in the two games.

So far, the early returns on Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke are as advertised. Working in new OC Josh Gattis’ system, Van Dyke has hit on 73% of his passes, connected with 12 receivers, and heads an offense that averages 9.0 yards per play, can spread things out, and works well in space.

Miami’s defense struggled last year (28.4 points a game allowed) and had issues with tackling and inconsistent play at linebacker. They still struggled early against Southern Miss and Bethune-Cookman.

The Hurricanes’ back seven is untested so far in two games, and had its weaknesses a year ago. They haven’t faced anything like Ainias Smith or Evan Stewart yet, either.

Texas A&M week 3 college football preview

For all of the team’s problems, the offensive line has been good in pass protection so far, the secondary hasn’t allowed much of anything, and there’s too much talent overall to be this mediocre.

The Aggies need to control the tempo and establish the run behind Devon Achane. Miami is 8th nationally allowing 58.5 yards per game on the ground, but hasn’t faced a back of Achane’s quality yet.

LSU transfer Max Johnson gets the start this game. Playing mistake-free ball and getting the ball in space to receivers Ainias Smith, Evan Stewart, Chris Marshall, and Yulkeith Brown has to be the priority.

The Aggies had aspirations of contending for a playoff spot, but now face major questions before the SEC opener.

BYU vs. Oregon preview

#12 BYU Cougars at #25 Oregon Ducks. 7:30 P.M. EST, ESPN

  • Line: Oregon -3.5, o/u: 58

BYU week 3 college football preview

Jaren Hall finds ways to guide BYU to victories when facing Power 5 opponents. Hall improved to 7-1 all-time as a starter against P5 foes following last week’s win over Baylor.

The Cougars are legitimately punishing on defense and still relatively healthy on that side of the ball. Offensively, BYU doesn’t usually do anything to beat itself. 

BYU will need more production from the backfield this week to have success against Oregon in their week 3 matchup.

Oregon Ducks week 3 college football preview

A matchup with a talented and physical BYU team will be a good indicator of where Dan Lanning can take his team in year one

Containing Jaren Hall and keeping him from escaping the pocket will be a big task for a defensive front that hasn’t consistently collapsed the pocket.

Oregon was unstoppable in the run game last week after struggling to move the chains against Georgia. The Ducks collectively averaged 5.5 yards per carry while totaling 263 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

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Week 2 College Football Preview

Week 2 of College Football is finally here! Hussam Patel gives his top three week 2 college football preview and games that you need to watch.

Photo Credit: SCOTT WACHTER/USA TODAY SPORTS

Week 2 of the 2022 college football season is finally here. Here are the top three college football previews and games you need to watch

Alabama vs. Texas preview

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Texas Longhorns. 12 P.M. EST, FOX

  • Line: Alabama -20, o/u: 61.5

Alabama week 2 college football preview

This is a fully-focused Alabama team that lost a slew of star parts, and yet still ran for 278 yards last week and threw for 281 yards.

The offensive line has been worked on and tweaked to be better in pass protection. This allows Bryce Young time to to spread it around more.

The only noteworthy thing the Crimson Tide have to worry about is the notorious “horns down” penalty that Nick Saban did not even know existed.

You think Alabama is going to flinch for an instant when Texas connects on a 78-yard touchdown pass? 

Texas week 2 college football preview

This will be the biggest week 2 college football game. Texas has the guys to at least hang with Bama at home, but they need a good start and to believe they really can do this

Steve Sarkisian and the coaching staff have settled in, there’s a healthy Bijan Robinson in the backfield, Quinn Ewers – at least prospect-wise – is as promising as any quarterback in the country. You’re not crazy to hype Xavier Worthy among the best wide receivers in college football, either.

How will the Longhorns react if Will Anderson Jr. sacks Ewers twice on the first drive? What happens when the Crimson Tide stops Bijan Robinson and the run?

Prediction

Alabama 45, Texas 27

Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh preview

#24 Tennessee Volunteers v Pittsburgh Panthers. 3:30 P.M. EST, ABC

  • Line: Tennessee -6.5, o/u: 66

Tennessee week 2 college football preview

The Tennessee offense is going to go off. The Vols’ offense looks as potent as ever, scoring 59 points in the season opener against Ball State. Hendon Hooker has a plethora of help.

Four of last year’s offensive line starters are back, but that unit allowed an SEC-worst 44 sacks last season. How effective this Vols offense can be is dependent on the guys up front. 

Tennessee didn’t have a sack in last week’s game, and only had two tackles for loss. Linebacker Jeremy Banks will be looked upon to create some negative plays, as will defensive end Byron Young.

Pittsburgh week 2 college football preview

The running game was held in check, but Kedon Slovis had a terrific debut, throwing for over 300 yards. Now he gets to throw on a Tennessee secondary that struggled last season.

The Vols secondary has some experience in Trevon Flowers and Jaylen McCollough, but they were also a big reason why the Vols’ pass defense struggled in 2021. Slovis needs to feast on them.

Pitt finished third in the nation in sacks last fall, and their top havoc producers, Calijah Kancey and Habakkuk Baldonado, are still around to cause problems. If the Panthers D can create chaos and force three-and-outs, the Vols’ defense can expect to be on the field for much of the game.

Prediction

Tennessee 44, Pittsburgh 38

Kentucky vs. Florida preview

#20 Kentucky Wildcats at #12 Florida Gators. 7:30 P.M. EST, ESPN

  • Line: Florida -5, o/u: 52

Kentucky week 2 college football preview

The offense has a mayo-loving pro prospect of its own in quarterback Will Levis, coming off a 303-yard performance. He’ll keep pushing a Gator secondary that had issues with the Utah passing game late last week.

With only one starter returning, along with Auburn transfer Tashawn Manning, the Wildcats return only 45 career starts. Kentucky’s “Big Blue Wall” is young, inexperienced, and a work-in-progress.

Offensive coordinator Rick Scangarello will want to get Tayvion Robinson, who was marvelous in his Kentucky debut (6 receptions, 136 yards), the ball early and often on Saturday night.

Kentucky is also very deep at linebacker; it’s been an area of strength in Stoops’ recruiting operation. This means the Wildcats are less likely to tire late compared to Utah. If Kentucky wins, it’ll be likely because it won this battle.

Florida Gators week 2 college football preview

Led by quarterback Anthony Richardson, the Gators piled on 283 ground yards and four TDs, while averaging over seven yards per touch against a very good, and physical, team last week.

The Gators have plenty of talent up front, and start multiple five-star players on the defensive line. Still, Florida surrendered over 200 yards rushing to Utah last Saturday and was too often pushed back easily at the point of attack.

Kentucky’s top running backs are out, one with a suspension and another with an injury, so the Gators may get a break in the running game. But they still have to deal with Will Levis and his strong arm. Jason Marshall Jr. will have to keep up with Tayvion Robinson.

Anthony Richardson will be contained by the Wildcats defense, he will have to rely on his arm more than his legs. It needs to be the next step in his development in week 2 of college football.

Prediction

Florida 27, Kentucky 24

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