The Kentucky Wildcats are feeling good about their chances to snap their 27-game losing streak against Florida in Saturday’s showdown between the Cats and the Gators. Kentucky’s Jojo Kemp has already given Florida some bulletin board material this week (although his comments may have been taken out of context), and the Cats’ 20-7 loss to Florida last season has many of their returning players believing an upset is possible this weekend in the Swamp.

However, this year’s Florida squad is not the same team that lost to Georgia Southern and scored just 20 points on Kentucky last season. Kurt Roper is now running the offense, and last week’s 65-0 shellacking of Eastern Michigan was proof this offense has turned a corner with Jeff Driskel at quarterback.

In anticipation of Kentucky’s matchup with the new-look Gators, here are five Florida players every UK fan should know by Saturday:

  1. Jeff Driskel (QB): Driskel threw the ball 45 times against Eastern Michigan after attempting just 61 passes all of last season. He completed 31 of his 45 throws — resulting in a completion rate of close to 69 percent — and threw for one touchdown without any interceptions. Kentucky’s defense will prove to be a much tougher test than EMU’s, but Driskel appears more confident than ever in Roper’s new offense. Florida has plenty of athleticism at the skill positions, as it always does, and if Driskel can continue to take charge of the offense, it should continue to show major improvements from last season against a feisty Kentucky defense.
  2. Dante Fowler (DE): Fowler is Florida’s most dangerous defensive lineman, although he recorded just three tackles and no sacks last week. He did assist on a tackle for loss and added two quarterback hurries against EMU, but he did not make a tremendous impact in shutting out the Eagles. Kentucky fans are hoping Fowler wasn’t saving himself for Saturday’s game, as the Cats have already allowed quarterback Patrick Towles to be sacked five times in two games this year. Fowler recorded 50 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and seven quarterback hurries as an All-SEC selection last season, and if he plays up to that level on Saturday, it will give the UK offensive line trouble all night.
  3. Vernon Hargreaves III (DB): Hargreaves does a little bit of everything for Florida as one of the most electrifying players on the Gators’ roster. He recorded a modest two tackles and one pass breakup last week against EMU, but made 38 tackles and pulled in three interceptions last season as Florida’s top cover corner (he also recorded 11 pass breakups). Hargreaves has the ability to return both kickoffs and punts, but he has been using sparingly in the return game during his collegiate career. He’ll most likely stick to his cornerback duties against an athletic group of UK receivers, and could bait Towles into throwing his first interception of the season. Hargreaves will be the most talented corner UK has faced this season, and it will be fascinating to see how the Cats’ young receivers handle the challenge.
  4. Demarcus Robinson (WR): Robinson caught six passes for 123 yards and a touchdown last week, a vast improvement from the five catches he made all of last season. The Gators’ wideout has speed to burn and should pose an interesting threat to a veteran Kentucky secondary this weekend. Robinson is only a sophomore, and Saturday’s game could help Florida fans decide whether last week’s performance was a fluke, or if Robinson is truly poised to establish himself among the Gators’ top wideouts in 2014. He’ll certainly be the toughest receiver UK’s secondary has had to face this season, and if Robinson breaks out another top-flight performance, it could be tough for the Cats to keep up on the scoreboard.
  5. Neiron Ball (LB): Ball began his collegiate career at Florida in 2010, but missed the 2011 season after a blood vessel burst in his brain, causing him to be hospitalized. He managed to work his way back onto the field in 2012, and since that time has become a fixture in Florida’s defense. Ball began his senior season on a high-note against Eastern Michigan, registering six tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble in shutting out the Eagles. He had just 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack in 2013, but looks like a whole new player in his final year as a collegiate. He is the epitome of toughness and perseverance, and while his story is compelling, his play on the field could be dangerous for a Cats offense that may be missing its leading rusher in Braylon Heard for a second straight week. Ball must be accounted for on every snap, or he will make a suspect Kentucky offensive line look foolish.