Connect with us


Kentucky vs Clemson, TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: TV/Streaming Info, Keys to the Game, and Predictions



The Kentucky Wildcats will take on the Clemson Tigers in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.
© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 Kentucky Football season will reach its conclusion Friday against the No. 22 Clemson Tigers in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

The last time the Wildcats took the field was in late November against in-state rival and top-10 foe Louisville. Despite trailing by 10 multiple times in the second half, Kentucky was able to rally for the victory thanks to a Ray Davis touchdown with one minute left, then got a pick in the end zone to seal the victory.

A lot has happened since then. Mark Stoops nearly left for the Texas A&M opening. More than a dozen players have transferred out, while a few staff changes occurred, and Kentucky secured a standout high school and transfer portal recruiting class.


Now, Kentucky has a chance to end its season with a second straight victory over a top-25 ACC club after being 6-5 amid what looked to be a lost season.

There’s no question Clemson has had a down year by their standards, including their streak of double-digit victories ending for the first time since 2010.

Even so, Kentucky has an opportunity for a marquee win over a top-25 opponent.

The two programs have met 13 times all-time, with Kentucky holding an 8-5 edge. However, Clemson won the most recent matchup in the 2009 Music City Bowl. That was Dabo Seinney’s first season as the program’s head coach, as well as Rich Brooks’ final season at Kentucky before retiring.


The two programs also played in the 1993 Peach Bowl, which saw Clemson escape with a 14-13 win.

This will also be the third time Kentucky has played in the Gator Bowl, all under Mark Stoops. The Wildcats fell to Georgia Tech in 2016, then beat North Carolina State in the COVID-impacted 2020 campaign.

Here is what to watch for when Kentucky takes on Clemson.


This year’s edition of the Gator Bowl will feature two vastly different-paced offenses. Kentucky, the slowest team in the country, will look to slow down the second-fastest in the country in Clemson. The contrast is stark with the Tigers averaging more than 20 more plays per game.


That said, more isn’t always better as Clemson ranks toward the bottom of the country in yards per play and middle of the country in yards per game. Then again, Kentucky doesn’t have the most efficient offense either, but could we see a new facet of the offense?

Since the end of the regular season, Mark Stoops and Liam Coen have both talked about wanting to play with a faster pace next season. You have to imagine they’ve been working on that extensively during bowl practices, so perhaps we’ll see a more efficient offense down in Jacksonville.


With draft decisions and the transfer portal, the first thing to look at anymore when discussing a bowl game is who is and is not going to play.

Clemson has three opt-outs, including two potential first-round picks, and more than a dozen players enter the transfer portal. The worst of these departures are key defensive players in linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr., cornerback Nate Wiggins, and defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro.


As far as Kentucky, they have just two opt-outs, but both are on the offensive line, which lacks depth. Right tackle Jeremy Flax and left guard Kenneth Horsey will be out.

In addition, the Wildcats have had more than a dozen transfers of their own, but only a handful of significance. The biggest is edge defender Keaten Wade, which is an area Kentucky is already thin at.

Kentucky will have a lot of continuity, but Clemson has five straight top-10 recruiting classes, meaning they have more depth and are better prepared to survive opt-outs and transfers.

That said, Kentucky under Mark Stoops has never feared more talent and has often shown more desire in their wins.


Clemson Through the Air or Kentucky on the Ground?

Look at the stats. Clemson is good at defending the pass, but not the run. Kentucky is good at defending the run, but not the pass.

One would think the opposing team will look to take advantage of the other’s weakness.

Going back to the opts-outs, Kentucky will have all their skill position players available, including running back Ray Davis who was a First-Team All-SEC selection. The Clemson defense has struggled specifically against counter and man-blocking run concepts, which are signatures of Kentucky’s run game.

The Tigers will be looking to pass but will be without one of their best-receiving targets in Beaux Collins. Even so, Kentucky’s pass defense has given up an average of 36 points and 275 yards per game against ranked opponents this season.


It doesn’t help that Clemson QB Cade Klubnik is the kind of duel-threat passer who can extend plays with his feet and scramble for big gains or find holes in the defense, something we saw Kentucky get burned by in several games this season.

Brad White’s unit will have to find a way to step up its game to have any hope of winning this game.

Now, here’s how to watch and follow the battle of the Tigers and Wildcats.

Kentucky Wildcats (7-5) vs. Clemson Tigers (8-4)



REPORT: Liam Coen Leaving Kentucky for NFL Offensive Coordinator Position



UK Athletics

On the eve of a huge recruiting weekend for Kentucky football, the program has received some bad news. Offensive coordinator Liam Coen is leaving for the NFL again, this time taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator position.

When Coen returned to Kentucky last offseason from the Los Angeles Rams, for his second stint as offensive coordinator, he talked about Lexington being a place that he and his wife had missed. In his return press conference, on January 12, 2023, he went as far as saying he wanted to be somewhere for a “few years”, at least.

“I want to go somewhere, make a real impact. Plant some roots for a little bit. Be somewhere for a few years — at least — that you feel really good about. I’m excited about being back in Lexington… I’m not in a rush to go anywhere.”


That “few years” was just a year, but to be honest, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. After many games last season, Coen talked to the media with frustration about fundamental things such as lack of discipline and dropped passes. Even then, it always felt he was holding his words back. With his name circulating around multiple NFL jobs, it was clear this was the direction it was heading.

Now for Kentucky, it’s about getting the next hire right. In a time where offense is becoming the premium in college football, going through five offensive coordinators in ten seasons is not ideal. Paying $1.8 million to Coen, they have shown they will pay amongst the top in the country. Now, go get someone who keeps this core of offensive talent, can recruit, and brings much-needed consistency.

Continue Reading


A Piece of Will Levis’ Historic NFL Debut Displayed in NFL Hall of Fame



Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis after his NFL debut.
© Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

During last year’s NFL Draft, Will Levis was one of the last players left in the green room after dropping to the second round. That moment fueled Levis, and he’s since earned the starting quarterback spot with the Tennessee Titans, appearing to have a bright future with the team.

Entering the season with no shortage of motivation, Levis entered the franchise as QB3 and wasn’t even on the active roster for the first six weeks of the season, being deemed the “emergency quarterback.” However, following an ankle injury to Ryan Tannehill in Week 6, the Titans gave their rookie quarterback an opportunity.

Levis certainly capitalized and had one of the best debuts in NFL History, throwing for 238 yards (19/29 passing) and four touchdowns. From the game, Levis has been put in the Hall of Fame. Well, at least his Houston Oiler throwback helmet from the performance has been placed on display in the Hall of Fame’s “Pro Football Today Gallery.”


Levis started his career with a bang and had his moments. The former Kentucky Wildcat will look to build on his rookie campaign, going into a year where he should be the starter under new head coach Brian Callahan.

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

Continue Reading

FB Recruiting

Cutter Boley Opens up on Playing for Kentucky, “This Is Where My Heart’s Always Been”



Four-star quarterback prospect Cutter Boley signing with Kentucky football.
© Scott Utterback/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the early National Signing Day for the class of 2024 being over, Kentucky’s newest signed quarterback Cutter Boley discusses why he committed to play at Kentucky.

“Just growing up in the state, you know, I’ve grown up a fan I feel like this is where my heart’s always been, and just the offense that Liam Coen runs and the job coach (Mark) Stoops does as head coach is phenomenal and I wouldn’t want to play for anybody else,” Boley tells Kentucky Insider.

Kentucky needed to get some quarterbacks after three players either graduated or transferred with Devin Leary graduating, Destin Wade transferring to Colorado, and Kaiya Sheron electing to transfer as well.


Kentucky was able to load up in the quarterback room by landing the Georgia transfer Brock Vandagriff, Georgia Southern transfer Beau Allen, and then signing Boley in the class of 2024. Boley is ready to compete against them and he recognizes their talent.

“I couldn’t be any more excited to learn from them. They’re two really good quarterbacks, like I said, and they’ll have countless things to teach me from the places they’ve been and the offense that they’ve been in,” Boley tells us. “I just can’t wait to learn the things they know and just be able to work and get to work with them.”

One of the reasons why Boley committed to Kentucky is due to him having a connection since he has lived here his whole life.

“Just growing up in the state, you know, I’ve grown up a fan I feel like this is where my heart’s always been, and just the offense that Liam Coen runs and the job coach (Mark) Stoops does as head coach is phenomenal and I wouldn’t want to play for anybody else,” said Boley.


As for finally signing his National Letter of Intent, Boley feels relieved to have it finished.

“It’s definitely a relief to finally put the pen to paper and make it official,” said Boley. “It’s been a long time coming so I couldn’t be any more excited about my decision and where I’m going to be for the next four years.”

What Boley is most focused on is how the offense is run, as at this time he feels like his play style is made to play professionally.

“I’m really hoping to develop into that pro-style quarterback, but I feel like I’m definitely a pro-style quarterback right now, but really develop into just being able to play in that offense at a very high level and get really comfortable in the offense, and I just want to develop all parts of my game and really be a quarterback that the NFL looks for and that type of quarterback they want to have,” Boley tells us.


With Kentucky having a chance to develop within instead of the transfer route, fans will have a chance to see a quarterback finally develop into potentially starting in the future.

Continue Reading