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Previewing the Opponent: Florida Gators

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Florida Gators
Head Coach: Will Muschamp
Record: 4-7
All-Time: Florida leads 34-21-2

Overview: Florida has not has a good year. While their neighbors to the North have pounded opponents this season UF has struggled to find offense and stay healthy. The majority of UF's woes can be attributed to the sheer number of players they've had go down. The Gator defense is depleted and the Gator offense wasn't exactly loaded before it started suffering injuries.

Still, the Seminoles say that doesn't matter.

“They are THAT team,” said senior linebacker Telvin Smith. “So we’re going to go over there and give them our best and [we know] they’re going to give us their best game. They could lose every game but when they play us they’re going to play their best game against us.”

That sounds great, and given the multitude of distractions currently facing Florida State off the field, UF could really press Florida State today. But outside of the emotions generated when these two rivals meet, there's not a whole lot to suggest that Florida is going to have the firepower to knock the Seminoles off.

The Florida defense -- despite giving up 400 rushing yards to an FCS opponent last weekend -- should play the Seminole offense tough today. But scoring points will be a challenge and the Florida State defense is one of the best in the country. 

How FSU Stacks Up: As long as the Seminoles play their game and have their heads in the right place FSU should handle their business. The Seminoles have the clear upperhand when their defense is on the field against the Florida offense. Without a dynamic quarterback and receivers that can threaten vertically, UF's run game might be in for an uphill battle. FSU will know what's coming and will likely try to take it away from the outset and force Florida to beat them through the air.

That plays right into FSU's advantage too, the Seminoles lead the nation in interceptions and they can score when they turn the ball over. That would be absolutely fatal to Florida. If the Gators turn the ball over and let Florida State jump up by even a few scores they will be entirely out of their gameplan. The UF offense is not equipped to come back from big deficits -- something that already has them at a disadvantage against a high-scoring team like FSU -- and falling behind early could take them out of this game entirely.

The game will be won on the other side of the ball though. Florida State has pretty much scored at will against every defense it's faced this year. If that trend continues on Saturday then things are going to get out of hand quickly.

UF's defense has to at least hold FSU's offense at bay. Stopping them entirely likely isn't an option, but making them go on long drives for their points, preventing big plays and avoiding mental breakdowns is an option. Florida has a shot it if they make FSU earn every point they score. 

But if anything comes easy for FSU it could spell doom for Florida.

Three to Watch:

Lucheiz Purifoy, CB -- Purifoy will have his hands full with FSU's talented trio of receivers, if he can shut one down it will go a long ways towards helping UF win the battle on defense.

Solomon Patton, WR -- The Gators' senior WR needs to have a good day -- especially early -- to make FSU respect the UF passing attack.

Mack Brown, RB -- Florida' bread and butter is the run game, if Brown doesn't have a big day the Gators may be dead in the water.

Quote of the Week: “They are going to come out and play us hard. Probably harder than any other team that we play. Last year they were kind of up and down a lot throughout the season but they came here and beat us so we definitely remember that.”

-Tim Jernigan, DT

 

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