BREAKING: Three Florida Gators have been suspended for the season-opener. More information below under Injuries/Absences.
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather: 86°F (feels like 93°F), mostly cloudy (chance of rain: 10 percent)
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT
TV: ESPNU (Anish Shroff, Kelly Stouffer, Niki Noto)
SiriusXM: 108/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
|FLORIDA GATORS||IDAHO VANDALS|
|Head Coach: Will Muschamp||Head Coach: Paul Petrino|
|Record: 0-0||Record: 0-0|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Sun Belt|
Odds: Florida -37 | O/U 50.5
KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS
Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you forgot to check out via the links below!
Breakdown: First fall depth chart | Notebook: Muschamp evaluates team, previews first game | Story: Treon Harris named backup quarterback | Notebook: Kurt Roper addresses hot topics, D.J. Durkin evaluates unit | Special: 54 Florida football facts, stats and tidbits | Friday Final: Running backs primed to break out
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» It has been 329 days (10 months, 25 days) since the Gators won a football game.
» Florida 9-1 all-time against teams from the Sun Belt. Idaho rejoined the conference this season after previously playing in it from 2001-04.
» The Gators have won 24-straight season openers. It is the longest such winning streak in the SEC and second-longest in the nation behind Nebraska (28). UF is 80-27 all-time in its first game of a season.
» Florida finished 2013 with a 4-8 record, putting together its first losing season since it went winless (0-10-1) in 1979. UF rebounded to finish 8-4 in 1980, setting an NCAA record for best turnaround in major college football history at the time.
» Muschamp’s 22-16 record through three seasons (2011-13) is the worst for a Gators head coach in that span since Charley Pell went 15-19-1 from 1979-81.
» Kurt Roper is Muschamp’s third offensive coordinator in four seasons and Florida’s fifth in the last seven years, while Mike Summers is Muschamp’s third offensive line coach.
» Chris Leak is the Gators’ sixth wide receivers coach in as many seasons. He is also Muschamp’s fourth in his four-year tenure.
» Florida has forced more turnovers than any other SEC team this century. UF has accounted for 366 over the last 13 years, while LSU is second with 358 forced.
» The Gators are first nationally in interceptions returned for touchdowns (17) and interception return yards (1,860) since the start of the 2008 season. In that span, Florida is third in total interceptions with 106, behind only Oregon (111) and Boise State (109).
» UF advanced to a bowl game in 22 consecutive seasons before falling short in 2013.
» 31 players, including 28 freshmen and three transfers, will be suiting up for the Gators for the first time when the season opens.
» Florida has finished with an undefeated 7-0 record at home three times in the last eight seasons (2006, 2009, 2012).
» UF has the second-best home winning percentage in the nation since 1990 (.863), two tenths of a percent behind Nebraska (.865).
» Former Gators linebacker Bam Hardmon is currently serving as the defensive line coach for the Vandals.
INJURIES AND ABSENCES
» Questionable (2): Redshirt sophomore defensive back Marcus Maye (hamstring), redshirt freshman linebacker Matt Rolin (ACL)
» Suspended (3): Sophomore wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (UF sanction), senior defensive tackle Darious Cummings (violation of team rules), redshirt freshman DT Jay-nard Bostwick (violation of team rules)
Florida announced three hours before kickoff that the aforementioned players will not be active for the Gators due to various suspensions.
“Jay-nard Bostwick and Darious Cummings will not play due to a violation of team rules and Demarcus Robinson will miss the game due to a university sanction that is now resolved,” Muschamp said in a release posted on the school’s website.
“I support the university sanction. We have rules here that we have to follow — team, athletic department and university rules — and when you don’t follow them there are consequences.”
Robinson missed the final two games of the 2013 campaign as part of what was believed to be a three-game suspension. Earlier in the week, Muschamp skirted addressing the topic of Robinson’s status for Saturday’s game, but it appears as if the wideout may still be dealing with punishment from last year’s infraction.
“I expect all three players to return next week,” the head coach added.
READING MEAN TWEETS: WILL MUSCHAMP
Saturday morning on ESPN‘s College GameDay, a number of head coaches including Muschamp read “mean tweets” about themselves into a camera, a take-off on a segment popularized by the late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live.
You can check out the whole segment by clicking here.
RESPECT FROM 2,700 MILES AWAY
While Gators fans may be taking a guarded stance on Florida’s prospects for 2014, Idaho’s coach has plenty of respect for his opponent and its talented roster.
“[My players] better not be thinking that [UF is down] because this team is every bit as talented [as it has been in the past]. They just had a lot of injuries last year. They had a couple things that happened here and there during their season. They didn’t have their quarterback most of the year,” he began.
“This Florida team is every bit as talented as LSU or any other team that plays in the SEC this year, and a lot of people are picking them to win the East in the SEC. We better be ready to play as good a team as there is out there in the country and definitely as talented as any team.”
The level of talent on the Gators’ roster is not Petrino’s only worry. He has also had some difficulty preparing for Florida considering he has been forced to watch two sets of film just to study how he will defend UF’s new offensive attack.
“It’s kind of a unique game where you’re studying defensively all the Duke film and then you got to go back and watch the Florida players [in action last year],” he noted.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The Gators are not only looking to snap a seven-game losing streak but hope to do so in convincing fashion with an offense now under the direction of Roper. A sexy darkhorse pick to win the SEC East in 2014, Florida can prove some of its supporters correct with an impressive offensive outing against an Idaho team that is simply not in the same league as its host on Saturday. A big-time win could even help UF find a spot in the first regular-season edition of the top 25 polls.
More than five-touchdown underdogs to the Gators, the Vandals are simply hoping for a respectable showing on Saturday after falling 59-14 to Ole Miss and 80-14 to Florida State in 2013. The $975,000 that Florida is paying Idaho to travel to Gainesville should help cushion the blow of another tough defeat at the hands of another power five opponent.