Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 90°F, partly cloudy, winds ENE at 5 mph
Time: 3:35 p.m. (ET)
|(23) FLORIDA GATORS||BOWLING GREEN FALCONS|
|Head Coach: Will Muschamp||Head Coach: Dave Clawson|
|Record: 0-0||Record: 0-0|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Mid-American|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida -28.5; O/U 47.5
Need to catch up on the Gators before the first game of the 2012 season? No problem. OGGOA has been here the entire offseason compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam.
HISTORY / STREAKS
» Florida and Bowling Green have never squared off on the football field though both teams are coming off disappointing seasons in which they went 3-5 in conference games.
» The Gators are 78-27 all-time in games that open the season and hold a 63-6 mark in Gainesville; UF is on a 22-game winning streak in season openers, which is tops in the SEC and second nationally to Nebraska (26).
» Florida opens the 2012 campaign ranked in the polls for the 22nd-straight season.
» UF was 7-1 against unranked opponents and 0-5 against ranked opponents in 2011.
» Offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis are new additions to the Gators’ coaching staff, which also lost wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill to a resignation for personal reasons during the offseason. Graduate assistant Bush Hamdan has taken over for Hill in an interim capacity.
» Muschamp was the 15th (of 22) head coach in school history to complete his inaugural season with a winning record, finishing 7-6 after a bowl game victory.
» Florida had the No. 8-ranked total defense nationally in 2011 (299.5 yards per game).
» The Gators defense only amassed 14 turnovers in 2011 but forced six of those in the final four games of the season. UF had a turnover margin of zero in their seven victories and -12 in their six losses (-12 overall).
» Florida had the second-best third-down defense in the nation in 2011, holding opponents to a conversion rate of 27.3 percent (48-of-176).
» The Gators still lead nation in interceptions (76), interception return yards (1,412) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (14) since 2008.
» Florida was 7-2 when rushing for more than 100 yards in 2011 but 0-4 when failing to eclipse that benchmark.
» The Gators were 7-1 in 2011 when leading at the half but 0-5 when tied or trailing at that point in the game.
» Florida converted 32 of 37 red zone opportunities (86.5 percent) in 2011 but only scored touchdowns 18 times (48.6 percent) in those 37 chances. UF was better towards the end of the season, finding the end zone in seven of their last 11 opportunities (63.6 percent) over the final five games.
» The Gators have had at least two kickoff returns for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons after never having more than one in a single season before 2010.
» The Falcons are returning 20 total starters and feature a much more veteran roster overall than a year ago. However, Bowling Green still has the 10th-youngest roster in the country with 41.9 percent made up of freshmen.
» BGSU will be facing an SEC program for just the fourth time in school history. The game with UF was originally scheduled when Urban Meyer, a former head coach of the Falcons, was leading the Gators.
» Thirteen members of the Bowling Green roster are from the state of Florida, second-most of any state behind, of course, Ohio (44).
» Some college football rule changes for 2012: kickoffs moved up to the 35-yard line, touchbacks moved up to the 25-yard line, player losing his helmet in action results in halting participation immediately and sitting out one full play.
LAST TIME OUT
This is the first-ever meeting between Florida and Bowling Green on the gridiron.
Read the rest of the Florida-Bowling Green preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both sides of the field.
INJURIES AND ABSENCES*
» Active (2): Redshirt senior tight end Jordan Reed, junior defensive end Dominique Easley (ACL)
» Probable/Questionable (2): Freshman tackle D.J. Humphries (MCL), freshman defensive back Marcus Maye (knee)
» Inactive (8): Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (wrist), redshirt junior OT Matt Patchan (pectoral), redshirt freshman guard Tommy Jordan (shoulder), sophomore DB De’Ante Saunders (“hamstring”), junior Buck linebacker Ronald Powell (ACL), freshman TE Colin Thompson (foot), redshirt junior DE Kedric Johnson (knee), senior defensive lineman Nick Alajajian (knee)
* As of Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. (will be updated closer to the game).
PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
» Senior running back Mike Gillislee (#23)…who is now entrenched as the Gators’ starter, a role he has dreamed of since committing to the team four years ago. He registered career-highs in carries (11) and rushing yards (84) one season ago but is looking to perform at a much higher level now that he is set to get the ball more often.
» Sophomore quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett (#12) and Jeff Driskel (#6)…who are both competing for the starting job and will have the opportunity to showcase their talents by splitting snaps in the first half. Though they both had the chance to play as freshman and have split snaps 50-50 during the offseason, neither players has separated himself from the other up to this point.
» Junior Trey Burton (#8) and redshirt senior Omarius Hines (#20)…who are both expected to contribute as playmakers this season despite neither having a full-time position. Burton and Hines will both line up at running back, tight end and wide receiver with Burton also occasionally taking snaps from center and playing fullback as well. Burton has 16 career touchdowns despite never playing a full-time position, and Hines is hoping to have finally found an offensive coordinator who can utilize his talents.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Andre Debose (#4)…who has yet to put it all together on offense but is a dynamic kick returner for Florida. He did have consecutive games with 65-yard touchdown receptions in 2011 but finished the season with just 16 total receptions for 432 yards and four touchdowns. In the return game he has brought back 40 kickoffs for 1,082 yards and three touchdowns.
» Junior safety Matt Elam (#22)…who has grown into his role as a leader and may very well be the Gators’ most dynamic playmaker on defense. He has 100 career tackles (66 solo, 11.0 for loss) along with three sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and two interceptions already in his career.
» Linebackers senior Jon Bostic (#1) and redshirt junior Jelani Jenkins (#3)…who respectively play the Mike and Will positions. Bostic is the straw that stirs the drink for Florida and is looking to build on a solid resume that includes 169 tackles (110 solo, 12.5 for loss), 4.5 sacks, three interceptions and a forced fumble. Jenkins has had an equally impressive career already with 153 tackles (90 solo, 11.5 for loss), four sacks, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), and a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
» Juniors defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (#94) and defensive end Dominique Easley (#2)…who are back playing their natural positions after being swapped last season due to depth and personnel issues. Both players are five-star prospects who joined the Gators out of high school in 2010 as part of one of the best recruiting classes in school history. This season presents an opportunity for them to live up their hype and prove that their pre-college billing was accurate.
» Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis (#19)…who will be starting for Florida for the fourth-straight season. He was one of three kickers nationally to convert three or more field goals of 50+ yards in 2011 and was named as a finalist for the Lou Groza Award for a top-notch campaign that included him going 22-for-26 on field goals and a perfect 31-for-31 on extra points. Sturgis, who has already kicked three of the four longest field goals of all-time for the Gators, is just 22 made field goals away from passing Jeff Chandler’s 67 for most in school history.
» Junior QB Matt Schilz (#7)…who completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 3,024 yards with 28 touchdowns (second-most in school history) and 13 interceptions one season ago. Schilz is returning for his third-straight season as the team’s starter.
» Sophomore RB Anthon Samuel (#6)…who was third in the country in rushing for freshmen in 2011 and was named the MAC Freshman of the Year for his efforts. Samuel averaged 93.8 yards per game and eclipsed 100 yards in five of the nine games in which he played. He also scored five touchdowns.
» Senior DT Chris Jones (#91)…who led the MAC in sacks last season with 8.5 including three in one game at home against Temple. He also registered 14.0 tackles for loss. Jones now has 15.5 sacks in his career and is a major presence up the middle.
» Junior punter Brian Schmiedebusch (#95)…who was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award and earned First Team All-MAC recognition for averaging 45.3 yards per punt (long: 81).