Florida Gators football will open the 2015 season at home against the New Mexico State Aggies on Saturday evening. The Gators, which are looking for a resurgence under head coach Jim McElwain, will take on the Aggies for the second time, paying the visitors $1 million to travel across the country for the contest.
Here’s a look ahead at Saturday’s game, including not only how to watch the contests but what you need to know at the onset of Florida football’s 2015 campaign.
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather: 77°F (feels like 82°F), scattered thunderstorms (40%), winds ENE at 4 mph
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT
TV: SEC Network (Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer, Maria Taylor)
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter
Tale of the tape
|Florida Gators||New Mexico State Aggies|
|Head Coach: Jim McElwain||Head Coach: Doug Martin|
|Record: 0-0||Record: 0-0|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Sun Belt|
Odds and lines
Spread: Florida -34 | O/U: 54.5
In order for Florida to cover its massive spread, the Gators would have to win by a margin they’ve achieved six times over the last four seasons, twice in 2014 alone (65-0 vs. Eastern Michigan, 52-3 vs. Eastern Kentucky).
Considering the Aggies finished 116th nationally in total defense (483.3 yards per game) and 121st nationally in scoring defense (39.1 points per game) – and were at best a middle-of-the-road team offensively – the Gators have a great opportunity to beat the spread.
However, considering Florida’s defense is expected to be one of the nation’s best this season, UF may have to eclipse 55 points itself in order for the over to come in.
Injuries and absences
» Active (2): Linebacker Antonio Morrison (knee)
» Questionable (1): Defensive tackle Thomas Holley (hip)
» Doubtful (2): Safety Keanu Neal (hamstring), offensive tackle Martez Ivey (knee)
» Suspended (3): Defensive back Marcus Maye, defensive end Alex McCalister, wide receiver Latroy Pittman (violations of team rules)
For more on these injuries, click here.
The Gators will start sophomore Treon Harris at quarterback on Saturday, though McElwain noted that redshirt freshman Will Grier will see an equal amount of time in the game and have the same opportunity to impress in hopes of winning the starting job outright. For more on the quarterback situation, click here.
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) September 5, 2015
» Florida is 1-0 all-time against New Mexico State. The teams previously squared off in the opener for the 1994 season with UF prevailing 70-21.
» The Gators are 9-1 all-time against opponents out of the Sun Belt. UF was also scheduled to face a Sun Belt team (Idaho) to begin the 2014 campaign but the game was canceled due to weather.
» Florida has won 25 consecutive season openers, the second-longest active streak in the nation (Nebraska, 29) and longest active streak in the SEC by 12 games (Alabama, Missouri).
» UF is 81-27 all-time in season kick-off games, 66-7 in Gainesville and 51-4 in games played in The Swamp.
» The Gators have not played a season opener outside of Gainesville since 1989. They lost that contest 24-19 to Ole Miss.
» McElwain was 2-1 in kick-off games as head coach of Colorado State. If he wins Saturday, he would be the fourth straight UF coach to win his first game (Urban Meyer, Will Muschamp, D.J. Durkin).
» Florida in 2015 will face eight bowl teams, six ranked in the preseason AP Top 25.
» The Gators are 165-16 since 1990 against unranked opponents.
» Florida’s defense has been a hallmark of the program; it are 195-11 since 1990 when an opponent scores 21 points or fewer in a contest.
» The Gators held three teams to fewer than 150 total yards of offense in 2014, the only program to do so nationally last season.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC since 2000 (396).
» The Gators are tied for the nation’s longest streak of returning either a kickoff or punt for a touchdown, doing so in 10 straight seasons.
» Florida is one of only four teams nationally to play three or more consecutive games away from home in 2015 (Arkansas, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe).
» The Gators have the third-least experienced offensive line with its players combining for just 10 starts in 2014 (Toledo – 4, Florida State – 9).
» Florida has only four true senior scholarship players on its roster and six redshirt seniors (four of which are graduate transfers).
» The Gators have the nation’s third-best home winning percentage since 1990 (.849). UF is 64-7 against nonconference opponents and 109-10 against unranked teams in that span.
» Florida has the second-most wins in the nation since 1990 (239, Ohio State – 247).
Can't wait to see them gators play tomorrow!!! #gogators
— Jaylen Watkins (@jwat14) September 4, 2015
— Danny Wuerffel (@DannyWuerffel) September 4, 2015
— Sharrif Floyd (@sharriffloyd) September 3, 2015