Location: Sun Life Stadium – Miami Gardens, FL [Capacity: 76,854]
Weather: 86°F (feels like 94°F), cloudy, isolated t-storms (30%), winds ENE at 6 mph
Time: 12:00 p.m. EDT
Tickets: Best deals on Florida Gators tickets starting at $152 on TiqIQ
TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch, Brian Griese and Tom Luginbill)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter (Limited)
|No. 9/12 FLORIDA GATORS||No. 24 MIAMI HURRICANES|
|Head Coach: Will Muschamp||Head Coach: Al Golden|
|Record: 1-0||Record: 1-0|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Atlantic Coast|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida -3.5 | O/U: 48
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Miami leads the all-time series against Florida 28-26, though the Gators actually have a 14-13 advantage going head-to-head with the Hurricanes in Miami, FL.
» Though Florida won the last meeting between the two schools in 2008, that victory snapped a six-game winning streak for Miami in the series.
» The Gators and Canes played annually from 1944-1987 but did not square off at all in the 1990s. On Saturday, they will be sharing the field for the sixth time this century.
» Florida hopes to open the season 2-0 for the ninth-straight year.
» UM has not played a team from the SEC since facing UF in 2008.
» Florida was 4-2 against ranked opponents in 2012, posting a 164-133 scoring margin in those games. Miami, on the other hand, was 0-3 against ranked teams last season and got outscored 36-126 in those contests.
» The Gators are 13-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards (1-5 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards). Florida is also 15-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 11-2 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 13-3 when scoring first (6-5 when an opponent scores first) and 15-1 when leading at the half (4-7 when tied or trailing at the break).
» The Hurricanes are 11-2 under Golden when scoring 30+ points.
» UF still leads the nation in interceptions (97), interception return yards (1,703) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (16) since 2008.
» Florida had two touchdown drives of 80+ yards against Toledo, the first time that’s happened in the same game since Nov. 5, 2011.
» Miami has amassed 500+ yards of offense in three-straight games along with a combined 126 points and average margin of victory of 22.0 points.
» The Gators’ defense held the Rockets to six points last week, the sixth time the team has held an opponent without a touchdown under Muschamp.
» The Canes have gone three games without allowing an opponent to score a touchdown on their home field. In those 160:39 minutes, Miami has only given up six field goals and 18 total points.
» Florida has forced at least one turnover in 12-straight games.
» The Gators have forced the most interceptions among SEC teams this century (349).
» UM will be making its 74th appearance on ESPN, second-most in the history of the network (Auburn – 75).
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar (Miami, FL), redshirt junior safety Cody Riggs (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and junior cornerback Marcus Roberson (Fort Lauderdale, FL) are all South Florida natives named captains for Saturday’s game.
» Others playing in front of their friends and family include senior linebacker Darrin Kitchens (Homestead, FL), junior S Jabari Gorman (Miami, FL), junior tight end Tevin Westbrook (Coconut Creek, FL), redshirt freshman defensive lineman Bryan Cox, Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, FL), freshman running back Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) and freshman offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (Delray Beach, FL).
Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!
LAST TIME OUT
The Gators were a heavy favorite the last time they squared off with the Canes both in the game (-22 betting line) and to go on and win the national championship that season. Florida’s first major test of the 2008 campaign was a hungry Miami team that took offense to comments made by wide receiver Louis Murphy, who said UF was the “new U” during a media availability the week leading into the contest.
Despite the pre-game theatrics, the Gators proved to be the better team that Saturday. Though Florida only led 9-3 at the half thanks to a first quarter touchdown and late second-quarter safety, the Gators poured it on the Hurricanes in the fourth quarter. Percy Harvin ran for a two-yard score at the conclusion of a 12-play, 86-yard drive, and Murphy followed on Florida’s ensuing possession with a 19-yard touchdown catch that ended a five-play, 95-yard scoring drive.
UF’s defense held UM to a three-and-out on Miami’s final possession of the game, but a 31-yard punt return by running back Brandon James gave Florida the ball at the Canes’ 16-yard line. Rather than run out the clock and turn the ball over on downs by taking a knee, head coach Urban Meyer decided to kick a field goal that put the Gators ahead 26-3. The score happened to put UF over the 22-point spread.
Miami head coach Randy Shannon was incensed, purposely ignoring Meyer during the ritualistic post-game handshake and insinuating after the game that the lack of class Meyer showed would help UM in recruiting and be to UF’s detriment in the long run. The Gators went on to win the 2008 national championship. Florida also finished ahead of Miami in the 2009 and 2010 recruiting rankings, and Shannon was fired by the Canes following the 2010 regular season.
ON THIS DATE…IN 1985
Exactly 28 years ago was the last time Florida beat Miami on its home field. The Gators picked up a 35-23 victory against the Hurricanes in what would be the third-to-last game of the annual series. Trailing in the fourth quarter of the season opener for both teams, UF came from behind and rallied to score 15 points in the final 15 minutes on its way to handing UM its only defeat of the regular season. Following the loss to Florida in 1985, Miami would go on to win six-straight games against from 1986-2004 before the Orange and Blue finally broke its losing streak in 2008.
INJURIES AND ABSENCES*
» Active (7): Sophomore running back Matt Jones (viral infection), sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries (MCL), junior fullback Hunter Joyer (hamstring) | Back from suspension: Sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison, junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, senior defensive tackle Darious Cummings, redshirt freshman offensive lineman Quinteze Williams
» Injured (4): Redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio (pectoral), redshirt senior wide receiver Andre Debose (ACL – season), redshirt junior right tackle Chaz Green (labrum – season), freshman LB Matt Rolin (ACL – season)
» Suspended (1): Sophomore wide receiver Latroy Pittman
* As of Friday at 9 p.m.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
UF took care of business, as expected, against an overmatched Toledo but now faces a tough opponent during the second week of the season for the second-straight year. Florida put together a quality performance against Texas A&M in 2012, limiting the Aggies explosive offense in the second half and running the ball down their opponent’s throats. The Gators will likely have to do the same thing this season as UM will be motivated to move the ball offensively with star running back Duke Johnson and talented signal caller Stephen Morrison. Florida must dominate the line of scrimmage on Saturday to enter the Southeastern Conference slate with a 2-0 record otherwise a loss against Miami could be incredibly costly as the season progresses.
History is also at stake here as the Gators certainly hope to end the in-state rivalry – at least for the foreseeable future – with consecutive victories. Florida has not won back-to-back games in the series since 1982-83
The Hurricanes are still trying to climb out of a nearly decade-long hole of mediocrity, and a win over the Gators would be a big first step out of that grave. Unlike Florida, Miami’s defense is suspect, which means the Canes will need to be efficient and effective on offense in order to give the Gators a fight on Saturday. Johnson has found success running the ball as of late but has not done it against top-tier rushing defenses. Morris will be going up against arguably the best secondary in the nation.
Miami loves to boast about its advantage over Florida in the head-to-head series. While the Canes would still hold a one-game lead with a loss, a victory would give Miami bragging rights for a long, long time. The Hurricanes have oversold the stadium, loaded the stands with recruits and high school coaches, and planned a “white out” for the Gators. It better all be worth it in the long run.