No.7 Florida Gators at No.1 Alabama Crimson Tide

By Adam Silverstein
October 1, 2010

Location: Bryant–Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, AL [Capacity: 101,821]
Weather Forecast: 67°F, clear skies
Time: 8:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
Sirius/XM: 122/143
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 7 FLORIDA GATORS No. 1 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Nick Saban
Record: 4-0 (2-0) Record: 4-0 (1-0)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Alabama -8; O/U 48

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida has won 24 consecutive regular season games, 13-straight road games and 16 regular season SEC games in a row. Combined with Alabama, the duo have combined to win 52-straight regular season games. The teams have also won three of the last four national titles and have two of the last three Heisman Trophy winners.
» UA is 21-14 all-time against UF, holding a 6-5 lead in the series at Tuscaloosa. The Gators and Crimson Tide are an even 8-8 in the state of Alabama and have split the last two SEC Championship games with Florida winning in 2008.
» The Gators are 4-10-2 against defending national champions all-time, 3-2-1 since 1990, 4-6 when the team is from the SEC (3-0 since 1993). Florida is also 3-7 against Associated Press No. 1-ranked teams all-time and 2-1 in those contests under Meyer.
» The Gators lead the nation with 12 interceptions through three games. Their +8 turnover margin is tied for fourth in the country.
» For the third time in four games this season, Florida got a defensive touchdown via an interception return against Kentucky. UF has recorded at least two interceptions in every game this year, four coming from outside the secondary.
» Alabama (11.3) and Florida (12.8) are ranked first and second in the SEC (second and fourth, respectively, in the nation) in fewest points allowed per game since 2009.
» The Gators have the best red zone touchdown percentage in the SEC since 2007 (156/226 – 69%) and have the best red zone scoring defense in the nation (59/82 – 72%) in that same time period.
» Florida has gone 14-for-14 in the red zone over the last two games with 13 touchdowns and a field goal. The Gators’ red zone efficiency is 89.5 percent on the season including 16 touchdowns and one field goal.
» UF has scored 30+ points in five straight games, the longest active streak in the SEC.
» Florida has committed a nation-low 87 turnovers since 2005 and has had 24 games in which they did not give up a single turnover (best in the nation). Alabama is ranked third in the nation, only having given up 90 turnovers in the same time span.
» The Crimson Tide’s defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 38-straight games.
» Gators redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan attended Armwood High School (Tampa, FL) with the Crimson Tide’s Petey Smith.
» Florida redshirt senior left tackle Marcus Gilbert and freshman wide receiver Solomon Patton both attended St. Thomas Aquinas high school (Fort Lauderdale, FL) along with Alabama’s Nick Williams.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who threw 156 consecutive passes without an interception and has a 16-2 TD/INT ratio while playing for the Gators. He set career-highs in completions (24), attempts (35) and yards (248) vs. Kentucky.
» Freshman QB Trey Burton…who set a school record and SEC freshman record by scoring six touchdowns in a single game last week. Burton has eight scores on the season and has been working extensively out of the Wildcat formation while also playing H-back, WR, tight end, fullback and special teams.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who has led the Gators in rushing in every game this season with totals of 98, 139, 73 and 57 yards. He ran the ball a career-high 26 times two weeks ago against Tennessee and left the Kentucky game early with a sprained foot. Demps is also No. 2 in the SEC with a 32.5-yard kick return average.
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson…who set a career-high in yardage (86) for the second time this season last week. As Brantley’s primary pass catcher, 16 of Thompson’s 18 catches this season have been for first downs.
» Redshirt senior WR Carl Moore…who is improving each week. After catching two first downs against Tennessee, Moore notched four more on four catches against Kentucky.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted eight balls this season. Senior safety Ahmad Black (three), redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (three) and junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins (two) and are leading the way for the unit. Brown returned one for a touchdown last week, and Black is tops on the team with 30 tackles on the year while also being the conference’s active leader in interceptions (11) and interception return yards (233). Jenkins leads the SEC with seven passes defended.
» Sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic…who has nabbed three interceptions in four games (all in UF territory) and been a tackling machine (20 in the last three contests).
» Senior punter Chas Henry…who has not only been Florida’s most valuable special teams player but will also be handling all kicking duties for the Gators for the foreseeable future with junior kicker Caleb Sturgis out of action.
» Redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard…who had one of the best games of his career against Kentucky and will pay tribute to deceased walk-on defender Lamar Abel by wearing his No. 62 jersey.

» Alabama’s “Start Fast – Finish Strong”…which is a motto held by the team that has been utilized extensively this year. The Crimson Tide have a 56-16 edge in the first quarter and a 31-3 advantage against opponents in the fourth quarter this season.
» Crimson Tide RB Mark Ingram…who has 12 100-yard performances in his career and is second on his team with 33 carries for 308 yards and four touchdowns after missing the first two games of the season.
» Alabama RB Trent Richardson…who leads his team with 47 carries for 356 yards and four touchdowns.
» Crimson Tide WR Julio Jones…who leads his unit in receptions (20), yards (303) and touchdowns (2). The team has three receivers with double-digit catches this season.
» Alabama QB Greg McElroy…who has yet to lose a game as a starter in college (18-0) and is 34-0 dating back to his senior year of high school. McElroy has not lost a game since the 8th grade. He has thrown 70.9 percent of his passes for completions this year with 899 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
» Crimson Tide S Robert Lester…who leads the SEC with four interceptions.

INJURIES and INACTIVES
Injuries
Game-time decision – Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot)
Out – Redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan

Inactives
(Will update closer to game time)

FLORIDA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

The Gators are set to be heavily featured in during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast beginning at 9 a.m. on ESPNU (hosted by Erin Andrews) and continuing from 10 a.m. until noon on ESPN. Even though the “World Wide Leader in Sports” did not choose to host the event in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Florida and Alabama will be given an entire segment during the main program. There will be a “rivalry revisited” look at the recent history between the two teams and how the series has played out over the last few years, columnist Pat Forde will take a look at the game, and Desmond Howard, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will talk about UF’s defense. The Crimson Tide will also receive a feature on McElroy, while the Gators get one on Burton. Chris Fowler, Herbstreit and Corso will conclude by discussing the Gators’ chances of an upset while making picks at the end of the show. [Notes in this section are as of press time.]

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators at Alabama Crimson Tide preview after the jump!

No. 7/7 Florida Gators at No. 1/1 Alabama Crimson Tide Preview

In a rubber match of the last two Southeastern Conference Championship games, the No. 7/7 Florida Gators (4-0, 2-0 SEC) travel to Tuscaloosa, AL, to take on the No. 1/1 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0 SEC) at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

With Florida and Alabama splitting the last two conference titles and each going on to win a national championship that season, the early tilt between these two teams appears to be without much consequence, especially when you consider both could wind up facing each other in the 2010 SEC Championship regardless of who wins or loses.

However, both the Gators and the Crimson Tide are bringing a number of records into this contest including a combined 52-game regular season winning streak.

Alabama’s effort will be led by its two-pronged rushing attack of Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, two of the best rushers in the nation who happen to be sharing a single backfield. Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy does not provide any relief via the air, as he has never lost as a starter in college and is passing at a 70.9 percent clip this season.

Florida plans to match UA’s offensive output with a game breaker of their own, junior RB Jeff Demps. Unfortunately for the Gators, Demps re-injured a sprained foot last week against Kentucky and has been termed a “game-time decision” who is still more than likely to play. Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley had the best start of his career just seven days ago having developed a nice rapport with his primary pass catchers in wide receivers redshirt junior Deonte Thompson and redshirt senior Carl Moore.

Putting a wrench into the defensive game plan for Alabama head coach Nick Saban is the emergence of Florida freshman QB Trey Burton, who scored a school-record six touchdowns just one week ago. Burton is used in a variety of positions on the field including QB, WR, tight end, half back and even on special teams, something that could pose a problem for Saban’s talented but young unit. The Gators may also expand the presence of redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose, a five-star recruit who saw his first meaningful action on Saturday and was unstoppable in the first quarter.

Nevertheless, Saban’s defense is stout. It leads the country in fewest points against (9.8) though it was exposed slightly against No. 10 Arkansas on the road last week. Crimson Tide safety Robert Lester leads the SEC with four interceptions, and the front seven can cause problems for any offensive line including a senior unit like Florida’s.

The Gators hope to stop the Tide’s playmakers by utilizing a “heavy” package with senior defensive end Duke Lemmens playing some linebacker. Florida leads the nation with 12 interceptions including eight by the secondary, which is highlighted by senior S Ahmad Black (three), junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins (two) and redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (three). Three of the other four picks come courtesy of sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic, who has also been one of the Gators’ most consistent tacklers this season.

As reported by OGGOA on Saturday, Florida’s special teams suffered a major loss with junior kicker Caleb Sturgis being ruled out for the game after aggravating a back injury in the form of a stress fracture of the lumbar spine. Sturgis, who was 2-for-4 on field goal attempts this season, will miss six-to-eight weeks of action while senior punter Chas Henry handles field goals and extra points for the Gators.

Catch Florida’s fifth game of the season live on television on CBS, online at CBSSports.com, via the radio or through OGGOA‘s live updates on Twitter.

27 Comments

  1. Mr2Bits says:

    Ohhhh, its 6:30AM and I can’t sleep just thinking about this game. The underdog side is still playing out nicely which has me salivating. Everyone on ESPN is making this game sound like we shouldn’t even make the trip and should just take our loss now. Michael Smith is the only one who can see through all this in that a team that gets so built up, falls the hardest, just look at us last year at the SEC game.

    My prediction….who the hell has ever even seen a red Elephant? Annoying pom-poms, southern swoosh’s and frat tards dressed in ties in September at a football game go down today……UF 27- Bama 20

  2. John S says:

    Tough one, but I think if we put up 30 points we’ll win. The Tide defense is not what it was, I think we’re a better team defensively. Hopefully McElroy doesn’t have the game of his life again. Funny that Trey Burton has as many touchdowns as Ingram and Richardson combined. Please Addazio, be less predictable and keep your foot on the gas, and I will take back every negative thing I’ve said.

    Come on Gators, Bow-up!

  3. Gatorbuc15 says:

    I’m gonna be an optimist and say that the Gators win this game.
    Florida-24 Alabama-21

    Go Gators! Roll back the Tide!

  4. Luke says:

    This has really been the game I’ve thought we’d lose all season and maybe have trouble vs. USC. Earlier in the year I called Bama 27-17, but because I’m blinded by the Orange and Blue, I’m going to have to go with UF 35-17. Yeah, I know, I’m optimistic…

  5. goldeneaglejav says:

    minor error, i think you mentioned the wrong player, Solomon Patton attended Murphy High School in Alabama, not St.Thomas Aquinas (History and Streaks).

    Otherwise, great article Adam. Thanks!

  6. Jazlet says:

    I thought Solomon Patton went to Murphy in AL not St. Thomas Aquinas. Riggs went to St. Thomas Aquinas.

  7. Mr2Bits says:

    So my guess is that we are saving our good play book for next week against LSU as we look like dog crap! AD4 will have his coming out party next weekend, this weekend were conceding to win the LSU game and hopefully Atlanta.

  8. Luke says:

    Let’s keep Brantley running the option. Either he becomes a true run threat or we take Bama by surprise….

  9. brlgator says:

    Has an offensive coordinator ever been relieved of his duties at halftime?

  10. Mr2Bits says:

    The way things are going I hope we can see Bama’s 2nd and 3rd stringers to get some game tape on if we make it to Atlanta!

    Adam,
    Definitely not just the D. Sure we haven’t been able to stop them but our offense looks like they are using the play book from last year. Option plays with Brantley, sorry ass draw plays being down by 24. Whoever Donna Kerrigan’d Addazzio last week and called the game needs to come back. Let’s gets the Zooker on the phone as he called a good game against TheOSU today!

    All I’m saying is that at least we got 3 points last time we were there…..nuff said!

  11. liveoak87 says:

    Did anyone give steve addazio the memo that tebow is no longer on the team? Urban should send him to the booth were he belongs!

  12. John S says:

    I guess when you’re in Tusculoosa you can grab a receivers arms a second before the ball gets there. Burton had a TD, that the replay officials missed. Granted that doesn’t explain the defense, but we got one stop. In the real world its 24 to 10. Come on guys lets get a TD to start the second half.

    Man Bama knows what we’re going to do. We need their scouts. Predictability matters.

  13. Luke says:

    Is Bama just THAT good or are we playing flat? The first drive was beautiful, but now it’s looking like a fluke…

  14. zach says:

    Yeah the D id playing like crap but the play calling on offense is HORRIBLE. Moody is a waste of space. Let JB throw the damn ball down the field.

  15. brlgator says:

    Defense has had two short fields. And the offense is not gicing them a break. Play calling sucks and no pressure on mcilroy

  16. Jeff says:

    Alabama is a superior team. It’s that simple

  17. Jeff says:

    fyi, i love the gators as much as anybody on here. Watching the playcalling, execution, athleticism… we’re just steps behind. 43 underclassmen of the 70 on the travel squad. Remember that!

  18. brlgator says:

    2 trips inside the ten. 3pts. Addazio must go

  19. Mr2Bits says:

    There ya go. Another well put together drive stalled by the same goal line package Adazzio put together on the opening drive…..if I didn’t expect this I would be livid right now.

  20. John S says:

    Alabama knows that Addazio is a P…..

  21. dp says:

    If I see another f’ing dive called…I’m going looking for Addazio myself. Can we please demote this moron from his OC job…he is awful!

  22. Mr2Bits says:

    Glad to see on goal and 1 Adazzio still has not run the QB sneak. He will run Brant’s on an option play but not a freaking sneak? Of anything good to come out of this game I hope that it’s Adazzio is out of a job!

  23. John S says:

    The biggest problem with Addazio isn’t the play calling (which is predictable), it’s the poor play of the line. Pouncey may be a great gaurd or tackle but he’s the worst center in the league. Maybe he’s the best option, but he is not ready to be a center.

  24. Luke says:

    Some of the play calling is garbage (how many dive plays will get blown up before we do something else?), but it’s really an execution problem. We are over matched tonight…

  25. John S says:

    That is now 2 TD’s that we haven’t gotten credit for.

  26. 305gator says:

    get rid of the dive its not faking anyone out…..saw brantley injured on the floor for a minute—he hurt his pride. lets pick it up and play better next week

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