Week 8: No. 1 Florida Gators at Miss. St. Bulldogs

By Adam Silverstein
October 24, 2009

Location: Davis Wade Stadium – Starkville, MS [Capacity: 55,082]
Time: 7:30 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: 52°F – Clear skies

TV: ESPN
Online: Live for FREE at ESPN 360.
Sirius: 121; XM: 141

Florida Gators Mississippi State Bulldogs
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Dan Mullen
Record: 6-0 (4-0) Record: 3-4 (1-2)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -22.5, O/U 49.5
Head-to-Head Stats: Gainesville Sun

KEEP AN EYE ON…
Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow…who is currently second all-time to former Georgia Bulldogs running back Herschel Walker in Southeastern Conference rushing touchdowns with 48. He needs one more to tie Walker’s record. Tebow has also thrown a touchdown pass in 32 of his 33 career starts.
– The UF secondary…which had its streak of grabbing an interception in 17 straight games snapped last week. It will be interesting to see if the unit, especially cornerback Janoris Jenkins, rebounds from last week.
– Florida’ Urban Meyer…who can become the first Gators head coach since Galen Hall in 1985 to win in Starkville.
Mississippi State Bulldogs running back Anthony Dixon…who set a new school record in career rushing yardage last week when he eclipsed 3,299 yards.
– Head coach Dan Mullen, offensive line coach John Hevesy, strength and conditioning coach Matt Balis and graduate assistant Angelo Mirando…all of whom previously worked for the Gators but are now on the Mississippi State coaching staff.
– Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez…who had career highs in receptions (seven) and yards (92) last week vs. Arkansas Razorbacks. He has led Florida in receptions four times this season.
– Florida kicker Caleb Sturgis…who made three of four field goals last Saturday including a 51-yarder and game-winning 27-yard shot with nine seconds left.

STREAKS:
– The Gators are in the middle of the longest winning streak in school history with 16 consecutive victories. They also hold the longest active winning streak in the NCAA and the longest in the SEC since the Auburn Tigers won 20 straight from 1993-94 .
– With a win Saturday, Florida will go 3-0 in the SEC West for the first time since 1998.
– Florida is on an 8-0 road game winning streak, dating back to 2007. Their two best played games this season – against the Kentucky Wildcats and LSU Tigers – were both on the road.
– Florida leads the all-time series vs. Mississippi State 32-18-2, though the Bulldogs lead the series at their home 7-3.
– The Gators lead the SEC in total offense (470.5), rushing offense (259.8), scoring offense (36.3) and third-down efficiency (.514).
– Florida has converted 48.6% of its offensive drives into points in 2009, best in the SEC.

Read OGGOA’s complete Florida vs. Mississippi State preview after the jump…


No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Preview

Scratching by with a close win last week, the No. 1 Florida Gators (6-0, 4-0) hit the road, traveling to Starkville, MS, to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-4, 1-2) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium. The game will air live on ESPN.

Florida senior quarterback Tim Tebow and sophomore kicker Caleb Sturgis led the Gators to victory on a 14-play, 69-yard drive that ended with a 27-yard field goal with only nine seconds left on the clock. While the win was marked with questions about officiating and the Gators inability to stop the Arkansas Razorbacks on defense, Florida went on to win their 16th straight game. This week, the Gators go into their contest against their former offensive coordinator and new Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen with a depleted defense (as many as three starters may be out) and concerns about the viability of an offense run by coordinator Steve Addazio.

Out for Saturday’s game are defensive end Justin Trattou (shoulder/bicep), wide receivers Carl Moore (back) and T.J. Lawrence (scoped knee), cornerbacks Moses Jenkins (concussion) and Jeremy Brown (back), linebacker Brendan Beal (neck) and safety Dorian Munroe (knee). Defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh (ankle) is doubtful for the game [he will not play], while his linemate Jaye Howard (knee bruise) is questionable, though many believe he will miss game action, too. Senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes (groin) is listed as questionable [most expect him to play], and DE Jermaine Cunningham (groin) is probable and a go.

Coach Mullen and the Bulldogs believe they have a plan to stop the Gators and were extremely confident toward the end of the week. Both went as far as to say that, if they played their game, victory was certainly a possibility against the BCS No. 1-ranked team in the nation. Mullen’s familiarity with the Gators is a concern, though both he and Tebow have said it is not that much of a factor in the grand scheme of things. Florida’s offensive signals were changed this week, and the Gators coaching staff will attempt to avoid falling into any trends that Mullen might recognize.

13 Comments

  1. Daniel M. says:

    It would be nice to see Tebow gain the TD record in Jacksonville. Give the bulldog shank a little twist.

  2. Brittany says:

    Daniel M, I’ve got to agree with you. I’m the only Gator fan in my family (they are all Bulldog fans) and I live in Georgia so if Tebow could break the record in Jacksonville it would give me some satisfaction.

  3. i predict it to be very close… but UF on top by like 14

  4. Michael says:

    Largest win streak in SEC history? I thought Alabama has 28 twice and 23 once, Tennessee has 23 once, Arkansas had 22 once, etc.

  5. Michael says:

    However, if we manage to roll through the season undefeated, there could be a VERY interesting game next year. If we roll through undefeated we will have a 24 game winning streak. Beat Miami (Oh), USF, Tennessee, and Kentucky at the beginning of 2010, we will have tied Alabama at 28. In order to break Alabama’s streak, we’d have to win our next game. . . . which is AT Alabama.

  6. Michael, you are correct. I meant to write that it was the longest winning streak in the SEC since 1993-94. Good eye.

  7. Michael says:

    Still speaks to how tough the SEC is that no one won 16 in a row in a decade and a half. Considering 16 is just one undefeated season with a win or two before or after, or a good second half and good first half like Florida’s, its amazing no one has done that in so long.

  8. FightinGator says:

    Fire Addazio

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  10. Lifetime Gator says:

    What has happened to our other receivers? Our offensive line? Our play calling? Why is Meyer not more upset?

  11. Lifetime Gator says:

    #1 recruiting goal…Receivers!

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