Duke Johnson and Miami look for a bit of a statement game this weekend against Florida. Photo: USA Today Sports
No. 12 Florida (1-0) at Miami, FL (1-0)
Saturday, Noon EST, ESPN
Line: Florida -3.0
For the first time since September of 2008, these two in-state rivals meet on the gridiron with both teams having high expectations for the season.
The Gators opened with a 24-6 win over the Rockets of Toledo and the Hurricanes beat FAU 34-6. This week, the competition ratchets up for both of these two teams.
Despite being in the dreaded "noon" timeslot, this is a game you will want to make sure you tune in to see.
For Florida to win: The Gators defense has to maintain control of this game, control the line of scrimmage and put the Hurricanes offense in difficult 'down and distance' situations. Last week against lowly FAU, the Hurricanes converted just 28.4% on third downs. Control the line of scrimmage and the Gators should walk away with a W.
For Miami to win: Make plays early with Duke Johnson and Stephen Morris and put the pressure on Florida's offense. Florida's offense is not built to come from behind and if Miami can get out to a lead then the Gators will be very uncomfortable.
Key Player (Florida): Loucheiz Purifoy is back from a one game suspension and is the type of player that can have an immediate impact for Florida. Not only is he a starting CB but he's also expected to see action at WR and on special teams. The Gators are in need of a play-maker on offense and Purifoy could provide a spark that this "vanilla" offense needs.
Key Player (Miami): RB Duke Johnson is a threat to take the ball the house everytime he touches it. Last week he had 19 carries for 186 yards and 1 TD and added 1 reception for 38 yards. He won't find things as easy this week but Johnson is one of the most electrifying players in the game and he could be the difference in this one.
Key Stat: These two teams have only played five times since 2000 with the Hurricanes holding a 4-1 edge. The Hurricanes have won six of the last seven although the Gators did win the last contest in 2008 by a score of 26-3.