The last time the Gators defeated the Crimson Tide was back in 2008 in the SEC Championship. Florida would eventually go on to win the national championship. Tomorrow in Tuscaloosa, the Gators are two-touchdown underdogs, according to Vegasinsider.com, but that shouldn’t scare Gators fans. Florida can win if they complete these three keys to victory:
Shut down Amari Cooper. Vernon Hargreaves vs. Amari Cooper. Who will win arguably the best matchup of the college football season? It’s going to be critical. Hargreaves is a lockdown cornerback, but Cooper is also the best receiver in the nation. It’s going to be a huge test for the sophomore corner. Hargreaves leads the nation with 2.5 passes defended per game and Cooper comes in to the game leading the nation with 33 receptions. Outside of Cooper, the Crimson Tide don’t have someone on the same level as his skill set. We’ve seen Blake Sims not be so accurate with the football this season. Take away his safety blanket and the Gators have a shot to win.
Driskel needs to take advantage of Alabama’s secondary. Going back to last season against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl and West Virginia to open this season, Alabama has given up 713 yards through the air to Trevor Knight and Clint Trickett, respectively. Those guys have less experience and expectations as Driskel does. Florida now has a go-to receiver, which has been a huge problem in years past for the Gators. It also helps that Oklahoma and West Virginia ran the same up-tempo offense that Florida will run. The Tide has shown weakness with being able to slow down the up-tempo offense. If Driskel can air it out and connect with Robinson, it could be a long day for the Tide.
Create turnovers and capitalize on them. In Muschamp’s tenure with the Gators, Florida is 12-2 against power-5 schools when it has a positive turnover margin. When the Gators have a negative margin? 2-13. Winning the turnover battle is extremely important for Florida especially against a team who doesn’t cause turnovers themselves. Through three games for the Tide, they have forced one fumble and that’s it. Florida has caused eight turnovers through two games. The Gators need to hold on to the ball and continue to force their opponents into mistakes. That means rushing an inexperienced Blake Sims from all angles. Sims isn’t the greatest quarterback and he doesn’t have the best of arms. If Florida can cause some turnovers and have them lead to good field position, this will be a ball game.
(All stats from cfbstats.com)
Florida and Alabama kickoff tomorrow from Tuscaloosa at 3:30 ET. If you can’t make it to the game, you can watch it on CBS.