The Florida Gators (1-0) take on their second in-state opponent of this young season as they travel to Tampa to take on the USF Bulls (0-1).
By Steve Wright
Here is a look at the three keys as the Gators look to come home with a win and move up the national rankings:
Run the ball
The Gators cruised past the FAU Owls last week after a hot start that saw them jump ahead 14-0 by the end of the first quarter. The passing game behind the arm of quarterback Emory Jones was never really anything better than ok, but the rushing game was unreal. The Gators rolled for over 400 yards on the ground – backup quarterback Anthony Richardson accounting for 160 of those on seven carries – and the offensive line looked utterly dominant when run blocking. More of that will result in a win over the Bulls.
Start hot again
The Bulls are in the middle of a rebuild under second-year head coach Jeff Scott and they should be less of a challenge than FAU was last week (even on the road). They were smashed by NC State 45-0 in the opener and the Wolfpack had things locked up by halftime when they led 24-0. Working on the passing game will be important early – Jones needs to find some sharpness in what should be little more than another tune-up – and getting the important starters some work before letting the backups ride out the contest in the second half should be the goal.
The only way that USF will stay in this past the half is if Florida lets them. Zero turnovers should be the goal – along with low single-digit penalties – though it will be important for the players to focus and not look ahead. The Gators host Alabama next week in the biggest conference matchup of the season so far, so playing mistake-free football is vital as it will set a trend that needs to continue against the Crimson Tide machine.