Sunshine State rivals collide in week two of the 2013 college football season as the Florida-Miami series resumes after a 5 year hiatus, with the 12th ranked Gators (1-0) of the SEC take on the 24th ranked Hurricanes (1-0) out of the ACC at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, FL at 12:00pm ET. The most recent meeting between the two teams was won 26-3 by the gators in Gainesville in a game in which the Hurricanes 6 game winning streak in the series was snapped. Miami has a 28-26 edge in the series all-time. The Gators opened the year with a 24-6 win over Toledo, limiting a Rockets team that averaged 445.2 yards of total offense last season to 205 yards and a 1 for 13 3rd down conversion rate. The Hurricanes got their season off to an excellent start as well, with a 34-6 win over Florida Atlantic. Both teams have high expectations as Miami has their sights set on an ACC title and BCS bowl berth and the Gators look to contend for the SEC crown.
The Gators used a strong ground attack to hammer away at a tough Rockets team in the opener. Florida posted 262 yards rushing on 5.5 yards per carry. Running back Mack Brown led the way with 112 yards, scoring 2 touchdowns in the game. Florida will have sophomore running back Matt Jones, who missed the last month while recovering from a viral infection, back against Miami. Senior quarterback Jeff Driskel was 17 for 22 for 153 yards and 1 TD. The Gators also have linebacker Antonio Morrison returning from suspension and the sophomore is expected to improve on his 34 tackle, 1 sack debut season last year. Their defensive line is one of the nation’s best, and cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Robertson rank among the best in college football.
Miami tailback Duke Johnson followed up a strong freshman season last year with a career-high 186 yards and 1 TD with 9.8 YPC last week against FAU as the ‘Canes racked up 503 yards of total offense and 303 yards rushing (8.0 YPC). QB Stephen Morris had a quiet day, passing for 160 yards and 1 TD while connecting on 15 of 27 attempts. The defense limited the Owls to just 250 total yards, including just 117 yards passing.
Florida vs. Miami Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Florida Gators -3
@Miami Hurricanes +3
Over 54 (-110)
Under 54 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Florida vs. Miami Pick
The Gators are 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games in September and the Hurricanes are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
Both teams have been inconsistent in the passing game, but Florida has a strong offensive line and they should have a decided advantage against an inexperienced Hurricane defensive front. This combined with the return of Jones to form a solid 1-2 punch with Brown should allow the Gators to pound the ball and control the pace of the game in the stifling South Florida heat. Driskel should also be able to have some success against a Miami secondary that ranked 102nd last year against the pass. Morris will not be as fortunate against a dominant Florida defense.
Miami has a strong running game as well, but their passing game will struggle against the speed of the Gators and render them somewhat one-dimensional in this game. If Morris is not on top of his game, the Gators can crowd the line of scrimmage and use their superior athletes to load up on stopping the running game and Duke Johnson in particular. The Florida defense is simply too strong for Miami to have a realistic chance in this game, aside from Johnson the ‘Canes do not have the type of playmakers to attack the Florida defense and the offensive line, while dominant last week, will not be able to win the battle up front this week against a Florida d-line that has power and speed with Dominique Easley and Ronald Powell among others. Take the Gators to cover in this game.