With all the coaching rumors swirling around the University of Florida football program, it’s kind of hard to think about Saturday’s game. A lot of talk has been about the possibility of getting Chip Kelly as Florida’s head coach, but there is a game this weekend. The Florida Gators will host the UAB Blazers who have had a great season after having the program dismantled after the 2014 season. The Blazers are 7-3 and are already bowl eligible in their first season back. In the beginning of the season, this was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Gators. But Florida has been down all season and this could be a very close game.
The UAB Blazers led by head coach Bill Clark will come into Gainesville trying to earn their eighth win of the season. The Blazers offense has been solid all season thanks to their running back Spencer Brown. The true freshman running back has 207 carries for 1,177 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Blazers offense will rely on the ground game as they average over 200 rushing yards a game. The passing game isn’t as good as their run game, but they do have a solid wide receiver in Andrew Wilson. The redshirt junior out of Trinity Valley Community College has 43 receptions for 576 yards and six touchdowns.
On defense, the Blazers are not as strong. They average 24.9 points, 199.7 passing yards and 168 rushing yard allowed per game. Their defensive line has only 13 sacks this season. This will play into the Gators favor since they have their left guard and center out for the season. Redshirt senior Tevin Crews is UAB’s leading tackler with 78 tackles. He also have 11 tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception on the season. The secondary is where the Blazers defense thrives. The Blazers have twelve interceptions on the season. Redshirt senior cornerback Darious Williams led the team in interceptions with four picks including one pick-six.
The Florida Gators will look to snap their five game losing skid against the Blazers. The Florida Gators will have another change at quarterback as Feleipe Franks will be the starter again for the Gators. The Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire is listed as day-to-day due to his injury in the South Carolina game. The Florida offense will depend on their running back Lamical Perine. The sophomore back has carried the load for the Florida offense since Malik Davis was injured. Other running backs like Mark Thompson and Adarius Lemons will likely get a few carries to take some of the load off the star back. The Florida offense will also count on some of their receivers to have a big game. Tyrie Cleveland will lead the receivers as they hope Franks could connect a few deep balls with Cleveland. The ability to throw against a good Blazers’ defense might be the key to the game.
The Florida defense will be going up against a pretty solid Blazers offense that likes to run the ball. The defensive line needs to clog up rushing lanes and force UAB to beat them through the air. The Florida defense played okay last week against the Gamecocks. The defense forced three interceptions but they also allowed 28 points. David Reese could have a big day as the Gators will count on him to hold the rushing yards allowed to a minimum. The Florida secondary could also get a few interceptions. The freshman cornerback out of Columbus, C.J. Henderson, has had a great freshman season with four interceptions. Marco Wilson and Duke Dawson could have an opportunity to get some interceptions against a weak UAB passing offense.
5 Players to Watch: UAB Blazers
- RB Spencer Brown
- RB A.J. Erdely
- CB Darious Williams
- WR Andre Wilson
- LB Tevin Crews
5 Players to Watch: Florida Gators
- RB Lamical Perine
- LB David Reese
- CB C.J. Henderson
- P Johnny Townsend
- WR Tyrie Cleveland
- LB David Reese has 10+ tackles in the game.
- UAB rushes for at least one touchdown.
- QB Feleipe Franks throws 1-2 touchdown passes.
- LB Tevin Crews leads UAB in tackles.
- Florida Gators beats UAB Blazers 28-20
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