The 2020 Cotton Bowl Classic Preview

2020 Cotton Bowl

The Florida Gators will play in their 2020 Cotton Bowl for the first time in program history. Florida will take on the Big 12 Conference Champion Oklahoma Sooners. This will be the second time the Gators have played against the Oklahoma Sooners.

The only other time Florida played Oklahoma was in the 2008 National Championship as the Tim Tebow led Gators defeated the Sam Bradford led Sooners 24-14. Bradford had won the Heisman Trophy over Tebow during that season.

While Oklahoma won their conference championship, the Florida Gators are coming off a conference championship loss. Florida battled against Alabama but lost 52-46 in the SEC Championship.

Oklahoma Sooners

The Oklahoma Sooners head into the 2020 Cotton Bowl just falling short of their fourth consecutive College Football Playoff appearance. Oklahoma will be led by their head coach, Lincoln Riley, who’s in his fourth season as the Sooners head coach.

The Oklahoma offense will also be led by their redshirt-freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler. The Arizona native has really impressed since starting off slow for the Sooners. Rattler has completed 68% of his passes for 2,784 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Senior running back Rhamondre Stevenson is the led rusher for the Sooners. Stevenson has rushed for 479 yards on 83 carries and six touchdowns. T.J. Pledger has also ran the ball well as he’s rushed for 451 yards on 95 carries and five touchdowns.

Freshman wide receiver Marvin Mims has had an outstanding season and is Oklahoma’s leading receiver. Mims has 36 receptions for 583 yards and eight touchdowns. Sophomore wide out Theo Wease has also played very well for the Sooner. Wease has 36 catches for 494 yards and three touchdowns.

On defense, the Oklahoma Sooner have improved but will be missing one of their top players. Junior cornerback Tre Brown has opted out of the Bowl and has also declared for the NFL Draft. Redshirt-sophomore linebacker Brian Asamoah is the lead tackler for Oklahoma with 59 tackles.

Asamoah also has 32 solos tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and five QB hurries. Linebacker Nik Bonitto is arguably Oklahoma’s best defensive player. The South Floridian has 29 tackles on the season with 10 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and 10 QB hurries. Another defensive back to watch for Bradley Radley-Hiles.

Florida Gators

Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators look to snap their two-game losing streak with a Cotton Bowl victory. During the Dan Mullen era at Florida, the Gators are 2-0 in bowl games and both have been in New Year’s Six Bowl games.

The Florida offense will be led by their redshirt-senior quarterback and Heisman finalist Kyle Trask. The Texas gunslinger has had an incredible 2020 season with the Gators. Trask has completed 69.7% of his passes for 4,125 yards, 43 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Junior running back Dameon Pierce is the lead rusher for the Gators. Pierce has rushed for 443 yards on 95 carries and four touchdowns. Trask has also rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns.

The Florida passing attack has been incredible but they will be without their star tight end. Kyle Pitts declared for the 2021 NFL Draft and also opted out of the Cotton Bowl. Pitts played a huge role in Florida’s offense but they still have other weapons.

Senior wide receiver Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes have had career seasons. Toney is Florida’s lead receiver with 70 receptions for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns. Grimes has 38 catches for 589 yards and nine touchdowns.

The Florida defense has been terrible for most of the season has cost the Gators in big moments. However, there are some bright spots in what has been a rough 2020 season for the defense.

Redshirt-junior linebacker Ventrell Miller is one of the top defensive players and leaders. Miller has recorded 88 tackles including 52 solo tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Defensive end Zachary Carter leads the Gators in sacks with five. He also has 35 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery touchdown.

Five Players to Watch: Oklahoma Sooners

  1. QB Spencer Rattler
  2. LB Nik Bonitto
  3. WR Marvin Mims
  4. CB Bradley Radley-Hiles
  5. RB Rhamondre Stevenson

Five Players to Watch: Florida Gators

  1. QB Kyle Trask
  2. LB Ventrell Miller
  3. WR Kadarius Toney
  4. DE Zachary Carter
  5. RB Dameon Pierce

Five Predictions:

  1. Kyle Trask throws for over 325 yards and four touchdowns.
  2. Spencer Rattler throws for over 300 yards and three touchdown.
  3. Florida’s defense records at least two sacks.
  4. Nik Bonitto records at least 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
  5. Florida Gators beats Oklahoma Sooners 38-31.