The Florida Gators are back in the Swamp for a primetime matchup versus the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama, as usual, starts their 2021 season 2-0 with lopsided victories against Miami and Mercer. The Gators are also 2-0 on the season with wins against the FAU Owls and the USF Bulls.
The last time Florida played against Alabama was in the 2020 SEC Championship Game. The Crimson Tide defeats the Gators in a 52-46 shootout as Alabama went on to win another National Championship.
Since the SEC Championship, both teams have a lot of new faces on their respective rosters. Both teams will also have two different starting quarterbacks compared to the 2020 SEC Championship that featured four Heisman finalists.
Alabama Crimson Tide
The Alabama Crimson Tide come into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for their first true road game of the season. The Crimson Tide will be led by their head coach, Nick Saban, who’s in his fifteenth season as Alabama’s head football coach.
Alabama’s offense will be led by sophomore quarterback Bryce Young. The former #1 dual-threat quarterback is off to a stellar start in his second season at Alabama. Young has completed 70.8% of his passes for 571 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions.
Redshirt-senior running back Brian Robinson Jr. currently leads the Crimson Tide in rushing. Robinson has 130 yards on 44 carries and a touchdown. Redshirt-sophomore Trey Sanders has also run the ball well with 71 yards on 15 carries and a score.
In the receiving department, Ohio State transfer Jameson Williams has been Alabama’s top target. Williams has seven receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide receiver John Metchie has also made an impact for the Tide this season with eleven catches for 146 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Alabama continues to have one of the top defenses in the country with a very strong front seven. Junior linebacker Christian Harris leads the Crimson Tide in tackles with thirteen. He also has three tackles for loss, a sack, and six solo tackles.
Fifth-year senior defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis leads Alabama in sacks with two along with eight tackles, two tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery. Two other Alabama defensive players to watch for are defensive end Will Anderson and safety Daniel Wright.
Florida Gators offense
The Florida Gators will try to shock the college football world as they look to upset the Alabama Crimson Tide. It also seems like Florida will continue to roll with its two-quarterback system for the time being.
Redshirt-junior quarterback Emory Jones will get his third career start and needs to have a great performance if he wants to keep Florida in this game. Jones has really struggled so far this season but redshirt-freshman Anthony Richardson has been lightning in a bottle for Florida’s offense.
Richardson played a perfect game last weekend against USF as he completed all three passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for over 100 yards including an 80-yard rushing score. If Richardson’s hamstring is healthy, Mullen will certainly get him on the field early and often.
The Florida ground game has been incredible through the first two games of the season. While the quarterbacks have run the ball well, their running backs are also doing a very nice job. Senior running backs Dameon Pierce already has three touchdowns this season and Malik Davis has rushed for 126 yards and a score.
Florida’s top receiver so far this season has been wideout Jacob Copeland. The junior receiver had a career game against USF as he caught had five receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
Florida Gators defense
The Florida defense will have their toughest test this season against the prolific Alabama offense. The Gators will need their front seven to put some pressure and also slow down the run if they want to keep this game close.
Strong-side defensive end Zachary Carter has shined the most for the Gators defense this season. Carter has seven tackles to start the season with 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. Cornerback Kaiir Elam is Florida’s best defensive back and is one of the top cornerbacks in the country. He already has an interception this season as he excelled in coverage.
Five Players to Watch: Alabama Crimson Tide
- QB Bryce Young
- DE Will Anderson
- WR John Metchie
- LB Christian Harris
- RB Brian Robinson Jr.
Five Players to Watch: Florida Gators
- WR Jacob Copeland
- DE Zachary Carter
- QB Anthony Richardson
- CB Kaiir Elam
- RB Dameon Pierce
- Both Florida quarterbacks total over 350 yards of total offense.
- Bryce Young throws for over 300 yards and three touchdowns.
- Zachary Carter gets his fourth sack of the season.
- Alabama’s defense has at least two sacks.
- Alabama Crimson Tide beats Florida Gators 41-31.