Technically the No. 9 Florida Gators will face their first Top 10 matchup of the season on Saturday.
The Towson Tigers are a FCS team, currently with a 3-1 record and ranked No. 5 in the Colonial Athetlic Association. Oh, and they’re quarterbacked by Tom Flacco, the younger brother of Denver Bronco’s quarterback Joe Flacco. So is Tom Flacco elite? We’ll discuss all that and more in one last thing before Florida-Towson.
One Thing to Remember
These Gators are focused. It’s easy to over look a FCS opponent, what most would consider a “cupcake” game. It’s even easier to offer lip service that they won’t be overlooked. But head coach Dan Mullen and these Gators offered an answer this week with substance. The goal each week is to get better. If they have any chance of beating No. 7 Auburn, explained Mullen, it would take getting better this week as well and that includes defeating Towson. It echo’s so many of his previous sentiments; sentiments that he and the Gators have backed up in such a way that one can't help but believe them.
One Florida Player to Remember
Lamical Perine and Dameon Pierce. We’re cheating here and giving two players. And really, we could offer a third in whoever steps in at right tackle. These are going to be the guys who matter the most this week as the Gators escalate the work on the running game. Perine and Pierce are somewhat beholden to what the offensive line gives them; but as of late they’ve been given little so the running backs are going to begin looking for new ways to break off plays, whether drifting more to the outside or working on moves for the inside. Next weeks opponent, Auburn, has one of the best defensive lines in college football and so it’s going to be a game where the Gators can afford to “figure out the run game as they go.” And even though Mullen could—and probably will—try to work the edges more to play away from the line, putting the game entirely in the air is dangerous. There has to be some sort of run game to open up the passing game and this week against Towson is the last opportunity to figure it out and start averaging more than 137 rushing yards per game.
One Towson Player to Remember
Tom Flacco is hoping to follow in his brothers footsteps and make it to the NFL. He's completing 58.8% of his passes through four games with six touchdowns to only one interception. He’s thrown for 300+ yards in two of the Tigers four games and is averaging 8.4 yards per play. He has taken a sack in each game though so expect Todd Grantham to go after the senior.
One Big Question
Will CJ Henderson and Jabari Zuniga play? Mullen said both are game time decisions and that's he's comfortable playing them even if they didn't practice much during the week, given both are veterans. Henderson was seen at practice this week without a brace. There are two schools of thought as to their playing time. On one hand, the Gators most likely won't need the two defensive starters against Towson, so rest them Saturday to be fresh against Auburn and that October gauntlet. however, Henderson hasn't played in the last two games and Zuniga missed the majority of the last two games (all of Tennessee, most of Kentucky after getting injured in first half). So while you don't want to risk making their injuries worse, might it be beneficial to get them in for a couple of plays to shake any rust off? We'll see what coaches decide.
One Last Prediction
Towson is a fairly good team in their league and Mullen did his part this week pumping them up. But he did the same with Tennessee and we saw how that went. The Gators have done what they're supposed to do against these smaller schools the past two season, and we don't expect it to change against Towson.
Final Prediction: Florida wins, 49-7