Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo — MESPORTS South
GAINESVILLE–Beta, Beta no time to rest its gameday in the Swamp and its time to be put to the test. Both these ball clubs have been trying to get themselves out of the deep mirky waters they have been swimming in hopes of finally reaching the higher ground not just in the SEC but in the grander scheme of things. It has been eight years since these two rivals clashed. Today both enter this afternoons SEC Homecoming showdown unscathed however one guarantee when its all said and done is one will be handed their first loss of the season.
The Tigers and the Gators are no strangers to the SEC glory but over the last few runs, they have had somewhat of an identity crisis trying to finish what they start. From the looks of things, both of the ball clubs are focused and ready for one hell of a hunt the question is what team has the skills to not fall prey to the other. Straight from the Swamp here are the Kick-Off Keys to the Game.
Saturday, Oct.5th, 2019
Kick-Off: 2:30 PM CT
Venue: THE SWAMP: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
The Tigers have embraced their role as the underdog and it seems to be working well for them thus far. Even with wishy-washy performances its seems that they are getting stronger game by game and Bo Nix is finally settling into his role as their signal-caller and game manager. A win today would put the Tigers in a good footing heading into a very tough gauntlet on the tail end of their schedule. The state of Alabama definitely is showing out when it comes to football this season and Nicky Saban and Crimson may be forced to step aside for their rivals down the road if Coach Malzahn and company keep the underdog momentum rolling. Can they drain it? If any SEC team has a good chance and the best playbook for an upset its the Tigers. They come into Gainseville with a solid run game and determined defense but will their young QB be able to maintain his game under these conditions?
The best way to describe the Gators in on the brink of something. We have seen bits and pieces of that Mullen Magic but it has yet to bring back the bite that can put the hurt on any team. Like any team, the restlessness of waiting on a team to finally come into their own can be damn exhausting and you can bet the orange and blue are done waiting on that bus to arrive. The time is now and while Florida returns healthy especially on defense and had a new gunslinger that has sparked their offense but they still don’t quite seem to have that finesse to close the deals like they should or could.
Keys To The Games
The Gator Defense is healthy and thats the last thing that Bo Nix needed to add to the list. He has played very well under pressure but this will be one of the first pressure tests for this young gunslinger no just on the road but in the Swamp on Homecoming against Todd Grantham stellar defensive playbook. Nix will need to be one hell of a smooth operator handling pressure and be on point in reading the Florida Defense. He will need to continue to control his passing game and make plays even with an often under-matched receiving corps. He has shown he can still make big plays and put the point
The Auburn defense is going to need to take Trask off the task at home. The pass defense is going to have to come up with some big stops today especially with a passing game like Florida is going show during this ball game. The Tigers defense is going to be in for a challenge facing a Gator passing game filled with a plethora of screens and more that allow them to move the ball well.
In a game close to the wire you can be certain that the Tigers will continue to rely on their consistent snap and kick game to be the difference-maker and game-changer. The Tigers have also been very impressive in their return game it definitely will be a big day for special teams in the Swamp for the Tigers to remain perfect.
Trask on Task
Since the Gators lossed their starting QB, Felipe Franks, they have relied on the momentum of Kyle Trask to keep the flame burning. This will be one of the biggest starts for Trask to date. In such a short time he has shown that he is consistent in the passing game and a solid game manager which will be vital entering this game and beyond. The key for Trask especially against this Auburn Defense will be to stay on task especially in his game management.
Stop & Go
The Gators defense is more than ready to put the chomp down on Bo Nix and company. You can be sure the Florida Pass Defense will be ready to bring the heat. The Gators are not going to just need to pressure Nix as he hasn’t seen before. Florida has accounted for 24 sacks tied second nationally. They will need to not just limit Bo Nix passing abilities but also come up big on the turn over game today at home
Both these teams have shown they are ready to be back on top and make a run in the hunt for the CFP this season. While I think Florida will keep it close at home I think Auburn gets the win on the road by a field goal at the Swamp. Who will be the predator and who will fall prey in the Swamp today?
Feature Photo Credit: Florida Gators Football
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Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a veteran SEC sports journalist and NFL beat writer. She is our Sr. Editor and columnist for MESPORTS digital. A Brown University graduate who loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Misskyus2011