This Saturday, Sept. 7 marks the renewal and end of one of the nation’s most heated rivalries: Florida vs Miami. These two historically dominant teams have not met since 2008, and after their 2013 meeting it may be quite some time until they do battle on the gridiron yet again.
So which of the two programs will retain indefinite bragging rights?
Senior Miami quarterback Stephen Morris has all the tools to be successful. So does Florida’s starting signal-caller, Jeff Driskel. The difference? Driskel has played in a postseason game. Miami has voluntarily held itself out of a bowl the last two years in anticipation of any NCAA sanctions. This year is different, however, and Morris can vastly improve his Canes’ bowl game prestige by outplaying Driskel on Saturday. Will he make it happen, or will Driskel continue to show a week-by-week improvement?
Both signal-callers will lean upon an elite running game. The Hurricanes’ Duke Johnson rushed for 947 yards and 10 touchdowns as a true freshman in 2012, and picked up right where he left off in Week 1 of the 2013 season. Against FAU, Johnson ripped off 186 yards on a mere 19 carries, translating to a whopping 9.8 yards per rush average.
The Gators’ running game has been just as dominant under head coach Will Muschamp – no matter who is toting the rock out of the backfield. Mike Gillislee is now suiting up for the Miami Dolphins, and Matt Jones was supposed to step right into the starter’s role. However, a severe viral infection kept him out of the Toledo game in Week 1. Instead, his backup, Mack Brown, piled up 112 yards on 25 carries with two scores. Will the return of Jones add even more potency to the Gators’ rushing attack?
Miami coach Al Golden is obviously not hoping so, but Florida fans everywhere are. Gator Nation is also hoping that defensive stars such as Dominique Easley and Loucheiz Purifoy (one of several players returning from a one-game suspension) can corral the Duke en route to a big win.
But will Florida’s vaunted defense be up to that challenge?
We have no idea, but perhaps you do. It’s time to pick which of these two Sunshine State big boys will come out victorious on Saturday.
It’s time to settle it.