Game Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Following a much more focused performance against Kentucky last week in a 45-7 win, #23 Florida likely has a chance to collect is breath this week as it hosts North Texas before hitting the road for its huge match-up at #15 Tennessee next week. The Gators are dealing with a slew of injuries that could affect them Saturday, including some to Antonio Callaway (quad), Tyrie Cleveland (hamstring), and Fred Johnson (ankle).
The Mean Green isn’t expected to win any games for the rest of the season, but their offense could cause problems if UF plays like it did against UMass. Jeffrey Wilson is the workhorse at tailback with 29 rushes for 169 yards and three touchdowns as well as six catches for 55 yards. The passing game leaves a lot to be desired with the quarterbacks tossing two scores to four interceptions, while also having a sub-60 completion percentage, five sacks, and 4.6 yards per pass attempt. The defense has given up 214.5 rushing yards per game, but also has forced four turnovers so they could be a pesky group on Saturday.
For the Gators, Luke Del Rio has been really steady at the quarterback spot with 576 yards, a 63.2 completion percentage, six touchdowns and one interception. His 7.4 yards per attempt isn’t bad for a young quarterback, but look for him to take more chances in the passing game as he gets more comfortable in the offense. With Callaway potentially being out for Saturday’s game, somebody outside of Brandon Powell needs to come up with catches in big situations. The running game got a boost against the Wildcats with the play of Lamical Perine, who had 17 rushes for 105 yards with 5.8 highlight yards per opportunity.
The Gators have been playing well to start off the 2016 season with 7 points allowed per game as well as five sacks and four turnovers against Kentucky. As far as special teams go, Eddy Piniero returned to Earth last week as he went 1-3 on field goal tries despite nailing a 54-yarder. Having a punter in Johnny Townsend that averages 50+ yards per punt and a kickoff unit that’s put nine of 14 kicks in the endzone will pay dividends as the season goes on.
If Florida doesn’t turn the football over Saturday, there really isn’t a scenario where North Texas pulls off the upset. The big thing for the Gators will be staying healthy so that they can go into Neyland Stadium next week at full strength. They have to take care of business first, however.