- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

FLORIDA (2-0, 1-0 SEC) at No. 3 ALABAMA (3-0, 0-0), 3:30 p.m. (CBS)

Line: Alabama by 14-1/2.

Series Record: Alabama leads 22-14.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

It’s Alabama’s SEC opener and a chance to make its biggest statement after wins over West Virginia, Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss. Florida could ice down coach Will Muschamp’s hot seat after a disappointing 2013 season and assert itself as a contender in the wide-open SEC East.

KEY MATCHUP

Alabama WR Amari Cooper vs. Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III. Cooper has been one of the most prolific receivers in the country so far, leading the nation with 33 catches. Hargreaves is one of the SEC’s top cornerbacks after earning first-team all-conference honors as a freshman. The Gators secondary allowed 369 yards passing in a triple-overtime win over Kentucky.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Florida: QB Jeff Driskel. His first game against Alabama as a freshman in 2011 ended with a sprained ankle and a bruised ego. Now, he’s got 17 starts under his belt and a dangerous receiver in Demarcus Robinson. Driskel could also be a threat to run in Kurt Roper’s offense, though that skill hasn’t been utilized much in the first two games. The Tide’s secondary has appeared vulnerable at times.

Alabama: RBs T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry. The Tide’s bruising tailbacks have each had only 16 total carries in the past two games, both blowouts. So they should be rested and ready to take some pressure off QB Blake Sims in his first SEC start. Kenyan Drake is also a threat in one of the country’s deepest backfields.

FACTS & FIGURES

Florida is the only team in the nation scheduled to face the preseason No. 1 (Florida State) and No. 2 (Alabama) teams. … The Tide has won the last three meetings by a combined 101-29 after losing two in a row by double-digit margins. … Neither defense has allowed a rushing touchdown. … Alabama’s 1,705 yards is the most the Tide has had since getting 1,844 to open the 1973 season and the program’s second-highest total. … Cooper is one touchdown catch shy of the school’s career record of 18 set by Dennis Homan from 1965-67. … Alabama S Landon Collins will face a team that includes his younger brother Gerald Willis, a freshman Florida defensive lineman.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide