Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Having finished their SEC schedule, the
seventh-ranked Florida Gators will end their season with three consecutive
non-conference games, starting this Saturday against the visiting Louisiana
Louisiana snapped a two-game losing streak and moved to 3-2 in the Sun Belt
Conference following an impressive 40-24 road win over first-place ULM last
week. Saturday's bout with Florida marks the second non-conference game the
Cajuns will play against an opponent from a BCS conference this season, having
lost to Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Sept. 15, 65-24.
Florida wrapped up its SEC slate earlier than any other team, winning seven of
eight conference matchups, including last week at home over Missouri, 14-7.
The Gators' only loss this season came in a neutral-field clash with Georgia
(17-9), and they need a Georgia loss at Auburn this week if they hope to
qualify for the SEC Championship Game.
Despite the conclusion of the conference schedule, head coach Will Muschamp
says that the approach will remain the same as his teams tries to earn a bid
to a BCS bowl.
"It's all the same to me," Muschamp said regarding the non-conference game
against Louisiana. "We've got a good football team coming in here, and having
recruited in the state of Louisiana where most of their players are from, the
south of Mississippi, they've got really good skill people that can run and
play and the offense that they have creates issues for us defensively. If you
look at the numbers they're putting up, our total concentration is on them,
The Gators have defeated the Cajuns in all four previous matchups, with the
most recent meeting coming in 1996 (55-21).
With 35 ppg and 435.5 ypg, Louisiana has one of the most explosive offenses in
the Sun Belt. It logged its fourth 40-point effort against ULM a week ago,
paced by a career-high 460 yards of offense and five touchdowns from
quarterback Terrance Broadway.
"Terrance came of age tonight," head coach Mark Hudspeth said following last
week's game. "He took a lot of heat for the last two losses and like a man, he
stepped up and took responsibility. Tonight, he couldn't have been better. He
did a great job of finding the open man, ran the ball when he needed to and
was diving for the first down marker a couple of times. He was invested in the
Broadway has been played well all season, especially since taking over the
full-time starting gig from Blaine Gautier in October. He has completed more
than 64 percent of his passes for 1,624 yards with 12 touchdowns to six
interceptions, and he's also made plenty of plays with his legs outside the
pocket with 320 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Broadway has a number of receiving weapons at his disposal, as Darryl Surgent,
Jamal Robinson, Harry Peoples and Javone Lawson all average more than 50
receiving yards per game and have recorded multiple touchdowns apiece.
Robinson made the most noise a week ago, hauling in three catches for 153
yards and two scores.
The rushing attack hasn't been dynamic outside of Broadway, but both Alonzo
Harris (462 yards, four TDs) and Effrem Reed (311, three TDs) have brought
stability to the running back position.
The Cajuns' defense has left a lot to be desired, as they have allowed
opponents to score more than 28 ppg.
Safety Rodney Gillis has been one of the Sun Belt's best defensive players
with 47 tackles, four interceptions, and a fumble recovery. Louisiana has just
13 sacks on the season, 4.5 of which belong to Christian Ringo.
Last week's game was an offensive struggle to say the least for Florida, as it
earned just 276 yards and 11 first downs, but thanks to a pair of big scoring
plays from Omarius Hines and Mike Gillislee, it was able to come away with a
win. While the Gators rarely struggle that badly, a high-powered offense is
not the reason for their success as they have rather modest numbers (26 ppg,
Jeff Driskel has completed 63.3 percent of his passes and has tossed nine
touchdowns against only three interceptions, but he has not been known for his
passing prowess as he racks up under 140 passing yards per game. The ability
to make plays with his legs salvages his mediocre stat line (348 rushing
yards, four TDs).
Gillislee has been a workhorse for the Gators as he's taken nearly half of
their 392 carries this season, resulting in 797 yards (4.5 ypc) and seven
touchdowns. He has rushed for 100 yards on three different occasion this
season, although he hasn't done so since Oct. 6 against LSU.
Only five receivers have garnered double-digit catches. Most of Driskel's
passes head in the direction of tight end Jordan Reed, who has caught 33 balls
for 371 yards and three touchdowns.
While the offense has gotten by, the Florida defense has been spectacular,
ranking fourth in the nation in points allowed (12.1 ppg) and fifth in yards
surrendered (286.9 ypg). Last week, the unit picked off Missouri quarterback
James Franklin four times, bringing its takeaway total to 22 on the season.
Matt Elam and Jaylen Watkins have been the biggest contributors to the
turnover battle with three interceptions apiece. Linebacker Jon Bostic was an
All-SEC pick a year ago and he appears to be on his way to another selection
this season as he sits with 52 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, an
interception, and a fumble recovery.
The Sports Network