The late game of this 2 game Tuesday slate brings us the Auburn Tigers and the first year Florida Gators. Both teams have gotten off to fairly slow starts as the Tigers come in at 2-2 and the Gators at 1-3. Both of these teams are looking for their first win in the SEC, a loss will surely eliminate them from a conference title chance. The Florida offense has not been consistent this season, although freshman quarterback Kingston Fox has given the Gator fans something to be excited about. Auburn, who has been called inconsistent against top teams, looks to quiet the critics and climb back in to the SEC title conversation.
The Tiger offense has become pretty dynamic with the addition of star freshman wide receiver Cross Ferry III, who was provided big plays early in his career. Coach Matt Pack has surrounded sophomore quarterback Griffin Jelkic with good talent with Ferry in addition to regining all-american running back Billy Carter and 2-way specialist Ollie P Peters. Jelkic is playing better in his 2nd season at Auburn but questions still arise regarding his consistency and his awareness in the pocket.
As inconsistent as this offense seems to be, the Tiger defense is quite the opposite. Ranked 2nd in points per game, Auburn stacks the box and defends the run extremely well, led by Mark Calloway, Micah Myers and the aforementioned Peters, who tends to sneak up in the box to provide run support. The secondary for the Tigers is scary and teams tend to shy away from throwing at them. Led by Safeties Rian Chambers and Sky Taylor, along with corner LaRoi Sanders, the Tiger secondary is every bit as good as their front, and that makes for a nightmare matchup for any offense.
The Gator offense has become a little bit of a question mark in past weeks. After putting up back to back 40 plus point performances in the first 2 weeks, they have cooled off significantly in the past 2 weeks, capped off by a 7-point performance against Texas last week. Teams may be figuring out this Florida offense, and when that happens, it’s time to make a change and take some chances. The Florida offense has underwhelmed as a whole, but freshman quarterback Kingston Fox has the ability to lead this team out of their 3 game losing streak and back on the winning side.
Defense wins championships, as they say, and the Florida defense will be the reason the Gators are successful, or not successful, for the remainder of the season. So far the Gators have been a middle of the road defense who do a lot of good things, but nothing extremely well. Sophomore defensive end Mohammad Dmour has been a pleasant surprise for the Gators as he leads the CFSL with 5 sacks on the season. Dmour has put pressure on opposing quarterbacks all season and the safety pair of Othello Jones and Elliot Wells have been there to clean up anything that gets past linebacker Xavier Halle.
What to Watch For
I am looking at the Florida offense to make an adjustment and to use Kingston Fox as more a dual threat than we have seen thus far. The Auburn defense is loaded and ready to stop any attack that Florida throws at them, but the more diverse the Gator offense is, the better chance they have at getting the the Tigers. The Tigers need to stay balanced on offense as well. They have a diverse attack with Carter in the backfield and Cross Ferry III and Bubba Davis on the outside. This Florida defense has shown flashes of brilliance, but what the Tigers present on offense may too much to handle.
The Gators recent slump is concerning and I’m not sure this rookie staff is ready to step out of their comfort zone and make adjustments. Coupled with Auburn’s star studded defense, this is looking like another dud by the Gators. Auburn checks all the boxes for me when compared with Florida, so give me the Tigers in a game that wont be as close as the score shows.
Auburn 35 Florida 24