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How the Florida Gators will beat Miami in Week 2

Michael OleszekAnalyst ISeptember 2, 2008

Older 'Canes and Gators really remember when this was a rivalry, but the rivalry has been relatively dormant since 1987 with a few exceptions.

The Gators haven't won a game against Miami since Reagan was in office, and their best chance at a win was choked away during the Zook era, only a year after getting blown out at home.

This game might be bigger the next time they play, in 2013.


When the Gators are on Offense

Throw the football.

The Gators are clearly stacked at the WR position, and they'll get a major boost with the return of Percy Harvin from injury this week. Add into that the stable of backs who double as receivers, and Tebow should have a ton of passing yards.

Hopefully, Aaron Hernandez will be ready to play this week; but if not, then Tate Casey will look to capitalize on his solid Week 1 effort.

Miami's pass defense is a glaring weakness for the first time in years. They don't have a corner who can stay with Florida's receivers, which will become a problem as the game wears on. Look for Tebow to exploit single coverage away from Harvin to a variety of other playmakers.


Put the ball in your playmakers' hands.

This worked pretty well against Hawai'i, and if it's not broken, then don't fix it. Eleven different players carried the football for Florida on their way to 255 yards on the ground, while eight different receivers caught passes.

Tim Tebow was 'limited' to 37 yards rushing in what is arguably his most vanilla performance as the Gators' starting QB. Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen did a great job of scheming the ball out of Tebow's hands and taking the burden off of his shoulders.


When the Gators are on Defense

Stop Javarris James and Graig Cooper.

Miami has a pair of running backs who will keep them in the game longer than most people expect.

With the inexperience at QB, Randy Shannon will lean heavily on his running backs to carry the load against the Gators defense. Florida needs to shut down the running game early and force the 'Canes to pass.


Pressure the Passing Game

Redshirt freshman QB Robert Marve will probably be making his first career start on Saturday night. That's the good news.

The bad news is that it's at The Swamp in primetime on national television. The Gators need to pressure Marve early and not let up whenever Shannon inserts Jacory Harris into the game.

They cannot find a rhythm against the Gators pass defense, which played well against Hawaii, but still needs to prove it is better than last season.


As a Team 

Reduce the Penalties

Florida had 13 penalties for 90 yards against Hawai'i, which is not going to get it done against BCS conference opponents. Thirteen penalties shows a lack of discipline, and that comes from the coaching staff. They had better tighten up, because 90 yards in penalties will keep the 'Canes in the ballgame.


Keep playing solid special teams

A big play in the kicking game will turn the tide. Just like Brandon James' punt return for a TD last week. A fake punt by Chas Henry also kept Hawai'i off balance. Look for Urban Meyer to turn his punt blockers loose early in order to come up with a blocked punt.


Don't be caught looking ahead

Yes, Tennessee did get beaten by UCLA's JV team. No really, they did. Don't be caught thinking about embarrassing the Vols in two weeks when you have the Hurricanes right in front of you. Miami is still not Miami, but they do have talent to keep them competitive enough to make this a game.


Final Score Prediction: Florida 45, Miami 14

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