With my short time here on earth, I’ve come to learn a few hard truths. Being an adult is overrated, money seems to disappear faster than it appears, your parents are more often than not right the majority of the time, etc. In the realm of sports, it’s no different.
In this instance, college football is just like that girl who comes and goes in your life and all you can hope for is that she would just stick around a little bit longer. With that being said, for Gators fans that special lady is back this Saturday as she welcomes to the Swamp the Toledo Rockets.
Despite a heartbreaking 33-23 Sugar Bowl loss back in January to the Louisville Cardinals, she was still pretty good to fans. An 11-2 record, finishing second in the SEC East with a 7-1 record in conference play, all the while being done in head coach Will Muschamp’s second year.
Jeff Driskel returns for his junior season at quarterback after throwing for 1,646 yards on 156 of 245 passes (63%) for 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. With the added experience, Driskel says he has a lot more confidence heading into this year.
Last season, UF ranked 103rd in total offense, 118th in passing offense, 68th in passing efficiency and 78th in scoring with an average of 26 points a game. Despite the not so impressive statistics in the offense, Muschamp is optimistic about this year.
But like any relationship, there are some hardships you’ll encounter. While it’s safe to say that last season the offense (more so the passing game) was the emotional instability everyone experiences than the defense was the consistency you strive for.
The Gators defense ranked fifth in the nation in total defense and points allowed, 17th in passing and fourth in rush defense. This year the defense has only two players returning who started over 10 games last season (Dominique Easley and Jaylen Watkins.) First year defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin understands that you can’t compare and have to continue to improve.
Rockets head coach Matt Campbell in his first full season last year lead Toledo to a 9-4 record. They rushed 193 yards per game which ranked 35th in the country and scored 31 points per game which was 44th best. Their most notable accomplishment last season was going on an eight game winning streak ranking them as high as 23rd in the Associated Press poll.
But what makes it all worth it in the end, despite the trials, tribulations and inconsistencies is when you hear others talk so highly of your significant other.
Florida will be without six suspended players for the game, including starting linebacker Antonio Morrison and starting cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy. But Florida football is back…and it starts today.
Be sure to tune in on ESPN 850 WRUF to catch all the live coverage of the game starting at 8am and ending with the Extra Point postgame show at 5pm.