The Florida Gators and the Miami Hurricanes will renew their football rivalry this Saturday at Sun Life Stadium for the first time since 2008. Florida will get a big boost for the matchup, as it gets back starters running back Matt Jones, linebacker Antonio Morrison and cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy.
Jones has been battling a viral infection, and Morrison and Purifoy were suspended for the home opener against Toledo. UF also returns defensive tackle Darious Cummings (suspension), who should certainly factor into the interior rotation that will look to contain UM’s explosive sophomore running back Duke Johnson. Florida head coach Will Muschamp says creating a gameplan for Johnson will be a tall task.
Johnson ran for 186 yards and a touchdown in the Canes’ first game win against FAU.
The return of Purifoy opposite Marcus Roberson will provide a much more difficult test for Miami senior quarterback Stephen Morris. Morris threw for 3345 yards and 21 TDs last season, and had 160 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception in the opener. Muschamp says he should be even better in his second year under center.
On the offensive side of the ball, Matt Jones should bring more breakaway ability in the backfield to compliment the between the tackles running ability of Mack Brown. Brown rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns in his first ever start against Toledo, so his emergence could be the advent of a two-headed monster in the backfield. Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel says having Jones back will be huge for the development of the offense.
The Gators and Hurricanes kick off at high noon on Saturday with coverage on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 8am.