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Sep 17, 2016; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain gets held back by tight end DeAndre Goolsby (30), defensive back Teez Tabor (31) and teammates during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the North Texas Mean Green 32-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Gators Look For Redemption Against Northern Colorado Bears

The No. 22 ranked Florida Gators celebrate the 25th anniversary of “The Swamp” facing the Northern Colorado Bears (Big Sky Conference) in its home opener on Saturday. This anniversary may be just as bitter as it is sweet; following the Gators’ loss to Michigan last week, its first season opener loss since 1989, according to Gator Football Senior Writer Scott Carter.

 

Last week’s subpar performance puts a lot of pressure on the Gators

Scoring zero offensive touchdowns on 192 total offensive yards and giving up 30+ points after two interceptions and five sacks is not the ideal way to start a football season. Unfortunately for the Florida Gators, they have more to worry about than their poor performance:

  1. Nine of ten of UF’s suspended players will remain suspended, according to Coach McElwain’s press conference Monday.
  2. Hurricane Irma could affect the play of game or if the game is played.
  3. Saturday’s home opener is a big game (even against a non-FBS opponent):
    • Ben Hill Stadium is celebrating its 25th anniversary of being nicknamed “The Swamp” by Steve Spurrier, former coach and quarterback of the Gators, on Saturday.
    • Spurrier will also be recognized for his recent College Football Hall of Fame induction.

 

The Bears Can Play

The Gators are facing a capable offensive that should be taken seriously. The University of Northern Colorado is coming off of a 41-14 win over the College of Idaho last week. The Bears scored five rushing touchdowns in the first half on 408 total yards. Three of these touchdowns belong to running back Trae Riek on an efficient 72 yards. Quarterback Jacob Knipp threw for 238 yards and had a rushing touchdown. Kicker Collin Root broke the school’s field goal record with a 56-yarder to top off the victory. The bears are eager to compete with the Gators in the Swamp.

 

“Yeah, we’ll go back with Feleipe.” – Coach McElwain

The plan is to stick with redshirt freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks, according to Gator Football Head Coach Jim McElwain, though he was eventually benched in the season opener. Franks completed five of his nine passes in his first career start. Not impressive, but more promising than graduate transfer Malik Zaire’s 9 completions on 17 passes, according to the coach’s confident decision. The 19-year-old shows great potential, winning and keeping the starting job over the experienced quarterbacks. Let’s see how he recovers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday.

 

The game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN’s SEC Network.

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