The Florida Gators (9-1, 7-1) have wrapped up regular season conference play as they prepare to host Florida Atlantic (2-8, 2-5 C-USA) this Saturday.
On paper, the Owls should prove to be no match for the Gators. FAU is ranked 91st in the country in total defense, allowing 424.4 yards a game.
But the Gators haven’t had a decisive victory since their 27-3 win against Georgia.
Two weeks ago against Vanderbilt, it was a last-minute field goal by Austin Hardin as the Gators stole the 9-7 win. Last week against an underachieving South Carolina team, Florida needed a late touchdown by Kelvin Taylor to provide some breathing room as the Gators beat the Gamecocks 24-14.
“We got a little low, we got up 17. With that defense behind you it’s sort of easy to be like you know we’ve done our part,” Red shirt senior tight end Jake McGee said on last week’s performance against South Carolina. “But you can’t let that happen. You gotta keep going.”
The Gators may find some additional motivation is going up against some former high school teammates. For instance, both teams have multiple players who attended St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale), Booker T. Washington (Miami), and Lincoln (Tallahassee).
“Coach Mac said 53 guys have relations with guys on FAU that play here,” said offensive lineman Cam Dillard, who grew up in Michigan and doesn’t personally know anyone on the Florida Atlantic team. “But no one has really talked about that, we are just focused on us, and improving each and every day.”
“For a lot of the guys, there’s a lot of rivalry between Florida guys and the way they competed growing up and continued to go,” said McGee. “So I think you know everybody from down here has a friend on that team, so they are all excited to play them.”
The Gators take on the Owls this Saturday at noon.