The Florida Gators football team faces the Charlotte 49ers in front of a sold-out crowd Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The No. 25 Gators (2-1, 1-0 SEC) earned their first Associated Press poll ranking of the 2023 season after their upset win against then-No. 11 Tennessee.
Charlotte enters at 1-2 after losing back-to-back games. This is the first time in program history these two teams are matching up.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. with coverage on the SEC Network+ and ESPN 98.1-FM/850-AM WRUF.
The Gators are entering Saturday fresh off their biggest win of the season against Tennessee. The keys for this week’s game lie in the run game and in the defense.
Trevor Etienne set a career high in carries (23) and rushing yards with 172 against the Vols. Florida should look to keep the game on the ground, allowing quarterback Graham Mertz to execute and make the necessary plays through the air.
The Gator defense has been a bright spot through three weeks, ranking 10th nationally after finishing 97th in the nation just a year ago. Florida is giving up less than 16 points per game this season and has allowed just six plays for 20 yards or more.
Defensive end Princely Umanmielen spoke about the trust defensive coordinator Austin Armstrong has in this defense.
Charlotte is bringing a familiar face back to Gainesville. Quarterback Jalon Jones began his college career at Florida before being dismissed from the team in 2019 for accusations of sexual battery. He is splitting snaps with Trexler Ivey. Charlotte enters this game with Jones being the team’s rushing leader with 194.
The 49ers will look to utilize the versatility at quarterback to mix it up against the Gators. Ivey leads the team in passing yards with 330, and his No. 1 wide receiver this year is Jack Hestera. Hestera recorded seven receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown against Georgia State.
Charlotte will look to be better defensively. The 49ers have allowed 38 points or more in their last two games.
Coach Biff Poggi spoke about the challenge coming in to play the Gators.
The Gators will play their first SEC road game of the year against Kentucky on Sept. 30, with kickoff set for noon ET. Kentucky won last year’s game 26-16 in The Swamp.
UF safety Miguel Mitchell spoke on getting ready for the Wildcats.
Charlotte plays their first game in the American Athletic Conference against SMU on Sept. 30. Poggi spoke about being competitive in conference play this year, and next week is Charlotte’s first chance to prove that.