Miami football will no doubt face its toughest test in years when they head into Gainesville on Saturday afternoon, looking to put a dismal 1-11 record a year ago behind them. Facing Florida on their home turf might not be the best way to start off a new season for the RedHawks, who are hoping to win more games this year than the last two years combined (3). Miami’s 2010 team possesses a lot more talent than they have had the last couple of years, but it will take a full, and I mean a FULL team effort for the RedHawks to come close to the Gators on Saturday.
More than just dealing with a faster and more talented team, the RedHawks will have to deal with 90,000 blue and orange fans breathing down their necks. Sure Florida lost Tim Tebow, but there is a reason why the Gators are still ranked in the pre-season top 5…they are just as good, if not better than last year. New players like junior quarterback John Brantley and speedy running back Jeff Demps figure to have breakout seasons for the Gators, who are looking to go to the SEC Championship Game for a third year in a row. Life won’t be easy for the RedHawks on Saturday, and they won’t have Ben Roethlisberger or Bo Schembechler to help get them out. Miami will have a much better year than last year, but going into Florida for their first game is an almost impossible task for a team with no experience.
Miami Will Do Well If: they can keep the game within a few scores throughout. Letting Florida get off to a fast start could be devastating for the RedHawks, who allowed just over 34 points per game last season. Miami’s quarterback and play maker Zac Dysert has to have a strong performance through the air and on the ground if Miami has a chance at keeping up with Florida. Dysert, a redshirt sophomore, has been voted as one of the MAC’s top quarterbacks entering this season. Miami has had questions in the backfield all pre-season, so Dysert’s job as a passer becomes much more important when facing a run-stopping defense like Florida’s. Look for Miami to get the ball to senior wide out Jamal Rogers throughout the game. Rogers, who had a rough season last year, is Miami’s only breakaway threat, and could possibly break a few plays open if he finds some room to run.
While Miami’s offense figures to score a few times against Florida, the game will come down to the defensive side of the ball. Stopping Florida’s high-powered offense will be difficult, but the RedHawks have the playmakers on defense to help try and slow it down. Senior safety Jordan Gafford needs to have a big presence for the RedHawks in the secondary, whether that is in helping stop the run or in the break-up of passes. If the defense can hold the Gators enough to keep the game close, Miami might have a chance. If they let Florida get away early, the game will be too far out of reach for the Miami offense, which was ranked second-to-last in the FBS last year in rush yards per game (70.1).
Prediction: Miami will keep it close until halftime, but the Gators are too powerful and will pull away towards the end. Florida 42-17.
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Written by Michael Solomon