Sports No. 11 Florida welcomes favored, top-ranked Alabama to Swamp

No. 11 Florida welcomes favored, top-ranked Alabama to Swamp

No. 11 Florida welcomes favored, top-ranked Alabama to Swamp

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s Dameon Pierce flashed an ear-to-ear grin as he contemplated his response.

“How’s it essentially feel to be such immense underdogs at dwelling against top-ranked Alabama?”

If somebody modified into as soon as going to vow the relaxation controversial, it most likely would were the outspoken and vivacious working befriend. Pierce chuckled after which held befriend. Well, form of.

“This is my first time listening to that,” he said paradoxically. “Fifteen sides? In opposition to Bama? They being good, ain’t they?

“All americans Bama plays is what, treasure 20-plus? They exhibiting resolve to us, 15-point underdogs.”

The 11th-ranked Gators (2-0) surely will spend exterior expectations as motivation after they host the defending nationwide champion Crimson Tide (2-0) on Saturday, the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Alabama is now liked by 14 1/2 sides, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

“In uncover for you me to encourage you to play in this game, you’re somewhat messed up,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said. “This is a immense game.”

Alabama has gained 16 in a row, a coast that started with a Citrus Bowl victory against Michigan on Unique Year’s Day in 2020. The Crimson Tide were even extra dominant against teams from the SEC’s Japanese Division, having gained 31 straight since losing to Steve Spurrier and South Carolina on Oct. 9, 2010.

Florida, in the period in-between, closing beat Alabama in the 2008 SEC title game. The Gators have dropped all seven conferences since, including a 52-46 shootout in the league’s championship game closing December.

Playing the Tide finish has given Florida gamers confidence heading into the rematch.

“We’re ready. Obviously, we’re ready,” linebacker Brenton Cox said. “Great rely on of is: are they ready?”

The Gators are reckoning on two X-components in this one: dynamic quarterback Anthony Richardson and a equipped-out Swamp.

Richardson has been beyond impressive off the bench, elevating questions about how lengthy Mullen will persist with Emory Jones as his starter. Richardson, a redshirt freshman from Gainesville who’s going via a strained merely hamstring, has accounted for 467 yards and 4 touchdowns in shrimp action.

Twin-possibility quarterbacks have given Alabama some worry over time, with Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel, Chad Kelly, Deshaun Watson, Trevor Lawrence and Joe Burrow topping the listing of folks which have toppled the Tide.

“We’re for sure searching at for the subject because it is going to form of uncover us somewhat bit about who we are, where we are, where we obtained to coast, what we want to attain to salvage there,” Alabama coach Gash Saban said.

Playing in the Swamp could well per chance pose concerns, too, particularly since Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is making his first road open.

The game is merely the third sellout in Mullen’s four seasons, and a raucous dwelling crowd modified into as soon as instrumental in profitable the old two. LSU’s Burrow modified into as soon as sacked five instances and threw two interceptions, including one which modified into as soon as returned for a touchdown, in a 27-19 loss at Florida Topic in 2018. Auburn’s Bo Nix usually looked lost and modified into as soon as picked off twice in a 24-13 loss in Gainesville the following year.

“When there’s 90-100,000 folks in the stands, that could rattle somebody,” Cox said. “It don’t topic in case you’re fifth-year, freshman. The Swamp is varied. It’s hot, it’s loud.”

Young, even though, is much from phenomenal. He has seven touchdown passes and no interceptions, essentially the most uncomplicated player in Alabama history to be that efficient in his first two begins.

“All americans is aware of the challenges which would per chance per chance per chance be in entrance of us this weekend,” Young said. “All americans is aware of how antagonistic the ambiance’s going to be. For me and essentially for everyone on the team, it’s something that Coach (Saban) is going to prepare for, something that we’re now not taking lightly the least bit.”

MULLEN’S SKID

The matchup between the SEC’s two most tenured coaches has been a mismatch. Mullen is 0-10 as a head coach against Saban, losing all 9 conferences while at Mississippi Reveal and reaching double digits closing December with the Gators.

“You always desire to field your self against essentially the most uncomplicated,” Mullen said. “You realize that I treasure these. These games are fun for me. You salvage the opportunity to exit there and coast play in an out of this world ambiance against an out of this world team, the crowd going crazy. This is what it’s all about. That is why we attain this.”

LINEBACKER CONCERNS

Saban expects linebacker Will Anderson to play despite struggling a knee harm closing week against Mercer. The Tide already are without starting linebacker Chris Allen (foot) and backup Quandarrius Robinson (suspended).

Florida will be without starting middle linebacker Ventrell Miller, who had surgical operation this week to repair a torn biceps tendon. The fifth-year senior had started 23 of Florida’s closing 26 games. Mohamoud Diabate is anticipated to play a bigger role transferring forward.

MEMORY LANE

The closing defending nationwide champion and No. 1 team in the country to roll into Gainesville modified into as soon as Miami in 2002. The Hurricanes by some capability ended up being two-point underdogs in that one. They dominated, profitable 41-16.

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AP Sports Author John Zenor in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, contributed to this document.

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