No. 22 Florida vs. Florida Atlantic, 7 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU)
Line: Florida by 35.
Series Record: Florida leads 1-0.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Florida hopes to get the Will Muschamp era off to a strong start. Muschamp replaced two-time national champion Urban Meyer in
December. How the Gators will look under Muschamp is anybody's
guess. He closed spring practice for the first time in school history, saying it's his only shot at surprising early season opponents.
Florida RBs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey vs. FAU's defense. Demps
and Rainey are two of the fastest backs in the country. They also
are two of the smallest, and how the 180-pounders hold up could be
the key to Florida's season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
FAU: LB Martin Wright. The junior from Miami originally committed to Florida, but his arrest on felony burglary and kidnapping charges in January 2007 ended any shot at playing for the Gators. He spent four months in jail, six months at a boot camp and about a year under house arrest. Wright got a second chance at FAU and now has something to prove. "I'm here. I didn't go anywhere. It was just a little stumbling block. I'm back on the road."
Florida: QB John Brantley. All eyes will be on the senior who was a misfit in Meyer's spread offense last season. With former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis calling plays, Brantley insists his confidence and comfort level are at all-time highs.
FACTS & FIGURES
This is the first game in FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger's
farewell season. He announced his retirement last month. ... FAU RB
Alfred Morris has 2,320 yards rushing and 18 TDs the last two
years. But he hasn't topped 100 yards on the ground in any of his
six games against teams from the six major conferences. ... The
Gators have won 21 consecutive season openers. ... Florida has 35
freshmen and 36 sophomores, making it one of the youngest teams in the country.