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No. 12 Florida faces stiff test Saturday at Miami
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 9/7/2013  at  3:02:00 AM
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Kickoff: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET
Line: Florida -3, Total: 49

No. 12 Florida and Miami will battle for a claim to state supremacy when the two teams clash on Saturday at noon at Sun Life Stadium.

These two schools havenít met since 2008 when a heavily favored Florida squad steamrolled Miami 26-3, but failed to cover the 24-point spread. Before that meeting, the Hurricanes had won six straight SU over the Gators. Both of these teams opened their seasons with easy SU victories against cupcake opponents, but they didnít cover the lofty spreads. Miami, a 31-point week-one favorite, beat Florida Atlantic 34-6 while Florida, a 23-point favorite, won 24-6 over Toledo. Last season, the Hurricanes went an impressive 9-3 ATS but all three of those ATS losses were against non-conference foes. Miami was an impressive 5-1 ATS at home, however. Florida went 7-6 ATS last year while covering 4-of-6 times on the road. Its biggest weakness, like Miami, was against non-conference opponents, going 1-4 ATS.

Who will prevail in this in-state rivalry? For the answer, connect to NFL Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The experts dominated in the opening week of the college football season with a combined 69% ATS mark (11-5), highlighted by Scott's 4-1 ATS record and Brian's 3-1 ATS record with the lone blemish being Hawaii's backdoor cover with a last-minute touchdown versus USC. Dave started off his year 3-2 ATS in Best Bets, while Gary was 1-1 ATS.

The Gatorsí season-opening win against Toledo was a complete one, led in the air by an efficient performance from junior QB Jeff Driskel, who completed 17-of-22 passes (77%) for 153 yards with a touchdown. Senior WR Trey Burton led the receiving corps with five receptions for 69 yards. On the ground, junior RB Mack Brown filled in for starting RB Matt Jones (viral infection) by running for two touchdowns as part of his 112 yards on 25 carries. Brown had a total of 25 carries for 102 yards all of last season, and will likely get fewer carries than Jones, who is probable to play this week. The defense looked equally dominant against the Rockets, giving up just two field goals. Junior CB Cordy Riggs led the team with six tackles (five solo) while the secondary limited Toledo to just 17-of-38 passing for 155 yards (4.1 YPA). Even freshman CB Vernon Hargreaves III excited with an interception, showing the Gators defense may have weapons for years to come. They will some big additions to their defense on Saturday with the return of star LB Antonio Morrison, starting CB Loucheiz Purifoy and DT Darious Cummings, who all served a one-game suspension last week for off-field issues.

The Hurricanes put up a whopping 503 yards in last week's win over FAU, 303 on the ground and 200 through the air. Star sophomore RB Duke Johnson stole the show with 186 yards on 19 carries, including a 53-yard touchdown. He also caught a pass for 38 more yards, and did all of this despite missing most of the second half with a head injury. He is expected to start on Saturday though. This comes one year removed from the 5-foot-9 stud posting 10 touchdowns and 6.8 yards per carry. In the air, senior QB Stephen Morris underwhelmed however, completing just 15-of-27 passes for just 160 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. The defense held FAU to 117 passing yards on 16-of-32 attempts. FAU ran 43 times for 133 yards, while the Miami defensive line also had five sacks and recovered a fumble. However, Miami did have some blemishes, converting 4-of-14 third downs, committing eight penalties for 67 yards and losing the time of possession by a wide margin, 33:18 to 26:42.

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