The Florida Gators are back on the gridiron after their first bye week of the 2019 season. The Gators will play their home opener when they host the University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks. This will be the first meeting between the schools. Both teams are coming into this game with a 1-0 record as Florida defeated the Miami Hurricanes 24-20 in Week 0 and UT Martin beat the Northwestern State Demons 42-20 last Saturday. Since 2000, Florida has a 25-1 record against first-time opponents. In the 2018 season, the Gators averaged 58 points per game against FCS programs. Here is the preview for the Florida Gators vs. UT Martin game.
UT Martin Skyhawks
The UT Martin Skyhawks will be heading to Gainesville, Florida for their first road game of the season. The Skyhawks offense will be led by their running back Peyton Logan. The junior back out of Mississippi had a great first game of the season as he had 13 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns. The Skyhawks offense was a run happy offense with 35 rushing attempts compared to 20 passing attempts. UT Martin’s quarterback, John Bachus, had his struggles as he completed just 8 for 20 with 130 passing yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Bachus also rushed for 20 yards on eight carries. Both of their leading receivers in the game, Jaylon Moore and Colton Dowell, had one catch for an explosive touchdown.
The UT Martin defense had a few players that stood out in their season opener against Northwestern State. Redshirt senior linebacker T.J. Jefferson led the team in tackles with 12 tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack. Former South Carolina Gamecock Sherrod Pittman had 11 tackles in the game and also had 2.5 tackles for loss. Safety Wanya Morton might have been the defensive player of the game as he had seven tackles and two interceptions including a 75-yard pick-six. Austin Pickett was the other UT Martin Skyhawk that recorded a sack in the season opener.
The Florida Gators are happy to be back in “The Swamp” for the first time this season. The Gators offense will be led their veterans, Feleipe Franks and Lamical Perine. Franks had an up and down game against the Miami Hurricanes. Franks completed 17 out of 27 passes for 254 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. This game could be a great one for Franks as he played very well against FCS opponents last season. Perine had 67 yards of total offense against the Canes including an eight-yard touchdown pass. Junior Kadarius Toney needs to get more involved as he is Florida’s most explosive player and scored on a 66-yard touchdown pass in the first drive of the season. Other receivers to watch are Van Jefferson, Josh Hammond, and Trevon Grimes. The offensive line needs to show improvement from the Miami game especially when it comes to run blocking.
On defense, the Florida Gators had a terrific season opener, especially in the trenches. Florida’s defense has ten sacks with leads all of college football. Two players that really stood out on Florida’s defensive line was Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga. Both players had 1.5 sacks in the game and at least two tackles for loss. Linebacker Ventrell Miller had a coming-out party against Miami with a terrific game. Miller had six tackles with two tackles for loss, two sacks, and a pass breakup. Florida also has some of the best cornerbacks in the country with C.J. Henderson and Marco Wilson. Other defensive players to keep an eye on this game are Trey Dean, David Reese, and Amari Burney.
5 Players to Watch: UT Martin Skyhawks
- Wanya Morton
- Peyton Logan
- Sherrod Pittman
- John Bachus
- T.J. Jefferson
5 Players to Watch: Florida Gators
- Franks throws for over 250 yards and four total touchdowns.
- Logan rushes for over 50 yards.
- Florida’s defense forces at least three turnovers.
- Morton leads UT Martin in tackles.
- Florida Gators beats UT Martin Skyhawks 59-10.