Week one of college football is here, and the Florida Gators are about to kick off their 2021 campaign.
The Gators will welcome the Florida Atlantic Owls to The Swamp on Saturday night, in what is set to be redshirt junior Emory Jones' starting debut at quarterback as Dan Mullen begins his fourth season as Florida's head coach.
You can find everything you need to know about the game below.
No. 13 Florida Gators vs. FAU Owls
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.
When: Saturday, Sept. 4 at 7:30 P.M. ET
Watch: SEC Network
Weather: 83° at 7 P.M., mostly sunny with a 10 percent chance of rain per Weather.com
Radio: Gators IMG Sports Network, Sirius Channel 81/81 [XM]
Odds: Florida is favored over FAU by 23.5 points, according to OddsShark. The over/under is set at 52.5 points.
Series history: Florida leads, 3-0. The Gators and Owls last met during the 2015 season in Gainesville, a matchup that UF won by a score of 20-14.
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Jones' first start has been highly anticipated for some time. Jones was Mullen's first quarterback commit as UF's head coach after flipping from Ohio State less than a month after Mullen took the job in late 2017. Standing at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, Jones is an electric dual threat who has played in a limited role over his first three years at Florida, throwing for 613 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception while rushing for 514 yards and six scores in 24 games.
The transition to Jones from 2020 Heisman Trophy finalist Kyle Trask is far from the only change UF will endure against FAU and beyond, though. The Gators offense is expected to become far more balanced following the losses of Trask, elite tight end Kyle Pitts, shifty receiver Kadarius Toney, and others. Look for Florida to establish a run game presence early and often against the Owls, with Dameon Pierce, Malik Davis, Nay'Quan Wright, and Jones leading the way on the ground.
The same can be said defensively, and UF would hope the changes will be for the better after finishing eighth in the SEC in points allowed per game (30.8) and ninth in yards allowed per game (428). Florida's defensive line will feature plenty of new faces - both transfers and young prospects - alongside veteran Zachary Carter, aiming to emerge stout against the run and more disruptive rushing the passer.
Owls quarterback K'Kosi Perry poses a fine first test for UF up front, being an experienced dual threat whos has faced plenty of Power 5 talent during his time at Miami.
It will be worth monitoring who receives a lions share of reps at cornerback opposite of Preseason All-American Kaiir Elam after junior Jaydon Hill went down with a torn ACL in fall camp. Redshirt freshman Avery Helm was listed as the starter at CB2, but the likes of Jadarrius Perkins, Elijah Blades, and freshman Jason Marshall Jr. could earn snaps as well.
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