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The one part of Florida vs. Tennessee that’s worth watching

Our gameday guide also hits on a bright spot at FSU and a chance for USF to earn some Big 12 street cred.
Florida safety Rashad Torrence and the rest of the Gators' secondary should be tested by Tennessee.
Florida safety Rashad Torrence and the rest of the Gators' secondary should be tested by Tennessee. [ PHELAN M. EBENHACK | AP ]
Published Sep. 23

Our weekly gameday guide features quick hits on some of the weekend’s biggest college football matchups, starting with what to watch in an alleged SEC rivalry:

Even if the Florida-Tennessee game is lopsided, keep an eye on the No. 11 Gators’ secondary against a coach (Josh Heupel) who likes to take shots downfield.

UF’s defensive backs have been a weak link, from penalties against Florida Atlantic to missed tackles and pass interference calls against Alabama. The Volunteers will test them, so UF has a chance to make improvements that will be necessary for their championship push.

Seminoles’ bright spot

Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson II has been a great pickup for the Seminoles.
Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson II has been a great pickup for the Seminoles. [ PHIL SEARS | AP ]

Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson has been as good as advertised. The Georgia transfer is tied for second nationally in tackles for loss per game (2.2). His 4½ sacks lead the country and are already the fourth-highest total by an FSU player in the last four seasons. He’ll be challenged by a Louisville line that has only allowed four sacks (tied for 30th nationally).

Related: If you want Mike Norvell out, remember: FSU football could become another Tennessee

King-less ‘Canes?

With starter D’Eriq King (shoulder) doubtful to play against Central Connecticut State, a quick look at Miami’s top two options:

Tyler Van Dyke

Tyler Van Dyke has played sparingly for Miami but could start this weekend in place of the injured D'Eriq King.
Tyler Van Dyke has played sparingly for Miami but could start this weekend in place of the injured D'Eriq King. [ TIM BROGDON | Courtesy of Miami Athletics ]

No. 222 overall recruit in ‘20 class

Connecticut native is 0-for-3 passing with four rushes for 10 yards in his limited career action. Led Suffield Academy to a perfect season and state championship as a high school senior.

Jake Garcia

Blue-chip freshman quarterback Jake Garcia has not yet played in a game for the Hurricanes.
Blue-chip freshman quarterback Jake Garcia has not yet played in a game for the Hurricanes. [ TIM BROGDON | Courtesy of Miami Athletics ]

No. 48 overall recruit in ‘21 class

California native moved to Georgia to play during the pandemic and was ruled ineligible in Valdosta before leading Grayson High to a state title. Arguably Miami’s top quarterback signee of the modern recruiting era. Has not yet appeared in a game.

Big-12 bound

As reader Jordan Howes pointed out on Twitter, USF is the only school to face all four incoming Big 12 members (BYU, Houston, Cincinnati and UCF), starting this weekend at the Cougars. A win is unlikely, but a competitive loss wouldn’t hurt if the Bulls want to be considered in the next round of realignment.

Related: How does USF compare to future Big 12 teams UCF, BYU, Cincinnati and Houston?

Audible

“If they want to give me a mic pregame, I’ll go sing or do a little dance routine. Whatever we need if it’ll help people come.” — Gators coach Dan Mullen on how to keep fans packing The Swamp.

Related: Can Josh Heupel, Danny White make Florida-Tennessee rivalry relevant again?

By the numbers: Week 4

USF hasn't beaten a ranked opponent since knocking off Navy in 2016.
USF hasn't beaten a ranked opponent since knocking off Navy in 2016.

9 — Consecutive losses against ranked teams for USF. The Bulls’ last win over a top-25 team came against No. 22 Navy in 2016.

2 — Winless Power Five teams: FSU and Arizona.

13 — Catches for Oklahoma freshman Mario Williams (Plant City High). That’s fifth in the Big 12.

21 — Career games played by Central Connecticut State offensive lineman Trevon Lincoln (Brooksville’s Central High) heading into a trip to Miami.

99 —Previous meetings in the TCU-SMU rivalry, the awesomely named Battle for the Iron Skillet. The Horned Frogs lead the series 51-41-7.

249 — Wins for BYU at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

3 — North Carolina State wins over a top-10 Clemson team (1987, 1988, 2011).

63.1 — Completion percentage for N’Kosi Perry as Florida Atlantic’s starter.

52.3 — Perry’s completion percentage when he was at Miami.

2003 — The last time Florida lost at home to Tennessee.

Related: Why this week will help define Florida’s season

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