One would believe that the Florida Gators would have nothing to worry about when facing the Toledo Rockets. However, according to ESPN on Aug. 30, the 10th ranked Gators come into their season opening game with six players suspended for the contest.
The players suspended include starting cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, defensive tackles Darious Cummings and Jay-nard Bostwick, wide receiver Latroy Pittman, and offensive lineman Quinteze Williams. Those five players were suspended for unspecified team rules violations while a sixth man, Antonio Morrison, was suspended for two arrests over the summer.
There is also three starters that will be out with injuries and illness, including running back Matt Jones, offensive lineman Jon Halapio and tackle Chaz Green. So, how will Florida fare against Toledo while missing nine players, including five starters?
Florida still comes in with dual threat quarterback Jeff Driskel and their leading receiver Quinton Dunbar. They have also won 23 straight opening day games, the longest in the SEC and second longest to only to the Nebraska Cornhuskers (27). The offense should keep moving just fine.
The Gators defense only returns three starters, but have plenty of talent to take over the slack.
However, the Toledo Rockets are no pushover. They have won 26 games over the past three seasons and return their biggest stars from their 9-4 finish in 2012. David Fluellen ran for 1,498 yards, Bernard Reedy gained 1,113 yards through the air, and quarterback Terrance Owens is back after throwing fo 2,707 yards and 14 touchdowns. These three men will push that young Florida defense.
Florida is favored by 23 points, and they should win this one as Toledo is 1-8 in their last nine contests against ranked teams. This is also the first SEC team that Toledo has ever faced.
The Florida Gators vs. Toledo Rockets game kicks off at 12:21 p.m. EST.