3 bold Florida Gators predictions for SEC matchup vs. Tennessee
The weekend is almost here, which means it is time for some Florida football Week 4 bold predictions. The No. 20 Gators will be on the road for the first time this season and will face another tough opponent in No. 11 Tennessee.
The Gators are currently 2-1, which includes a major win over then-No. 7 Utah when Florida was still unranked. However, in the team’s only SEC matchup so far, Florida fell to then-No. 20 Kentucky. Last week, the Gators were barely able to handle the unranked South Florida Bulls, winning by just three points. Now, fans will have the chance to see if Florida is really able to compete against stronger college football teams.
With that being said, here are some bold college football predictions for the Gators’ Week 4 road game against the Volunteers on Saturday.
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If there is one area that has been a real game-changer for Florida in 2022, it is the running department. The Gators are currently No. 32 in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 212 yards on the ground in three games. Notably, all of the team’s eight touchdowns this season have been on rushing attempts.
Most of it is due to how three players have been performing on the ground. Montrell Johnson Jr. has 240 yards on 25 carries for two touchdowns. His best game came versus South Florida when he broke the 100-yard mark. Trevor Etienne, brother of Travis, also has two rushing touchdowns with 166 yards.
But perhaps most notably, quarterback Anthony Richardson has 134 rushing yards for three scores on the ground. His best game came in Week 1 against the Utes, when he led the team with 106 yards and three touchdowns.
Because of that, there is a possibility at least two players record 100 or more rushing yards. Since the team is struggling through the air, the solution might be a lot of carries. With the Gators having at least three reliable options, expect a bunch of rushing yards from them.
After a big game against Utah, expectations were very high for Anthony Richardson. Projected as a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the quarterback even received some Heisman Trophy buzz. However, the next two games were far from what he did in Week 1.
Combining the matchups versus Kentucky and South Florida, Richardson completed just 24 of his 53 pass attempts for 255 yards. That included no touchdowns and four total interceptions. Additionally, he has not produced much on the ground since his career game against Utah. Since that day, he only has 28 rushing yards and no scores.
Following two poor performances, Richardson is eager to bounce back. And what is a better stage to do it other than on the road on ESPN’s College GameDay?
All eyes will be on the matchup between Tennessee and Florida. Consequently, Richardson will get a lot of attention. A good game on Saturday could show that Week 1 was not a one-time thing for the quarterback. If he plays well, Richardson should get more recognition for his abilities.
Fans should expect Richardson to throw for at least 200 yards, which would be a career-best mark, and finally get a passing touchdown this season.
Even though Tennessee is currently undefeated with a 3-0 record, some could say its schedule has been relatively easier. The Volunteers had two blowout wins against Ball State and Akron, outscoring them by a combined 106 points. However, in the team’s only matchup versus a ranked team, things were naturally much more difficult.
In Week 2, Tennessee faced then-No. 17 Pittsburgh on the road. In a thrilling fashion, the Volunteers won 34-27 in overtime. Despite the big win, there are still some questions about this Tennessee team and how it will handle stronger opponents.
On the other hand, Florida has already faced two ranked teams in three weeks. That might make a difference since Richardson and company have more “big game” experience than the Volunteers so far in 2022.
Other than playing on the road, the Gators will face a tough quarterback in Hendon Hooker. The sixth-year player broke the program record of most consecutive pass attempts without an interception with 184 and counting. He was named to multiple preseason watch lists, including the Davey O’Brien Award and Maxwell Award.
At the very least, it will be an entertaining game. Do not be surprised if this turns out to be the game of the week in college football. Florida should be aiming for big things, and the Gators know that this game can be what determines the fate of their season. That being said, the bold prediction is that Florida will upset Tennessee, return home with the win and climb the college football rankings.