Here are five Gators that we hope will shine on Saturday when Florida welcomes Florida State to The Swamp at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2.
I know that throwing Brantley's name into the hat really isn't going out on a limb. But I do think that for the Gators to have a chance against an elite Seminole defense, Brantley is going to have to play smart. By playing smart and mistake free, Brantley should be able to slowly pick apart the aforementioned Seminole defense. The strength of the Seminole defense is probably the defensive line, so quick decisions are going to be a must. You could also throw in Andre Debose, Deonte Thompson or Quinton Dunbar here as well. The Gators are probably going to need them all.
LT Xavier Nixon
Nixon is going to have a tough match-up on Saturday regardless of whether he is matched up against Brandon Jenkins or Bjoern Werner. Nixon hasn't really played as well as we expected him to heading into the season, and having a great game from him would be a nice way to end the regular season. Hopefully, Nixon has gotten rid of the injury bug that has plagued him all season and will be firing on all cylinders because the Gators are going to need a big game from him and the rest of the offensive line.
LB Jon Bostic
I know that the Seminoles aren't the best team in the country when it comes to running the football. As we've talked about before, the Seminole rushing attack ranks 86th overall in the FBS. But that's not really why Bostic is mentioned here. Seminole quarterback E.J. Manuel can run with the football out of the pocket if necessary. He hasn't, nor will he ever be known as a scrambling quarterback, but he'll do so if pressed. He's currently the third leading rusher on the Seminole team, and has a long of 28-yards. Bostic, as the leader of the Gators defense, is going to have to be aware of Manuel and his running abilities. Stopping him, especially on crucial 3rd downs, is going to be a must.
Whenever the Gators and Seminoles get together on the same football field, Elam is going to be mentioned every time. We all remember the Icelandic saga that was his recruitment. He changed his mind and put on different uniforms more times than Egil got into trouble with the law. You have to figure that he feels the pressure of all that every time these two teams play each other. He's going to want to play great, and hopefully he does. The Seminole offense this year, is a passing offense. Elam, as the last line of defense, is the last hope to slow down the Seminole receivers.
CB Jaylen Watkins
On the season as a whole, Watkins hasn't had the best of seasons. Sure he's young, and hasn't really played all that much before this season, but a great performance from him, like Nixon, would do great things moving forward. Watkins, who was pressed into a starting role due to the injuries of Cody Riggs and then Marcus Roberson, is probably going to be matched up against the No. 2 receiver (Rashad Greene?) for the Seminoles. But as Muschamp likes to do, he'll go with the hot hand, so if Watkins is playing great, he'll rotate on which receiver he is covering.
Who else are you hoping for a big game from?
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