Last week, the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks spotted Northwestern State a 20-14 halftime lead and allowed four drives of 62 yards to the Demons before storming back with 28 unanswered points for a 42-20 win in their season opener.
I know this because I half-watched this condensed version of that game that the inestimably valuable @lib_gator threw up on YouTube this week. I also know that Northwestern State outgained UT-Martin and that the Skyhawks scored on one of the luckiest punt returns I’ve ever seen, a pick return, and two runs by 5’8” waterbug Peyton Logan in the second half, so it wasn’t as if they completely controlled the game after halftime, instead just getting their dynamite to blow up.
But I can’t honestly extrapolate from that — or from the Florida Gators topping Miami in their Week Zero opener that feels like it happened in about 0 A.D. at this point — to put together an 800-word preview about this game.
(Again: If you want that sort of preview: I’m sorry. Probably, they’ll return and run on Fridays as the season continues. Maybe I’ll even get a week not fraught with hurricane fears or familial duties at some point this fall! I’m 1-for-3 and will be 1-for-4 after next weekend, though, so...)
So the 25 predictions format will have to suffice for this Saturday’s home opener for the Gators (7:30 p.m., ESPNU or WatchESPN), because, well, what else am I gonna do?
Here are my 25 predictions for Florida’s 2019 season opener against Tennessee-Martin. I’ll be reviewing them no later than Tuesday, and know — as always — that I didn’t make of these picks as hedges, so they all comport with my core projection of a big Florida win.
- Florida will score at least once in the first quarter.
- Feleipe Franks will throw for at least 250 yards.
- Franks will complete a pass of more than 40 yards.
- Franks will throw at least two touchdown passes.
- Florida players other than Franks will throw at least five passes combined.
- Kadarius Toney will have at least six offensive touches.
- Lamical Perine will lead Florida in carries or rushing yards, but not both.
- Malik Davis will lead Florida in yards per carry.
- Multiple Gators will record rushes of 10 or more yards.
- A Florida player will make at least five catches.
- Florida will force a turnover in the first half.
- Florida will record at least three sacks.
- Jonathan Greenard will be responsible for at least a sack.
- Jabari Zuniga will be responsible for at least a sack.
- Ventrell Miller will record at least one tackle for loss.
- Miller will also lead Florida in tackles.
- Florida will record at least one interception.
- Florida will not force more than three turnovers.
- Florida will allow under 250 yards.
- Florida will allow 17 or fewer points.
- Florida’s defense will allow between 3.0 and 5.0 yards per play.
- Both teams will score in double digits.
- Florida will lead by double digits at some point before the fourth quarter.
- Florida will win by at least 24 points.
- Florida will defeat Tennessee-Martin, 52-10, and run its record to 2-0.
Please behave yourselves in the comments — and try not to cry too hard at the Mr. Two Bits tribute, because it’s hot and we’re all dehydrated.