Sugar Bowl Preview
Florida (11-1) vs. Louisville (10-2)
January 2, 8:30 ET (ESPN)
What to expect with the Gators: Coach Muschamp will utilize the running game in a big way. Mike Gillislee is the first RB to come through Gainesville to run for 1,000 yards since 2004, and when he’s on his game, the offense seems to work as a well-oiled machine. If the Gators can reach their average of 194.1 rushing yards per game (34th in NCAA), they should easily take care of Louisville. This should be attainable, since the Cardinals’ front seven has proved very inconsistent at times.
Not only will Florida rely on its backfield, but the defense – which is considered one of the best in the nation – will be used as a weapon, too. This is a unit that held Texas A&M to 17 points, LSU to six, South Carolina to 11, and Georgia to 17. That’s a pretty incredible line, and the Gators won’t hesitate to smother opposing QB Teddy Bridgewater.
What to expect with the Cardinals: An air raid. The only chance Louisville has to win this game is if the offensive line can give Teddy Bridgewater enough time to throw the ball, which could end up being 50-plus times.
The Cardinals have struggled to find success on the ground and Florida has an outstanding front seven: UF allows under 100 yards rushing per game. I get the feeling Louisville may be playing from behind for much of the game, so that will only fuel the need for a passing attack.
Synopsis: Bridgewater can only do so much to keep Louisville in the game before Florida’s defense completely takes over. The Gators will effectively pressure the pocket and dominate the line of scrimmage, containing any sort of run game and forcing some timely miscues.
Florida won’t blow us away with an explosive offensive gameplan, but the defense will be enough to help QB Jeff Driskel and Co. hang a pretty number up on the scoreboard.
Florida 30, Louisville 10 --- via Bowl Predictions