College Football Teams Brace for Tough Conference Battles

By Beaird, Brent | The Florida Times Union, September 20, 2003 | Go to article overview

College Football Teams Brace for Tough Conference Battles


Beaird, Brent, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Brent Beaird, Times-Union correspondent

There are several conference games of consequence today in college football including Tennessee at Florida, Georgia at LSU and Miami at Boston College. Colorado at Florida State is an intriguing non-conference game.

GATOR TEST: One could easily argue that Tennessee has not been tested yet. The Vols have beaten Fresno State and Marshall. Out of 26 drives by the two teams, the Tennessee defense limited the opposition to three-and-out drives 13 times. The Gator offense will be the first test for the Volunteers' defense.

The winner of the Florida vs. Tennessee game is usually the team with the most rushing yards, right? Well, the team with the most rushing yardage has won 11 of the past 13 games. But if you look a little deeper into that statistic, you will see that the team with the fewest rushing yards has won two of the past three between the Gators and Vols.

The Vols are 81-5-2 since 1990 when they have a running back rush for more than 100 yards. Tennessee starting tailback Cedric Houston averages 160 yards per game.

Another factor to consider in the game is that Tennessee had a week off before coming to Gainesville. Is it an advantage for the Vols? Tennessee had a week off last year before the Florida and Alabama games, but lost both contests by a combined score of 64-27.

DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS: Colorado might want to stay in Boulder this week instead of coming to Tallahassee to play Florida State. Starting quarterback Joel Klatt and starting tailback Bobby Purify will miss the game with injuries. Sophomore Erik Greenberg is replacing Klatt. Purify is being replaced by Brian Calhoun, who is also a sophomore. Neither Greenberg nor Calhoun may get much sleep this week thinking about the Seminole defense.

After reviewing film of the last week's thrilling win over Georgia Tech, FSU coaches found another quarterback sack to add to the defensive total. FSU sacked Yellow Jacket quarterback Reggie Ball seven times. What makes this total even more impressive is that Ball is generally as elusive on the field as Hillary Clinton is to tackle the question of when will she run for president. …

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