Week Zero is fast approaching as the Miami Hurricanes prepare to face the Florida Gators Saturday in Orlando.
The oddsmakers don’t love the Hurricanes in a neutral setting, but we all know how in-state rivalry games go.
Hurricanes – Gators: Game of the week
🔥College Football Game of the Week🏈
University of Florida | -7.5 🐊
University of Miami | 7.5 🙌
Over/Under | 47.5 🤑
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Here are three ways the Hurricanes can not only make a game of it, but steal a huge early season win.
The Hurricanes Pass Defense vs Felipe Franks
A once maligned position for the Gators has found some stability finally with Felipe Franks under center.
Franks made huge strides between his freshman and sophomore seasons and is expected to build on that again this year.
Where he has struggled historically is with accuracy, completing less than 57% of his passes for his career.
Franks does take care of the ball, only throwing six interceptions last year against 24 touchdowns.
On the other side of the coin is the Hurricanes pass defense, which last year was a major strength.
They also led the nation in third down defense.
If the Miami defense can have some success on early downs, the pass rush should be able to generate pressure on Franks when it counts.
We all know what that means.
We’re giving you FOUR of our top Must See Moments from the past year on this #FourthofJuly! Get ready for THESE fireworks…
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) July 4, 2018
Gators Offensive Line is Suspect
That pass rush may have some success against a retooled Gators front five.
Florida lost four starters from last season and they will be put to the test right away.
The Gators only allowed 18 sacks last year, however with a lot of new moving parts there could be some early communication issues.
Miami will give Franks a lot of looks and you can bet there will be pressure on all levels, led by Jonathan Garvin on the defensive line.
Garvin comes off a breakout sophomore season with career bests in tackles (60) and sacks (5.5) along with two fumble recoveries.
We all know about the experienced and talented linebacker group, expect them to cause some confusion among the Gator front five.
Enos has a Plan for Jordan and Mallory
Another matchup the Hurricanes can exploit is the dual threats at tight end in Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory.
Dan Enos has brought in a system that gives the tight end group a lot of opportunities from multiple formations.
Florida has an excellent secondary led by cornerbacks CJ Henderson, Jr. and Marco Wilson, so Williams will have to be careful with the ball on the outside.
Thankfully for a new starting quarterback, the tight end combo of Jordan and Mallory are a nice safety net.
The Hurricanes will have to play a near perfect game to pull of the upset.
If Miami can keep the game close in the first half in a rivalry game, anything can happen.
Follow me on Twitter @SportsWaveDave. Tweet and at me saying who will win. Hurricanes or Gators?
Make sure to check out the 5 Rings Canes Podcast for exclusive Miami Hurricanes content.