The Jim McElwain era is set to begin in a few short weeks and Gator Country is ready to dive into the Florida Gators 2015 football schedule.
Trying to play spoiler in McElwain’s debut will be head coach Doug Martin and the New Mexico State Aggies.
Opponent: New Mexico State
When and Where:
The Florida Gators and New Mexico State Aggies will play in Gainesville, Florida on September 5 at 7:30 pm.
Florida leads 1-0
Most recent matchup:
1994 Florida won 70-21
QB | JR | Tyler Rogers
Rogers threw 23 interceptions to 19 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2014 and threw two or more interceptions in nine of 12 contests. Rogers was also asked to run the ball 60 times. He tallied 260 yards and two scores but fumbled nine times with the defense recovering six of those bobbles. Redshirt freshman Nick Jeanty will push Rogers for the starting job heading into the season but Martin will likely go with the veteran early on in the season.
RB | SO | Larry Rose
Rose carried the ball 186 times for 1,102 yards and nine touchdowns as a freshman. He was inconsistent at times — as most freshmen can be — but came into his own in the second half of the season. Rose will lead a deep backfield and will be looked to carry the load if Rogers struggles and a younger quarterback has to play.
WR | JR | Teldrick Morgan
Morgan was the leading receiver for the Aggies as a sophomore, pulling in 75 catches for 903 yards and seven scores. Morgan came out of the gate hot in 2014 with eight catches an two scores in the second game of the season as well as eight catches for 202 yards and a score against UTEP in the Aggies’ third game. He followed that performance up with nine catches for 122 yards against rival New Mexico. Morgan put together two more 100-yard receiving games the rest of the season but cooled off towards the end of the year.
Offensively the Aggies try to spread defenses out with quick passes from sideline to sideline and then look to hit a big run up the middle after softening the defense. They have a veteran quarterback in Rogers, but he’s coming off of a very difficult season. Getting Rose and Morgan back give the Aggies two weapons but they aren’t the only playmakers on the roster. Backing up rose will be Xavier Hall who carried the ball 105 times and had five touchdowns last season. Joshua Bowen returns for his senior season at receiver. Bowen was the fourth leading receiver on the roster a year ago and sophomore Gregory Hogan returns as well.
The Aggies offensive line was a strength in 2014. Having to replace two veterans, they rallied around each other and they were the last FBS team to allow a sack last season and only gave up 10 all year long.
Defensively the Aggies have struggled mightily. They ranked 116 in total defense, 121 in scoring defense and were the worst team in the country against the run (308.75 ypg). The Aggies defense allowed an astonishing 6.25 yards per carry last season — abysmal.
The defensive front seven is relatively young and small. Outside of defensive tackle Matt Ramando (6-5, 310) there isn’t a projected starter over 255 pounds.
The Gators should be able to feature their running game with Kelvin Taylor and Jordan Scarlett to cruise to their 26th consecutive home opening win. Florida will lean on the running game as they work towards finding an offensive identity with a young quarterback and New Mexico State’s abysmal rush defense should give them a great start.