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Florida Faces Auburn in First Culling of SEC Contenders

No. 10 Florida Gators host No. 7 Auburn Tigers in the Swamp

With the turning of the calendar to October, the bloodletting known as Southeastern Conference football gets into full swing Saturday when Auburn travels to “The Swamp” in Gainesville to take on Florida in an interdivision clash of unbeatens. 

 The game between the Gators, who are 3-point home underdogs (-115) according to the FanDuel Sports Book, and the Tigers could also serve as a potential elimination game for the College Football Playoff standings when they are released for the first time Nov. 5. Both teams are 5-0 overall and 2-0 in their respective divisions, and both teams are prohibitive underdogs to win those divisions. 

 The Gators (#10 AP, #8 USA Today) have won both their games since Kyle Trask stepped into the starting quarterback spot after Feleipe Franks was lost for the season with a dislocated ankle in their 29-21 victory at Kentucky on Sept. 14.  

 Dan Mullen’s team tuned up for this contest with a 38-0 victory over FCS foe Towson last Saturday. Trask thrived in the low-pressure environment, completing 18 of 20 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns while adding a third score with his legs.  

 Defensively, the Gators limited Towson to 248 total yards and recorded their second shutout of an FCS foe this season. Florida has forced 11 turnovers in its last three wins and 13 overall, which has been highly helpful to an offense still learning to value the ball. The Gators have committed nine turnovers in their three games against FBS foes but have averaged 29 points in those games. 

 Trask has completed 77.3 percent of his passes for 647 yards and five TDs with two interceptions, but he and Florida will be taking on their toughest challenge to date in #7/7 Auburn (5-0, 2-0 West). The Tigers are one of three teams ranked in the top seven of both polls in the West Division of the SEC along with new No. 1 Alabama and #5/6 LSU.  

Auburn Odds on the Roads Against the Gators

While Florida’s best victory of the season came over unranked Miami in Orlando to start the season, Auburn has a pair of victories over ranked foes – opening the season with a win over then-No. 11 Oregon at a neutral site and toppling then-No. 17 Texas A&M on the road.  

Auburn, a 3-point favorite at -105, is riding high into this contest after blasting MississippI State 56-23 at home last Saturday. Freshman quarterback Bo Nix accounted for 391 yards of total offense and three touchdowns — two passing and one running — as Auburn scored six first-half touchdowns and finished with 578 total yards.  

Nix has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all five games, but more importantly, has not thrown an interception in the last four after being picked off twice by the Ducks in his collegiate debut. His 335 passing yards against the Bulldogs were a season best, and he has accounted for 1,153 total yards and nine TDs passing and running. 

Sophomore running back JaTarvious Whitlow could be the X-factor in this game. He is third in the SEC with 463 yards and has seven touchdowns after scoring three last weekend. Auburn is 14th in the nation in running, averaging 251 yards. 

Auburn has won the last three meetings between the schools and leads the all-time series 43-38-2, but this is the first matchup since the Tigers won 17-6 on the Plains in 2011. This is the first Top 10 showdown between the teams since No. 7 Florida recorded a 24-10 win at sixth-ranked Auburn in 1997.