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Gators embrace the challenge of slowing down top-ranked Alabama

Florida can lean on defensive tackle Daquan Newkirk for insight, a transfer from Auburn
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:05 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -One of the more impressive aspects of Nick Saban’s Alabama dynasty has been the No. 1 Crimson Tide’s transformation into an offensive juggernaut through the passing game. It’s something the No. 11 Gators must contain on Saturday.

Alabama is averaging 46 points in its 2-0 start, following victories over No. 24 Miami and Mercer. The Crimson Tide have done it with a different cast. Mac Jones, Devonta Smith, and Najee Harris are all NFL rookies. Sophomore Bryce Young is now taking snaps and has seven touchdown passes and no interceptions while completing 70 percent of his throws.

The Gators understand that in order to pull an upset on Saturday, they’ll have to make Young miserable through quarterback pressure. One person they can lean on for insight is transfer defensive tackle Daquan Newkirk, who faced the Crimson Tide annually while at Auburn.

“I know a few things, got a few things up my sleeve, from playing them each and every year,” said Newkirk.
“So I talk to the guys a lot from facing them last year, they’re pretty similar, they lost a few guys up front but they’re pretty similar.”

“Anytime we play in the swamp, anytime we play anywhere our goal is to rattle the quarterback,” said Florida linebacker Mohamoud Diabate. “Whether he’s been there four years or two days. At the end of the day, we win the game if our DB’s can make plays and we make the quarterback uncomfortable.”

“It’d be a good matchup for us, we have to go and play hard, play sound, have eleven guys running to the ball as hard as they can,” said head coach Dan Mullen.

Through two games, the Gators are giving up just 4.5 yards per play, have generated seven sacks, and come up with one interception.

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