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Where: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
After its season opener was postponed by Hurricane Isaac, Texas A&M finally gets underway Saturday at what is sure to be an electric Kyle Field. The Aggies make their long-awaited move to the Southeastern Conference by hosting No. 23 Florida. Texas A&M has a new coach in Kevin Sumlin, a redshirt freshman quarterback in Johnny Manziel and one of the most daunting schedules possible. But excitement is at an all-time high. The Gators weren’t overly impressive in their season-opening 27-14 victory over Bowling Green, but they did get clarity at quarterback when Jeff Driskel won the starting job over Jacoby Brissett.
ABOUT FLORIDA (1-0, 0-0 SEC): Coach Will Muschamp picked Driskel largely because of his mobility and knack for extending plays. He went 10-of-16 for 114 yards against the Falcons, including a 50-yard scoring strike to Frankie Hammond Jr. that stretched Florida’s lead to 10 in the fourth quarter. Running back Mike Gillislee ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, giving Florida the power-running identity it had lacked. The Gators have one of the best linebacking corps in the SEC and cornerback Marcus Roberson is a ballhawk who made a key interception against Bowling Green.
ABOUT TEXAS A&M (0-0, 0-0 SEC): Manziel will be the first Aggies freshman to start a season opener. As he tries to run Sumlin’s up-tempo offense, he’ll have the luxury of leaning on a running game led by Christine Michael. The senior was on pace for a 1,200-yard season last year until tearing up his knee, but is fully healthy now. Freshman running back Trey Williams wowed observers throughout fall camp. All-American left tackle Luke Joeckel anchors a strong offensive line that should clear holes and give Manziel time to find wide receiver Ryan Swope (180 career catches). Defensive end Damontre Moore (17.5 tackles for loss last year) leads a unit replacing five starters.
1. The all-time series is tied 1-1, Florida winning at home in 1962 and the Aggies claiming a Sun Bowl victory in 1977. Florida is 1-7-2 all-time in games played in Texas.
2. Sumlin’s offense at Houston last season ranked No. 1 nationally in passing yards, total yards and scoring (49.3).