Looking to wipe away a dreadful 2013 season, the Florida Gators open up the 2014 season by hosting Idaho, Saturday evening at The Swamp. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. with coverage of the game airing nationally on ESPNU. The Baltimore Gator Club will be hosting a watch party at The Greene Turtle in McHenry Row, so come out and cheer on the Orange and Blue with fellow Gators living in Charm City! Attendance at this week’s watch party includes one (1) free raffle ticket for awesome Gator swag and Greene Turtle gift certificates.
After throttling Arkansas, 30-10, on Oct. 5 at home, Florida did not win a game for the remainder of the 2013 season, posting the program’s first losing season since 1979 with a 4-8 record. But this is a new year and redshirt junior quarterback returns to pilot the Gators after suffering a broken ankle against Tennessee last September. Driskell, a 6-4, 230 lb. Orlando native, has complete 63% of his passes in his two+ seasons in Gainesville, connecting for 14 touchdowns while scampering for five as well. He retakes the reins of the offense after the injury, now taking cues from newly hired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
Roper comes from Duke where he helped inspire the Blue Devils to a 10-win season and ACC Coastal Division Championship in 2013. Duke fell to Florida State in the championship game, and then had Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M on the ropes in the Chick-fil-A Bowl before falling, 52-48, in Atlanta.
Idaho went 1-11 in Paul Petrino’s first season in charge of the Vandals. The team’s only win came against Temple, a 26-24 victory at home in Moscow. The Vandals have to replace their top passer, rusher, and receiver from 2013. Sophomore Chad Chalich will most likely start under center for Idaho after starting the first seven games last year as a rookie. Chalich finished the year completing 61% of his passes, throwing five touchdowns, but also three interceptions.
This is the first-ever meeting between Florida and Idaho. The Gators are 80-27 all-time in season openers and have won 24 straight on opening day, last losing their first game of the season back in 1989 in a 24-19 defeat to Ole Miss. The 24 straight opening day wins is the second longest streak in the nation, trailing only Nebraska’s 28 victories.