GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami) – The University of Florida Gators kickoff their 2013 football season in Gainesville against a Toledo Rockets team ready to spring a big upset on the number 10 team in the country.
The Gators are likely to get a good challenge out of the Rockets as UF may be overlooking them with the University of Miami on the schedule next weekend.
Toledo is no slouch having been to three straight bowl games and racking up seven wins against ranked teams, including an upset of #21 Cincinnati last year.
Still, Toledo is a 23.5 point underdog heading into the season-opener at the Swamp.
UF also has a history of playing down to the level of their opponent.
Last year, Louisiana was tied with the Gators at 20 in the final minute before a blocked punt was returned for a touchdown to seal the victory for the Gators.
“There’s definitely no easy game,” Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel said. “You can’t just roll your helmet out and win. When you do play at a place like Florida, teams are going to throw different stuff at you. … Everybody that plays us is going to play their best. They’re going to take some gambles on offense and defense.”
Toledo, which was picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference’s West Division, is 1-6 against teams ranked in the top 10. The lone win came against Pittsburgh in 2003.
The Rockets finished last season with an offense that ranked 32nd in the nation, 71 spots higher than Florida.
Toledo’s offense averaged 193.23 rushing yards per game and 252 yards through the air per game.
But the Rockets’ Achilles heel was scoring defense, giving up 28.4 points per game along with 473.2 yards of total offense per contest. Toledo’s total defense was only ranked 113th out of 124 FBS teams last year.
Toledo isn’t lacking confidence.
“When you go into an atmosphere like that, it’s you and your brothers, and your backs are against the wall,” senior running back David Fluellen said. “We’re just trying to prove the Rockets are for real and we can compete with any team in the country.”
Toledo will follow up the trip to Gainesville with a trip to Columbia, Missouri to play the Missouri Tigers, another SEC East school.
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