September 20, 2014

Florida Gators
INSIDE SLANT

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  Florida coach Will Muschamp didn't want to place any extra emphasis on his team's first road game of the season at No. 3 Alabama.

"They're all statement games," Muschamp said. "They're all important. They all count for one. So we understand the importance of the game. It's an SEC game, it's the next game. We're in a series of one-game seasons as far as I'm concerned right now, and that's how we're looking at it."

Florida (2-0) had its struggles in its SEC opener, but showed resolve in a 36-30 three overtime win over Kentucky. Facing a potential loss at home, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel threw a 9-yard TD pass to receiver Demarcus Robinson to tie the score at 27. Junior running back Matt Jones plunged in from one yard for the Gators for the winning score.

"Overall, as a team, (we) handled some adversity well," Muschamp said. "That was the first time we had to deal with it this season, so it was good to condition ourselves moving on the road."

That adversity will heighten this week. Florida is projected as heavy underdogs against an Alabama team that's physical and stronger on both lines of scrimmage.

Alabama had won 11 straight at home. For Florida's younger players, the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium will be the first experience facing a raucous, sellout crowd of more than 100,000 rooting against them.

"Some of the guys will be a little wide-eyed at first," Florida junior quarterback Jeff Driskel said. "But at the end of the day, it's playing football.