Leading up to this week’s showdown with Eastern Michigan, Saturday Down South’s Drew Laing breaks down the battle between the Eagles and the Florida Gators

Eastern Michigan
Week 2 at Florida (4 p.m. ET; SEC Network)

THE SKINNY: Coming off a pretty dreadful 2013 season, the Eastern Michigan Eagles started off their 2014 season much better with a 31-28 win over Morgan State. Running back Bronson Hill and defensive lineman Pat O’Connor led the charge for the Eagles in Chris Creighton’s first game as EMU’s head coach. EMU loves to play an up-tempo, no huddle style on offense. They had 86 snaps last week.

KEY PLAYER: Senior running back Bronson Hill heads up a talented group of running backs for the Eagles. Hill is looking to eclipse 900 yards for the third consecutive season after surpassing 1,000 rushing yards in 2013. He was the first running back to do so at EMU since 2003. Out of EMU’s 86 snaps from last week, they ran the ball 56 of those plays with Hill receiving 18 carries, the most on the team. You can bet that he’ll be the focal point of the offense come Saturday.

WHAT TO WATCH: Because of last week’s season-opening game cancellation, the Florida players will be chomping at the bit to get on to the field. With EMU’s offensive style, it’ll be interesting to see if they are able to take advantage of overaggressiveness by the Gators. The adrenaline will be pumping on the Gators’ sideline and it’s possible that could cause some mistakes early on by Florida, especially on defense. Also, anything similar to EMU’s 86 offensive plays will test the defense’s conditioning for Florida as they’ll be forced to deal with the no-huddle for much of the game.

FINAL SAY: EMU’s offense could provide some challenges early on, but as many have heard this week, the Gators are very eager to open up their season. You’ll probably see some of the typical first-game jitters or mistakes out of Florida, but once they settle down, it shouldn’t be hard for the Gators to pull away. Florida’s been waiting to turn the page on 2013 and start this season. They have a lot of stuff built up that they need to let out and it appears EMU is the unfortunate opponent who gets to take it.