Ole Miss at Florida Preview: Three Key Matchups to Watch

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Sep 26, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators offensive lineman Cameron Dillard (54) and offensive lineman David Sharpe (78) celebrate as they scored a touchdown to tie to game during the fourth quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 28-27. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A clash of undefeated SEC foes, Ole Miss at Florida is one of the most intriguing games of the week in college football. We discuss three key matchups between the Rebels and Gators. 

The last time the Florida Gators and Ole Miss Rebels met on the football field was 2008, and the Rebels stormed into The Swamp and upset Florida 31-30 as 22-point underdogs. The game led to the famous Tim Tebow press conference speech, which can now be found on a plaque outside the Gators football offices under the title “The Promise.” It was the only loss of the season for the Gators, who won their final 10 games of the season by an average of 35 points and knocked off Oklahoma for the BCS National Championship.

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Much has changed since The Promise. Though the Rebels finished 9-4 in 2008 and had an identical record the following season, head coach Houston Nutt was fired after the 2011 campaign and was replaced with Hugh Freeze, who has turned Ole Miss into a national championship contender thanks to a talented roster that includes All-American candidates Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell, and (if he’s ever cleared to play by the NCAA) Laremy Tunsil. Ole Miss is currently 4-0, 1-0 in SEC play, and ranked No. 3 in the nation.

Florida head coach Urban Meyer is also long gone, having taken a leave of absence from coaching in 2010 that ended when he was hired at Ohio State prior to the 2012 campaign. His replacement, Will Muschamp, never had an opportunity to play the Rebels after being dismissed in the midst of a second consecutive disappointing season in 2014. Now, Jim McElwain has the Gators headed in the right direction, and back in the national rankings for the first time in 29 weeks, at No. 25. Florida is also 4-0 for the first time since 2012, having survived last week against Tennessee.

Looking ahead to this week’s clash, which is one of the most intriguing in the SEC and in the nation this week, we explore three key matchups.

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