A four-game winning streak has boosted Florida’s confidence and
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ A four-game winning streak has boosted Florida’s confidence and helped the 14th-ranked Gators get back into the race for a Southeastern Conference divisional title.
What it hasn’t done is stop coach Steve Spurrier from worrying about little-regarded opponents.
Southern Mississippi (6-3) visits Gainesville on Saturday, and Spurrier is concerned about a possible letdown after last week’s emotional victory over then-No. 7 Georgia.
The victory put Florida (5-2, 4-2 SEC) in good position in the SEC East, and the Gators want to show continued improvement this weekend while staying healthy for crucial conference games against South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
″Southern Mississippi is another good football team. They would like nothing better than to come in here and beat the Gators,″ said Spurrier, whose team has a 16-game winning streak at Florida Field.
″They have shown they can handle SEC teams. They lost to Alabama 17-10 in September, beat Auburn two years in a row in Auburn (1990, 1991) and did the same to FSU (Florida State, 1989) a few years ago,″ he added. ″This is a key game for us. If we can win, it should pretty much assure us of a bowl game.″
Southern Mississippi will take a three-game winning streak into the game. Besides losing to Alabama, the Golden Eagles lot 16-8 to Auburn and 23-10 to Northern Illinois.
″They have played Alabama and Auburn very tough this year, and we expect them to give us a good, tough game,″ Florida quarterback Shane Matthews said. ″They are used to playing a lot of tough games on the road.″
Defensive end Kevin Carter said the Gators won’t be looking ahead to next week’s game against South Carolina.
″Southern Mississippi is not an SEC game, but they will still be a challenge for us. We can’t overlook anyone for the rest of the season,″ Carter said. ″We have to go into each game like the season is on the line.″
Notes:. Florida linebacker Ed Robinson was held out of contact practice Thursday with a brace on his left knee but is expected to start Saturday, Spurrier said.
Spurrier also said defensive backs Lawrence Hatch and Pete Archie won’t play against Southern Mississipi because of one-game suspensions for missing classes. Hatch, who started in a game earlier this season, and Archie are third-string cornerbacks.