Florida football is heading into a tough battle against the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs this weekend and has a chance to shock the college football world if they can pull the upset.
But in order to do that, they’re going to need a couple of guys to step up and contribute in big ways, more so than they’re used to doing.
There are a handful of big names on the Gators’ offense that we could point to as the most important guys for Florida as we head into this game.
But the Gators’ X-factor for their showdown with the Bulldogs is Arlis Boardingham.
Florida football: Keep going back to the well
Boardingham has burst onto the scene in Florida’s last two games against Vanderbilt and South Carolina. In those two games, he has caught a combined 12 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns.
That includes a crucial catch and run to convert a 4th and 11 against the Gamecocks that kept the Gators alive on their final drive.
Arlis is averaging 11.4 yards per reception on the season. He isn’t just a big body that catches the ball and then goes down.
He can create space by out-muscling guys and then has the athleticism and mobility to make a move and create a big play.
So why do I say he’s the X-factor for this weekend?
Georgia has one of the best running defenses in the country. It’s very unlikely that the Gators will be able to pound the rock consistently.
And with the talent the Dawgs have in their secondary, it will be hard to rely on shots downfield as well.
This is going to lead to Mertz running through his progressions and finding his big-bodied tight end to get the ball to. Over, and over, and over again.
If Boardingham can consistently find space in the defense and be an effective runner, he can be a nightmare for Georgia to cover. It would also open up those downfield shots.
In this game, the offense goes how Arlis goes.
Hopefully, he continues on the tear he’s been on the past two games.