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Visor showdown in Swamp: Malzahn, Mullen lead unbeaten teams

By The Associated PressOctober 3, 2019
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Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, left, signals to quarterback Bo Nix (10) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
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Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, left, signals to quarterback Bo Nix (10) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

No. 7 Auburn (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at No. 10 Florida (5-0, 2-0), Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EDT (CBS).

Line: Auburn by 2 1/2.

Series record: Auburn leads 43-38-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

A first loss for one the Southeastern Conference’s five remaining undefeated teams. Considering both still have to play No. 5 LSU and third-ranked Georgia, the loser could have a tough time making the league title game and the College Football Playoff.

KEY MATCHUP

Auburn’s vaunted defensive front versus Florida’s struggling offensive line. The Tigers have NFL talent across their D-line that features seniors Marlon Davidson and Derrick Brown. Auburn only has 13 sacks, but ranks third in the league against the run. Gators coach Dan Mullen ripped his O-line after another lackluster performance last week and challenged them to play better.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Auburn: Sophomore RB JaTarvious Whitlow is averaging 92.6 yards a game on the ground and ranks second in the league with seven touchdowns, including at least one in each of the last four weeks.

Florida: Senior LB Jon Greenard is wreaking havoc on opposing offenses. He’s tied for the league lead with four sacks, but he also has 6 1/2 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and an interception.

FACTS & FIGURES

It’s the first game between the teams since 2011, a hiatus spanning more than 2,900 days. ... Auburn has won three straight and four of five in the series. Florida has won 13 of the last 16 meetings in Gainesville. ... The teams played every year between 1927 and 2002 (except for wartime hiatuses). ... Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Florida’s Mullen are two of the five SEC head coaches who call plays. Both also wear visors as a nod to retired coach Steve Spurrier. ... Malzahn went 2-3 against Mullen at Mississippi State. ... Malzahn has beaten every team in the SEC except for Florida during his seven seasons at Auburn. ... Florida expects to have six injured players back, including speedy cornerback CJ Henderson and disruptive defensive end Jabari Zuniga.

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