Bo Nix

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix fumbles the ball after a long run against Mississippi State

Auburn will likely face its toughest test of the season so far when the Tigers travel to Gainesville for the first time since 2007 to play in a top-10 matchup in the unfriendly confines of Florida's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. 

It's a game that has long been in the sights of Auburn and Florida fans alike since the former annual rivals last played in 2011. 

The most important key to the Tigers pulling out the road victory might be winning the turnover battle, an area in which the Tigers have struggled.

Auburn is tied for last in the SEC with a turnover margin of -0.40, while Florida is one of the league's best with a margin of 0.80. 

On the season, the Gators have forced nine interceptions, which is tied for first nationally, while registering 24 sacks, which is tied for second in the country.

The combination of a solid pass rush and pass defense will pose a challenge for Auburn true freshman quarterback Bo Nix, who showed substantial improvement last week against Mississippi State, hitting 76 percent of his passes for 335 yards and two scores. The game has seemed to slow down for Nix as the season has progressed and he's become more comfortable running the Auburn offense. He hasn't thrown an interception since tossing two in the season-opening win over Oregon. Nix will have to do a better job in ball protection, though, after fumbling the ball out of bounds after a long run last week against the Bulldogs. 

Nix's emergence as a serious threat in the passing game has been helped by his improved chemistry with wide receiver Seth Williams, the return to health of speedster Anthony Schwartz and the complement provided by the Tigers strong run game, which is light years better than last season's due to improved line and running back play.

To alleviate some of the pressure on Nix, it might be helpful for the Tigers to draw up some quick passes to the flats to make the Gators defend sideline to sideline and slow their pass rush.

On defense, the Tigers shouldn't have to worry much about the Gators' running game, which isn't very explosive and only manages 141 yards a game. The threat comes from the Gators' passing attack, which is averaging 288 yards a game. Florida's offense is humming under junior quarterback Kyle Trask, who led the Gators to a comeback win over Kentucky after starter Feleipe Franks went down with a season-ending ankle injury. Trask has completed 76 percent of his passes for 698 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions to a stellar group of wide receivers that includes Van Jefferson, Trevon Grimes, Kyle Pitts and a trio of three other seniors receivers with more than 100 yards receiving.

Making Trask uncomfortable will be a key if the Tigers are going to shut down the Florida offense. The Gators have allowed eight sacks on the year, but haven't played a team with anywhere near as stout a defense as Auburn's.

The Tigers have been solid in pass rush, generating 13 sacks and 18 QB hurries so far. 

If Auburn can generate some pressure and characteristically stop the run on defense and avoid costly turnovers on offense, the Tigers should return home on Saturday bragging rights in the series until the teams meet again in 2024.

Auburn 34, Florida 10. 

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