University of Alabama

Alabama football: Closer look at tonight's game against Florida

No. 7 Florida (4-0, 1-0) at No. 1 Alabama (4-0, 2-0 SEC), 8 p.m. (CBS)

Line: Alabama by 8.

Series Record: Alabama leads 20-14.

Last Meeting: Alabama 32-13, 2009 SEC championship game.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Not an SEC title for a change — at least not yet. The winner will be regarded as the team to beat in the league and possibly nationally. The loser still controls its destiny for getting to the SEC championship game and perhaps playing for a national title shot. Plus, Alabama has won 28 consecutive regular-season games, only four more than Florida’s current binge.

KEY MATCHUP

Alabama QB Greg McElroy might have had his best game against the Gators in last year’s SEC championship game. Now, he faces a defense that leads the nation with 12 interceptions and is second in the league against the run. McElroy typically makes few mistakes but was intercepted twice at Arkansas.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Florida: QB John Brantley. Assuming Trey Burton won’t repeat his six-touchdown performance, Brantley will be targeting a young secondary that has been stung for some big plays — and made some. If RB Jeff Demps isn’t 100 percent, it will put even more pressure on Brantley to come through. He has thrown only one interception while Alabama’s defense has made eight.

Alabama: RB Mark Ingram. The strength of Florida’s defense has been stopping the run, but the Heisman Trophy winner is at his best in big games. He is coming off a 157-yard, two-touchdown performance at Arkansas that included the winning score.

FACTS & FIGURES

It’s the first regular-season meeting between the SEC’s strongest current powers since 2006. Florida and Alabama are tied with the most wins (30) since the start of the 2008 season among FBS teams. … Alabama has won eight straight against ranked teams and is 6-2 against Top 5 teams during the past three years. Florida is 12-3 against top 10 teams and 2-1 against No. 1 teams under Urban Meyer. … The No. 1 team is 27-0 at home since Auburn’s 36-33 win at top-ranked Florida in 1994. … The Tide is seeking its 17th straight win at Bryant-Denny Stadium, which would be third-best in school history. … Alabama has outscored opponents 58-6 in the second half. … Florida has returned three interceptions for touchdowns in four games.

— Associated Press

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