No. 25 Florida checks Charlotte with chance for rare 3-game streak

Trevor Etienne and No. 25 Florida have a head of steam as they await Charlotte on Saturday in Gainesville, Fla.Etienne set career highs in carries (23) and rushing yards (172) in the Gators’ 29-16 victory over then-No. 11 Tennessee last Saturday. His rushing total eclipsed his previous best of 129 yards, set during Florida’s 45-38 loss to Florida State on Nov. 25, 2022.Etienne highlighted his performance against the Volunteers with a 62-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.”I had the end zone in my eyesight, and I was going to do anything to get there,” he said, per the Gainesville Sun.Etienne was recognized with the Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week Award.A potent ground attack and an economical passing game — Graham Mertz completed 19 of 24 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown — allowed Florida to record a decided edge in time of possession (37:28-22:32).After jumping back into the AP poll for the first time since Sept. 24 of last season, the Gators (2-1) vie for their first three-game winning streak since rolling off six straight victories in 2020.”It validates your plan, what you’re selling to a degree,” Florida coach Billy Napier said of the team’s recent success. “That’s what you want as a leader. … That’s a lot more fun.”Napier is keeping a keen eye on Charlotte (1-2), which posted a 24-3 win over South Carolina State in its season opener on Sept. 2 and led Maryland at halftime the following week before falling 38-20 to the Terrapins.The 49ers dropped a 41-25 decision to Georgia State last week.”I’d rather go back to where everybody in the world knows what we’re going to run on offense and defense but we can execute it,” Charlotte coach Biff Poggi said. “I am not going to sleep much. I am going to put on the film … and find out what we do best and do it.”