After an unexpected week off, the Florida Gators tried to exact revenge against the team that spoiled their 10-year winning streak last season.
While the first 53 minutes of the game lacked a lot of highlights, and at times looked like two undisciplined teams that were both being to coached to lose, the last seven minutes made the first 53 worth it – with a stunner of a walk-off with a 63-yard post route touchdown pass from Feleipe Franks to Tyree Cleveland in a clip that will be shown for decades.
The stats will show a pretty average game – and it was. The stats will show that there is still much improvement to be made – and there is. The stats will show that despite three very average quarters – the Gators have the only stat that matters: a win.
For the 12th time in 13 tries, the Gators are victorious over Rocky Top and despite shooting themselves in the foot constantly, they found a way to win – and that is what winners do.
I will stop short of crowing this team as winners of the SEC East, but you saw a very young team grow up in-front of 90,000 fans – including a quarterback that may have just sparked his career against Tennessee, something Jim McElwain’s quarterback his 1st season at Florida did too.
The statistics are starting to normalize a bit, and while compared to national statistics are going to look worse than they may be as the Gators are among only a handful teams to play two top-25 opponents.
- Let’s get some of the bad out of the way first:
- The Gators have still not had a rushing touchdown in eight games.
- Gators running backs are being stuffed at the line of scrimmage (0-yard gain or less) 22.9% of the time.
- The Gators haven’t gotten more than 20 first downs in a game in eight games.
- The Gators rank 127th in the country in number of plays that result in a first down or touchdown (21.82%).
- The Gators rank 115th nationally in pace of play on offense. Nearly 29 seconds per play.
- It is apparent, and Tyrie Cleveland said the team plays better when they play faster, that Florida has some major issues in running an offense with momentum. Now some will argue that they are purposefully slow because they are not confident that they can move the ball – but when watching the sideline and watching the players receive the play relay, it is not that. There look to be issues with the play call, the personnel, and speed to the line. They lose any and all momentum when they are slow, allowing opposing teams to regain their composure and breath, while making substitutions that allow for the best personnel on the field. Florida has been slow on offense since the final year of Urban Meyer – also the last year the Gators had a respectable offense.
- But let’s move forward:
- The Gators scored both times in the red zone – which is a great start considering they only scored 71.43% of the time last year.
- Tyrie Cleveland is exactly half way to his season total in receiving yards last season.
- 80% of the time the Gators have 3rd or 4th and two or less yards to go, they are successful in converting (27th in the country).
- Only one player in the country (Ty Johnson – Maryland) has averaged more yards per carry than Malik Davis (with at least five carries).
- The Gators are causing a sack, turnover, or tackle for loss on 18.37% of opponent plays — ranking 24th in the country.
- The Gators are only allowing opponents to score 57.14% of the time they enter the red zone (8th in the country). They have only allowed one touchdown.
- The Gators have only allowed one red zone touchdown in the last three games (10 attempts combined).
- The Gators are only allowing opponents to score 2.56 points per trip inside the 40-yard line (10th in the country).
- The Gators have 8th ranked defense in the first quarter and the 2nd ranked defense in the third quarter in the country.
- The Gators defense is stuffing opposing running backs 22.4% of the time (16th in the country).
- For a group of cornerbacks that are quite young, they are still only allowing a 51% completion rate – 22nd in the country. And after zero passes broken up against Michigan, the Gators had seven pass break-ups against Tennessee.