The Florida Gators ran their record at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell
Stadium to 2 – 0 thanks to a 21 – 14 victory over the Florida State Seminoles
Despite missing two first half field goals, the Gators took a 14 – 0 lead to halftime, then survived a 14 point rally by FSU with a 75 yard touchdown drive on their first possession of the fourth quarter to win their third consecutive game over the Seminoles for the first time since the early/mid eighties.
Florida now sets its sights on a meeting with Arkansas in the SEC Championship game and a chance to claim it’s first SEC Championship since 2000.
IMPRESSIVE: Chris Leak, Percy Harvin, Andre Caldwell, Dallas Baker, Reggie Nelson,
SOLID: The defensive line, linebackers, secondary
NEED WORK: The offensive line, running backs, field goal kicker, medical and training staff to get Harvin and Wynn healthy by next week.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Defensive tackles Steven Harris and Joe Cohen led a defensive line that, except for one 34-yard run in the third quarter, completely stuffed FSU’s offensive line. The Seminoles finished with just 46 rushing yards as the Gator defensive line recorded 5 tackles for losses, 2 sacks, and a batted pass. The Gators had several opportunities to get additional sacks as the FSU quarterbacks were under constant pressure. GRADE A
LINEBACKERS: Brandon Siler, Earl Everett, and Brian Crum each provided a play here or there but nothing spectacular as the Gator linebacking corps was solid in support of the defensive line. Siler overplayed the 34-yard run by Lorenzo Booker to setup FSU’s first score. Otherwise the Florida linebackers were where they were supposed to be when they were suppose to be there. GRADE A-
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Reggie Nelson anchored a secondary that came up with three interceptions, one each by Nelson, Ryan Smith, and Tremaine McCollum, while limiting FSU to just a total of 189 yards through the air. The Seminoles had a distinct height advantage with their receivers and used it to score one of their touchdowns when 6 foot 6 inch Greg Carr was able to out jump Ryan Smith for the score. Despite the height advantage Florida’s secondary allowed just 18 completions on 43 attempts and generally avoided any big plays by FSU GRADE B
OFFENSIVE LINE: The good news is the offensive line allowed just one sack for just a one-yard loss. The bad news is they couldn’t run block for squat. Florida produced 105 yards on the ground, but take away Percy Harvin’s 86 yards in the first half and Florida’s ground attack was virtually useless. The offensive line allowed way to much penetration at the point of attack as the Gators had 7 plays that resulted in tackles for losses. GRADE D+
RECEIVERS: With Florida’s running game in neutral, it was left to Percy Harvin, Andre Caldwell, Dallas Baker, Jemalle Cornelius and Cornelius Ingram to provide the offensive firepower. Harvin led the ground attack, before leaving in the second quarter with a neck injury, rushing for 86 yards on 4 carries, including a 41-yard dash to record the Gators second score. Caldwell and Baker did the most damage through the air. Caldwell had 8 catches for 124 yards and a scintillating 66-yard touchdown reception on the bubble screen to open the scoring. Baker had 5 catches for 84-yards, non bigger that the 25-yard game winning reception in the fourth quarter. Cornelius and Ingram added another 7 reception for 73 yards to provide the balance in Florida’s air attack. GRADE A+
RUNNING BACKS: When Deshawn Wynn left the game with a shoulder in the second quarter Florida’s running attack went from ineffective to irrelevant. With little help from the offensive line Wynn and backup Kestahn Moore rushed 11 times for 15 yards. GRADE D
QUARTERBACK: With the running game reduced to irrelevant, the score tied 14 – 14, and momentum on the side of FSU, Florida’s chance of winning rested on the right arm of Chris Leak. Chris Leak came up big directing the Gators on a 74-yard touchdown drive in which he completed 6 of 7 passes for 79 yards including the game wining scoring toss of 25-yards to Dallas Baker. Leak finished the day with 21 completions on 34 attempts for 283 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Tim Tebow had his least effective day of the season rushing just 4 times for just 3 yards as the Seminoles stacked the line of scrimmage anytime Tebow entered the game. GRADE A
KICKING/SPECIALTY: After several weeks of stellar play, kicking and special teams laid an egg. Chris Hetland’s kicking woes continued as he missed his only to field goal attempts. Coverage teams gave up way to much yardage, particularly on kickoffs. Punter Eric Wilbur averaged just 41.5 yards a punt. Return specialist Brandon James had his troubles as well recording just 55 return yards a week after posting nearly 200 yards. GRADE D
COACHING: Offensive coordinator Dan Mullen had the offense moving in the first half as he used runs by Harvin and the passing game to keep FSU off-balance. After Harvin went down with an injury and a poor kickoff return to start the second half that left the Gators with poor field position for most of the third quarter the Gators offense sputtered. Defensive co-coordinators Charlie Strong and Greg Mattison clearly wanted to stop the run and did that as the Gators allowed just 46 rushing yards. By mixing coverages they were also able to keep FSU’s quarterbacks confused allowing very little success except in the third quarter. Special teams seemed to have issues all day. GRADE Offense B, Defense B+, Special Teams D
FANS: Television game for me as I was unable to attend, so… GRADE I
FSU’s safety Myron Rolle can chill with the smack talk, he is still chasing Percy Harvin and can’t catch Andre Caldwell either. Speaking of Harvin and Caldwell, both of those kids have speed to burn. If someone had told me at the beginning of the season the Gators would be 11-1 at the end of the season and have a chance to play for an SEC championship, I would have told them, given the Gators schedule, they were crazy, but here we are. I’ll see ya’ll in Atlanta, here piggy piggy, CHOMP! OVERALL GRADE: B
The Armchair Quarterback
Later GATORS, after while the rest!