In Florida’s 30-10 win over Arkansas, the Gators last offensive drive of the first quarter bled into the second and ended with a Brad Phillips field goal with 11:11 remaining until halftime. Never wanting to be outdone by the offense, the dominant Gator defense responded with Loucheiz Purifoy’s first career interception, which he took to the house giving Florida its first lead of the game at 10-7. Arkansas’ next offensive drive ate up 3:30 of the clock, which is why we pick the film analysis with just over 5:03 remaining before half.
The Gators started this drive after Trey Burton’s ill-advised decision to let a punt bounce rather than calling for a fair catch. Florida’s punt return unit has really struggled this season and the unit caused Florida to start this drive pinned back on their own eight-yard line.
1st Drive: 3 plays – minus 6 yards – 2:16
How does it even take more than two minutes to run three plays and lose six yards?
The Gators came out with a run heavy formation with Tevin Westbrook and Trey Burton lined up just outside the left tackle and Hunter Joyer right behind them in a bunch formation. Max Garcia and Joyer pulled from left to right as the Gators ran power with Valdez Showers in the backfield. Jon Halapio pancaked his man but the rest of the Razorback defense did a good job of patiently following the play and Showers was wrapped up one yard behind the line of scrimmage.
On second down, offensive coordinator Brent Pease dialed up a bubble screen to Demarcus Robinson. The play was set up nicely but didn’t work when Quinton Dunbar was unable to get in front of his man to block.
As you see here, Florida lines up in its “10” or “jets” personnel (1RB, 0 TE, 4WR) but Murphy motions Showers out wide and is all alone in the backfield. You can see Dunbar’s assignment is to block the cornerback, Damon Mitchell. Arkansas has linebacker Braylon Mitchell over Robinson. If Dunbar can take Mitchell out of the play, the Gators will have Jon Harrison, Halapio and Tyler Moore coming over to block and Robinson only has to make a linebacker miss.
The problem begins when Mitchell (a freshman) reads the screen early and takes off after Robinson almost immediately after the snap. Because of Mitchell’s recognition, Dunbar can’t get over to him in time and the play is over before it even begins.
Robinson is hit immediately after catching the pass and dragged down. A lot of fans had a problem with the play call here, but if this had been blocked properly, it could have been a huge play.
After the failed screen the Gators went into safety mode and loaded the line with two tight ends, creating a seven-man front. Knowing that Florida was simply going to run the ball and concede defeat on the drive, Arkansas loaded the box and big 6-1, 235-pound DeMarcus Hodge blew up the play for no gain.
Drive Grade: F
We probably could have skipped this breakdown and just thrown the grade down after the drive summary. Poor execution on these three plays.
2nd Drive: 6 plays – 75 yards – 1:22 – Touchdown
The offense only had to wait 1:05 to get back onto the field as the Gator defense forced a quick three-and-out.
Please note that the offense stayed in their “10” or “jets” personnel this entire drive. This one running back, four wide receiver formation has had a lot of success since Murphy took over at quarterback. The setup spreads out the defense and allows Murphy the opportunity to make plays with his feet while opening up the short-to-intermediate passing game.
The offensive line provided solid blocking, save for Jon Halapio on second down, and Mack Brown picked up 11-yards on the first two plays of the drive. The line provided Murphy a nice clean pocket on the third play of the drive but the Razorback coverage was tight so Murphy decided to take off. He picked up a quick 15-yards and crossed midfield with a minute left until halftime.
A new set of downs brought out Murphy’s worst play of the game. Even though the play’s result wasn’t bad, this is something that Murphy needs to watch 100 times and hammer into his mind before the Gators take on LSU in Baton Rouge.
As you can see, Tyler Moore gets beat by Trey Flowers immediately after the ball is snapped.
With Flowers draped on top of him, Murphy needs to know the situation here. Yes, the clock is not Florida’s friend here as the Gators are trying to put points on the board before halftime but Murphy still has all three time outs as his disposal. A sack here isn’t the end of the drive.
Rather than taking the sack, Murphy tries to do too much. It’s a criticism that Jeff Driskel heard a lot, but not something that we have seen from Murphy. As Flowers picks Murphy up before slamming him to the turf, Murphy tries to throw a pass to Mack Brown. Just look at where the ball is and how potentially devastating this play could have been.
The play was called dead before the pass attempt and a sack was awarded but this kind of ball security can’t happen.
Mack Brown carried the rock on the next play for five yards to set up a third and long on the wrong side of the field.
The next play is not only the play of the half, but also the play of the game. Solomon Patton’s 51-yard touchdown catch right before halftime changed the complexion of the game and, like Muschamp said, was devastating for the Razorback defense.
It was a third-and-14 and the Gators had to pick up the first down to keep their scoring chances alive.
On this play, Patton runs a curl route just shy of the first down mark. Murphy scrambles amid a deteriorating pocket and hits Patton. He turns up the field immediately and makes the first Razorback defender miss.
After making one man miss Patton is transferred back to his high school days of running track. He cuts to the outside and beats safeties Eric Bennett and Alan Turner to the endzone.
Brad Phillips added the extra point and the play gave Florida a 10-point lead heading into the locker room.
Drive Grade: A
This drive was devastating to the Razorbacks. Florida did a good job of advancing the ball before Patton was able to take it the distance.