If you’ve been waiting for a return of dominant Florida football, you saw it on Saturday night. If not for a pair of one-play defensive breakdowns, one arguably enabled by offensive pass interference, this could’ve been a 63-21 final. As it was, a score of 63-35 goes down into the record books but doesn’t quite capture everything. This game was about the best as UF’s offense can look as presently composed. Here’s how the numbers show it.
This review is based on Bill Connelly’s Five Factors of winning, and sacks are counted as pass plays. The review excludes the mini-drive Arkansas had to close out the first half. I also cut it off after UF’s last touchdown because I wanted to capture Emory Jones’s full drive but it was garbage time already when it happened.
Everyone has a different definition for what counts as an “explosive play”, but I go with runs of at least 12 yards and passes of at least 16 yards.
|Team||Runs 12+||Pct.||Passes 16+||Pct.||Explosive Pct.|
Here is the one phase where Arkansas held up decently well, with a little needed context. The Razorbacks either scored or punted so quickly that they only ran 40 plays in the parts of the game I included in this review. They had ten series, so that’s just four plays per drive.
One of the Hogs’ explosive runs was a 14-yard carry from Franks on 3rd & 15, and UF got the fourth down stop on the subsequent play. That one of the six didn’t hurt so badly. But one other explosive run and both explosive passes went for touchdowns, so the relatively modest 15% overall rate still contained 60% of the team’s scoring.
Florida did what Florida does. The run game was good at avoiding getting stuffed for the most part but just wasn’t explosive. The passing game was pretty explosive as usual, though this is actually the lowest such rate on the year. The main reason it’s so low is that Jones didn’t have an explosive pass completion.
Kyle Trask was explosive in eight of 25 qualifying pass attempts — he had five attempts closer to pay dirt than the 16-yard-line — for a superlative 32.0%. Only his performance against Texas A&M (yes, really) was more explosive on the year.
The overall explosive rate is lower than I expected, but UF ran 80 plays in this review’s sample set — double what Arkansas did — and more than half of those were runs. There’s your explanation.
The main measure here is success rate. Watch this short video if you need to brush up on it.
|Team||Run SR||Pass SR||Overall SR||Red Zone SR|
The Razorbacks were above-average efficient, but that was mainly on first or second down. They finished just 3-of-10 on third downs for the entire game with the one failed fourth down attempt I mentioned above.
And though the UF run attack wasn’t explosive, this the fourth time it’s been at or above 50% in success rate. This here was the best rate of the season, beating out the 63% against South Carolina. If UF can pair a rushing attack that gets success plays on two out of every three carries with a pass attack from Trask that goes explosive one out of every three drop backs, it’ll be impossible to beat.
|Team||1Q SR||2Q SR||3Q SR||4Q SR|
There was not a ton of lockdown defense happening in the second half. Sacks and an unforced fumble are the primary reasons why drives didn’t end in points then. The UF defense did a good job of keeping the Hogs inefficient before the break, and really they only had crisp, extended scoring drives to start each half. One play, 80+ yard drives accounted for the two other scores before the final meaningless score.
Efficiency by Player
|Player||Comp. Pct.||Pass Eff.||Yards/Att||Sacks||Pass SR|
I’m glad for Franks that he got to have a good game in his return to Gainesville. His two long touchdowns pad the stats considerably — he’s down to 6.0 yards per attempt without them in the plays I analyzed — but he didn’t turn it over and was accurate and efficient.
Trask had his first real Burrow/Tua game in my opinion. He was in full command of everything until the lead was so gigantic that he made a couple of throws he shouldn’t have knowing he had cushion (he did that against South Carolina too). He was straight-up unfair with his decision making and ball placement. It didn’t take long before I got excited just watching his throwing motion, because I knew he was about to do something remarkable on more throws than not.
Trask’s passing efficiency, for what it’s worth, was higher against the Hogs than any of Burrow’s performances a year ago. Tua only beat it against P5 competition versus one of the utterly helpless Chad Morris Arkansas teams in 2018, and he put up an utterly absurd 394.3 (the box score to that game is a bloodbath).
Some Gator fans have been wondering where Grimes has been all year. The answer is “primarily drawing extra attention from safeties”, so he’s not had a game like this yet. Arkansas, like Georgia, spent a lot of effort in trying to contain Kadarius Toney instead, but it doesn’t have the players UGA does to keep both Toney and Grimes subdued.
Henderson had a terrific bounce-back game after a bad outing against the Bulldogs, and Keon Zipperer showed that UF still has a weapon at tight end with Kyle Pitts out. Zipperer is visibly not the same kind of player as Pitts is, but he can cause plenty of defensive headaches of his own.
The running backs didn’t have nearly the game they did a week ago as receivers, but they didn’t need to.
While the backs were good, this is as much a win for the O-line as anything. Arkansas plays a lot of defensive back-heavy sets, which practically begged Florida to run a lot. Dan Mullen obliged, and everyone but Toney in his single carry had an efficient day on the ground. If the Gators couldn’t run well against a bunch of five-man boxes, it’d be an ominous sign.
|Team||Avg. Starting Position||Plays in Opp. Territory||Pct. Of Total|
The ASP is what you want to see, and there weren’t any outlier drives that greatly skewed the averages. The percentages are unusually disparate, but Arkansas hitting three touchdowns with a combined one play in Gator territory on those three series explains a lot of it. For the purposes of this phase of the game, I’ll point out that you can’t allow touchdowns of 83 and 82 yards without backing up a team inside its own 20-yard-line.
A trip inside the 40 is a drive where the team has a first down at the opponent’s 40 or closer or where it scores from further out than that. A red zone trip is a drive with a first down at the opponent’s 20 or closer.
|Team||Drives||Trips Inside 40||Points||Red Zone Trips||Points||Pts./Drive|
If a team can get above 4.00 points per drive, it’s having a great day. Finishing closer to six than five is amazing. The Gators could’ve gotten even more if the facemask on the failed fourth down early on had been flagged. They probably get at least a field goal if not another touchdown there. Only the punt drive on which Trask took a ten-yard sack on second down was an honest-to-goodness defensive stop for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas cashed in all of its scoring opportunities for touchdowns. It just couldn’t generate near enough of them to keep up. Few teams could when Trask and the Florida offense plays like it did on Saturday. Do note that the Hogs’ fifth and final touchdown is outside the bounds of this review.
For the parts of the game included here, UF won the turnover battle 1-0. Zach Carter scooped up the game’s only fumble and returned it for a touchdown. Anthony Richardson did throw a pick in garbage time that wasn’t entirely his fault. Both Ethan White on a pull and Lorenzo Lingard after play action whiffed on blocking a blitzing linebacker who hit Richardson’s arm during the throw. With time, he’ll gauge that play better and not try to force it through the contact.
The lost decade of Gator football had some memorable wins, like over LSU in 2012 and 2016 or Ole Miss in 2015. The latter had the largest margin of victory over a good team for that stretch, but four Rebel turnovers aided the cause. The Gators gained just 355 yards and didn’t crack 40 points.
This game on Saturday, though. This was a return of the Gators peaking as a merciless buzzsaw. We haven’t see them morph into that form since 2008.
Make no mistake: the 2020 offense with Trask measures up with the best in school history. It’s right now in the debate for second-best along with the 2008, 2007, 2001, and 1995 offenses. If it has reached a new level that it can sustain going forward with the first half performance against Georgia and this demolition of Arkansas, it’ll challenge 1996 for the top spot.
Arkansas is not a bad team. It doesn’t have a bad defense. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, it could do to slow down Trask.
I don’t know what kind of longevity this win will have. A lot depends on what happens from here on out. Savor it for now, though. The numbers back up what you saw. This was about as dominant an offensive performance as you’ll ever see without it being some cupcake game.