When preparing these reviews, I always hope that there will be some kind of hidden insight in the numbers that you wouldn’t necessarily get from watching the game live. That wasn’t the case this week. There are things that will help you put more precise words to what you saw, but the story of the game is exactly what you thought it was. Florida had a chance to win this game but couldn’t for a handful of reasons that aren’t new.
This review is based on Bill Connelly’s Five Factors of winning, and sacks are counted as pass plays.
A brief preamble
When South Carolina beat Georgia, this was more or less the formula:
- Don’t give up big plays. Make the Bulldogs have to grind out all of their drives with the idea that eventually they will stall out.
- Put enough pressure on Jake Fromm that he becomes uncomfortable and makes mistakes.
- On offense, take advantage of all opportunities afforded to you, because there won’t be many.
Keep that in mind as you read on because Florida basically was doing the same thing.
Everyone has a different definition for what counts as an “explosive play”, but I go with runs of at least ten yards and passes of at least 20 yards.
|Team||Runs 10+||Pct.||Passes 20+||Pct.||Explosive Pct.|
This is the closest thing to an unqualified win in many of these categories. Not allowing big plays was the key, and with one glaring exception of the 52-yard touchdown pass, Florida did a good job of it. The Bulldogs did hit on a few because they’re too good not to, but especially not allowing explosive gains on the ground was a key to the game. The Gators largely did that.
Florida didn’t generate any big plays on the ground, but as Dan Mullen said after the game, the run game wasn’t a big part of the game plan anyway. The explosive pass rate is well above the 5.9% rate the Bulldogs had been allowing going into the game, so that’s a win.
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 teams were about equally as efficient, but the success plays were not evenly distributed across downs. To wit, here is Florida:
|Down||Run SR||Pass SR||Overall SR|
Throwing on first down was the best thing Florida had going. In fact, all five passes of 20+ yards came on first. The deeper into downs the Gators went, the worse things got as a whole.
Meanwhile, this is Georgia’s version of this table. I took out the final three plays as D’Andre Swift ran three times to kill the clock because those plays are beside the point.
|Down||Run SR||Pass SR||Overall SR|
UGA only experienced success on first and second down about a third of the time. Oh, but third down was their money down, and Todd Grantham had no answers. Joe Burrow hit 75% success rate on passing plays against UF. That’s the best comparison I can make to the Bulldogs’ third down success.
|Team||1Q SR||2Q SR||3Q SR||4Q SR|
For some reason, Mullen decided to revert to the original offensive line group at the beginning of the game. It lasted for a quarter, and it was Florida’s least efficient quarter. I don’t understand it; not only has Richard Gouraige generally played better than Chris Bleich has, but Brett Heggie has looked better at right guard than left guard. At least three plays in that quarter failed because of the line, and the guards were at least partially at issue on all of them.
Things didn’t get worlds better with Gouraige in the second drive of the second quarter, but the Gators did hit a couple of big plays to get to 40% success rate on the series and set up a field goal. Things then got better in the second half.
Efficiency by Player
|Player||Comp. Pct.||Pass Eff.||Yards/Att||Sacks||Pass SR|
Fromm got a lot of the focus after the game for understandable reasons, but Trask held his own against a tough UGA defense. His lack of experience showed up again with the sacks he took, particularly the second one where he lost 19 yards, but at least he’s no longer fumbling nearly every time he goes down.
One of the most important numbers here is the zero sacks for Fromm. Florida could barely figure out ways to pressure him at any point at all, much less get him on the ground.
I’m not surprised at the fact that the two best route runners (Jefferson, Swain) and the two biggest physical mismatches (Pitts, Grimes) are the ones who ate in this game. The passing game to the running backs was a wash, though.
Again, Mullen said the run wasn’t really a part of the game plan. It showed.
I don’t get sending Jones in for his one carry, and I don’t get the play they used Toney on. The latter was a jet sweep using Pitts and Krull as lead blockers, but the tight ends were in three-point stances tight with the line. Toney is faster than both those guys, and he took the handoff at speed because it was a jet sweep. I don’t know how this thing went in practice, but it was a disaster with Toney pushing Pitts down because he was impatient trying to get to the edge.
|Team||Avg. Starting Position||Plays in Opp. Territory||Pct. Of Total|
The Gators let the field position battle get away from them some because the defense couldn’t get UGA off the field on third down. It could’ve been a lot worse, though.
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|
Both teams went at a slow pace, and both teams had some long drives. Therefore, the total number of drives was small.
It’s a real shame too, because 2.43 points per drive is easily the most UGA has allowed this year. Next is Notre Dame getting 1.55. I mentioned taking advantage of the few available openings, and UF did that.
Of course, the 3.00 points per drive the Gators allowed ties Vandy for the second-most allowed by a P5 opponent to Georgia this year.
Zero by either side, although UF did turn it over on downs once. Much like the LSU game, you could sense that Florida wasn’t going to win unless it forced a turnover. Exactly like the LSU game, that momentum-changing turnover never came. The Gators are tied with Alabama (in eight games) and Mississippi State for the SEC lead with 18 turnovers forced, but they have a goose egg in the two losses.
The inability to get a turnover like in the LSU game isn’t the only parallel to past games. We’ve got a pretty good bead on what the Florida team is by now.
The drive count is almost the same as the Towson game. The Gators couldn’t get those Tigers off the field, allowing 8-for-15 (53.3%) third down conversions. As a result, both teams had only eight possessions in the whole game. UF also allowed 8-of-15 third downs to Kentucky to go with 12-of-18 (66.7%) against Georgia with the next-highest percentage going to South Carolina (7-of-18, 38.9%). Either the third down defense works well and keeps the opponent under 40%, or it’s broken and allows north of 50%.
Florida apparently has no hurry-up offense, at least not with Trask. Down two scores with 5:43 to go against LSU, Florida did score a touchdown but needed 15 plays and 4:54 to do it. That left just 45 seconds on the clock even before the onside kick attempt.
Down two scores with 10:01 to go against Georgia, Florida did score a touchdown but needed 17 plays and 6:50 to do it. That left 3:11 left on the clock with only two timeouts, meaning that even if they got an improbable (given how the game had gone) three-and-out, they’d have had almost no time for the final desperation drive. After preseason talk of pushing the tempo, Florida appears unable to actually do that. Maybe Mullen only trusted Feleipe Franks with that package.
The real strange thing was all the coaching blunders on the Florida side. Mullen had to burn three timeouts due to either the wrong players or wrong play or both going in, and they still got a delay of game after a sack and an ineligible receiver downfield penalty when one of two senior receivers lined up incorrectly. The initial OL lineup didn’t make sense, nor did the jet sweep to Toney. The third down defense was atrocious and remained so all game. Coaches are human too and will have some bad games, but having one in a hugely important game coming after an open date boggles the mind.
Despite the mistakes from the sideline and the bad third down execution on both sides of the ball, the Gators still only lost by one score. The final margin was the touchdown win by UGA that Vegas had roughly set the 6.5-point line at. Take an enormous step back from the proceedings, and the final shouldn’t be discouraging. Florida hung with a considerably more talented team and could’ve won with a few tweaks here and there.
But as I just catalogued, the tweaks would’ve had to make Florida into something different than it’s been this year. What we saw on Saturday, for good and ill, is what this year’s team is.