“Beat the teams you’re supposed to beat, the way you’re supposed to beat them”.
It is a mantra I have uttered countless times and something that for the first time in many years, I have been able to say numerous times in a Florida Gators football season.
Sure, beating Idaho is not something worth bragging about – they were -39.5 point favorites – but they looked good doing it, and most importantly, came out uninjured.
Florida now faces its most important game of the year. A rivalry game against a team with everything to play for – literally 41 years of winning record history staring them in the face. Win, and you go to a NY6 Bowl, while one of your biggest rivals ends up 5-7 and bowl-less. Lose, and the season probably ends slightly better than a wash.
This is the most important game in a while for the Florida Gators and we will see if they rise to the challenge, a game they should win (they are currently -5 favorites). Will Feleipe Franks limit his mistakes? Can the defensive line get pressure? Will the Gators be able to put it all together and beat Florida State for the first time since UF freshmen were in 7th grade?
Today’s article, because you can’t derive much out of the win against Idaho will have two sections. The first will look at some interesting things that happened in the Idaho game and the second section will be a comparison of the Gators through 11 games over the last seasons.
- The Gators have had three games with a greater than 70.0% completion percentage, which is as many as they’ve had in the last three seasons combined.
- The Gators have three straight games without throwing an interception, which hasn’t happened since 2015.
- The Gators added five passing touchdowns, which brings the Gators total up to 24 on the season – the most since 2009.
- The Gators have six players with more than 200 yards receiving – something they haven’t done since 2010.
- With Jachai Polite at 8.5 sacks, he ties Dante Fowler’s 2014 total and one behind Carlos Dunlap’s 9.5 for most in the last 10 years.
Now, let’s look at the season, and the most important stats, in my opinion, over last season.
Here are some total National Rankings comparisons:
|Category||2017 National Rank||2018 National Rank|
|Passing down sack Rate (offense)||98||1|
|Points per play (Offense)||97||45|
|Yards per play (offense)||104||50|
|Points Per trip inside 40-yard line||49||30|
|3rd down defense||22||71|
|opponent TD % in the red zone||69||34|
|Punt return yards||109||25|
|Punt Return Success rate||129||68|
|Field goal percentage||1||11|
Mostly, good right? Hell, even sometimes incredible. Sure, third-down defense needs some improvement. But that was mostly three games skewing that percentage (39.29%) – Kentucky 9-of-13, Georgia 8-of-14, and Missouri 11-of-18 – oh, those were the three losses…
A few other notes:
- Feleipe Franks sack rate in 2017: 11.2%. In 2018: 3.9%
- The Gators have three running backs with more than 50 carries on the season averaging more than 5.0 yards per carry for the first time since 2011.
- Kadarius Toney averaging 11.1 yards per carry is the most by a Gator player with more than 10 carries since Solomon Patton in 2012.