The Florida football team had a chip on its shoulder going on the road for the first time this season. The Gators had hopes of proving that they are among the SEC elite, and for a while that’s what they did.
The first half of today’s game could be summed up in two words: touchdowns and turnovers. Turnovers are what kept Florida in the game, which is actually where all Florida’s points came from. The four Alabama turnovers marked the most in a home game for the Tide since 2011. But that didn’t stop the Crimson Tide from rolling; third ranked Alabama was able to pull away with a 42-21 victory in Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
The defensive coverage issues from last week’s win over Kentucky resurfaced today for Florida. Specifically, the match up of the week was Alabama’s Amari Cooper against Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III. Hargreaves made some nice plays on Cooper and did not cover him on every play but for the most part Cooper remained difficult to cover as he caught 10 passes in the game.
Gator coach Will Muschamp was not pleased with the way his defense gave up big plays.
“We just can’t give up plays defensively like we did and we busted the coverage in the first play of the game we get in a bad match-up on a double move. They stick us down the sideline, so, you can’t just give up those kinds of plays against a team like that. Then offensively, six plays in the third quarter – we can’t stay on the field. That 16 play drive took the air out of us defensively.”
Alabama outgained UF 645-200 Saturday and the 645 yards given up by Florida is the most given up in a game in school history, breaking the previous record of 629 by Nebraska set in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl.
Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel struggled in the game too, completing only 9 of 28 passes for 93 yards. One of the key players in last week’s game was sophomore receiver Demarcus Robinson was held to only two receptions for 14 yards. Much of this was due to Florida’s failures on third down, as the Gators converted only 2 of 13 times in those situations.
Driskel commented after the game on the performance of the offense.
“Yeah, we didn’t capitalize on the opportunities we got. Defense did a really good job of getting us the ball in some turnovers but we didn’t capitalize and didn’t make the plays when they were there. [Alabama’s] a really good team so hat’s off to them today.”
With this loss, the Gators fall to 2-1, with a 1-1 SEC record, and Florida has now lost four straight contests to the Tide dating back to 2008. Next up for the Gators will be the Tennessee Volunteers on October 4th.
To hear the audio from Driskel and Muschamp click the link below: