We are just days removed from the long, game-winning pass from Gator quarterback Feleipe Franks to Tyrie Cleveland. And no one has watched the final play that crushed the Tennessee Volunteers more than Cleveland.
Weeks before the college football season began, wide receiver Antonio Callaway was suspended indefinitely. As a result, it was a next-man-up scenario for the Gators, at the receiver position. It has become evident that Tyrie Cleveland is the go-to guy now. Despite the Gators’ early struggles on offense, Cleveland has found times to shine. His biggest moment obviously being the 63-yard catch to beat Tennessee. In his two games this year, Cleveland has nine receptions for 149 yards. To put it in perspective, Cleveland has reeled in nine of Franks’ 23 completions this season.
In the offseason, Cleveland worked to perfect his craft by making his route running smoother and getting stronger. He credits teammates, such as Brandon Powell and Josh Hammond for his improvement from freshman to sophomore year.
Offense is looking up
After the season opener against Michigan, many Gator fans became concerned with their team’s offense. The Gators lost 33-17, but if it were not for the two pick-sixes by the Gator defense, the final score would have been much uglier. Florida finished the game with 0.4 rushing yards per attempt and just 182 total yards on offense compared to Michigan’s 4.4 yards per rush paired with 433 total yards on offense.
Fortunately, for the Gators, the conference opener against Tennessee showed signs of hope. The first three quarters were quite stale as it was a game of field goals until the final quarter came. Going into the fourth quarter, it was 6-3 in favor of the Gators. Then, the floodgates opened with a pick-six by Gator corner C.J. Henderson. This jump-started the offense as the Gators put up 20 points in the fourth quarter, 13 of them being from the offense. The final stats included 380 total yards, and Cleveland believes the offense will only improve from here.
30 years and counting
Looking forward to the next game for the Gators, they will take on the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats. Tyrie Cleveland will look to generate more offense and extend the Gators streak to 31 consecutive wins against the Wildcats at 7:30 Saturday.