Pat Dooley grades the Gators after Florida’s 45-35 loss to LSU on Tom Petty Day in the Swamp:
First half: Usually, you would have a lead with 21 first half points. Florida scored on its second offensive play of the game and took advantage of a short field for another score. Montrell Johnson continues to be a big-play back and scored twice.
Second half: After Florida climbed into a king-sized hole to start the second half, the Gators fought back to have a chance. Anthony Richardson’s 81-yard touchdown run was the kind of play that makes him special. At times.
For the game: The offense wasn’t bad and did take advantage of the short field on the muffed punt. The running game was excellent with more than 200 yards and the Gators certainly started the game off with a bang.
First half: Seriously, LSU could have taken a knee on the first two downs and converted on third. The Tigers had 306 yards and only missed on one third down attempt. And on that one, they picked up 14 yards on third-and-15 and then converted fourth down.
Second half: It was embarrassing to see a team come out to start the second half and allow a 50-yard run on the first play where four different players totally whiffed on tackles. The defense did get one stop in the half. Whoop-de-do.
For the game: I have said as the season has gone along that Florida’s defensive problems were not solvable this year. I did not expect the gators to make Jayden Daniels look like one of the great passers in college football. It’s awful how bad this defense is and some of that has to be on the coaches.
SPECIAL TEAMS B+
First half: A 47-yard kickoff return from Trevor Etienne to open the game? A recovery of a muffed punt by long snapper Rocco Underwood? A net punt of 60 yards? The first half was more like the special teams we thought Florida would be getting under Billy Napier.
Second half: The special teams weren’t a big part of the second half because LSU only punted once. Etienne is showing some real promise as a kickoff returner.
For the game: Etienne finished the game with 100 yards in kickoff returns on three tries. Crawshaw was very good on his two punts. Special teams did have its best half of the season and it allowed Florida to get off to a good start. Just not enough.
It’s sad that LSU has found four different ways to beat Florida over the last four years and now has won 10 of the last 13 against the Gators. Florida heads into the bye week with a 3-11 record in its last 14 SEC games and a 1-3 record in the conference this season. It’s a team with a long way to go and a defense that is an embarrassment.