Pat Dooley grades the Gators after Florida’s season-deflating 31-24 loss at Vanderbilt:
First half: Florida struggled to run the ball against a defense that ranked at the bottom of the SEC in rushing defense. Anthony Richardson ran the ball zero times. Hard to figure. The Gators had a bad snap account for minus-18 yards and finished the half with 17 yards rushing.
Second half: Because the Gators got into a hole and because he only ran once after running on the first two plays of the second half, he came out throwing and made some beauties. He also missed several open receivers and his first turnover in four games was not a good one.
For the game: Richardson ended up throwing for 400 yards, but the offense was part of the problem on a day full of them. Florida averaged 2.1 yards a rush as Vandy sold out on the tailbacks. And Florida stopped trying to run the ball.
First half: It wasn’t that bad even though Florida trailed. The defense gave up 142 yards and the first points it had allowed in eight quarters. But after getting a three-and-out on Vandy’s first series, Florida allowed 4 of the next six to be converted.
Second half: After Florida scored to cut the lead to 14-12, the Gators gave up touchdowns on the next two Vanderbilt possessions. I thought we were over that. Instead, the defense did come up with what could have been a huge interception, but let Vanderbilt believe it could win.
For the game: Seven third down conversions? Three touchdown passes by a guy who can’t throw? Huge personal foul penalties? Vandy rushing for 175 yards? Ventrell Miller getting tossed for targeting and now will miss the first half next week? It could have been worse, but it was bad.
SPECIAL TEAMS F
First half: Oh, my. Well, we wondered if special teams would impact a game soon and it certainly happened when Jason Marshall Jr., returning punts because the top two guys are out with injuries, misjudged a punt and it ended up being a touchdown on a recovery in the end zone.
Second half: We all know that Jeremy Crawshaw is a weapon and he showed it again. And I know it ended up not meaning anything, but a missed extra point just can’t happen in a one score game. Neither can short kickoffs that lead to good field position.
For the game: It is to the point where you are happy if nothing happens on special teams because it’s better than the alternative. This all goes back to a shaky roster that has been depleted by injuries. At least Adam Mihalek made both of his field goals.
Look, we all know it can be tough playing at 11 a.m. local time on a cold day in front of a small crowd. But good teams rise to the occasion and good coaches get teams ready to play. Billy Napier had his worst day as Florida’s coach after building up so much equity over the last few weeks. Credit goes to Vandy, but Florida gifted this game to the Commodores as much as anything.