Pat Dooley grades the Gators after a tough 45-38 loss in Tallahassee to FSU, breaking UF’s three-game winning streak against the Seminoles.
First half: After getting stuffed on fourth down on the first drive, the Gators started making plays. Especially Ricky Pearsall, who caught four passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. The Gators ran for 130 yards and UF converted on 5-of-7 third down tries.
Second half: The third quarter was abysmal until Trevor Etienne broke that long run. The weird series that allowed Florida to pull within one score was a struggle but ended up with a TD. The Gators had a chance at the end, but just couldn’t get one more big play.
For the game: On the one hand, Florida scored 38 points, which you would think would be enough. But it was not. Anthony Richardson’s 9-for-27 with three touchdowns line is an odd one for sure.
First half: Even though they forced Jordan Travis into 12 incompletions in 17 tries, the Gators were hardly stellar. They allowed 299 yards of offense and 13 first downs. Florida did come up with a turnover early, but should have had two (Trey Dean dropped a pick).
Second half: Every time FSU needed something to happen on offense, it happened on offense. Particularly frustrating was the 65-yard drive for the game winner that lasted only seven plays.
For the game: Florida’s defense allowed 497 yards and 45 points. There is no way to make that seem anything less than smelly. Travis is an elite player and the Seminoles have had real success with the portal. But get more than a couple of stops.
SPECIAL TEAMS C
First half: Adam Mihalek had what might have been his best half of the year with a 41-yard field goal that gave Florida the lead at the half and five kickoffs that went deep into the end zone. Trevor Etienne had a nice 48-yard return on his first kickoff return.
Second half: Not much of a factor although having Pearsall back on punt returns was a blessing Florida could have used a week earlier. Then, the bad thing happened when Mihalek’s kickoff went out of bounds in a 38-all game. Inexcusable.
For the game: I am not going to complain about special teams this week. That bad kickoff was big, but it was really the only mistake. It must get better next year if Florida is going to get back to being relevant again.
Should it be an F? I mean, they lost to FSU and that’s never a good thing in any sport. But the Seminoles were 10-point favorites and Florida was missing so many players. Still, any team with this defense deserves an F. That said, there was no quit on this team this season.
It just wasn’t good enough to play with so many mistakes in so many close games.