Pat Dooley’s Grades (Gators vs UTAH)

Pat Dooley grades the Gators after their 24-11 loss at No. 14 Utah on Thursday night:


Offense D-

First half: Utah came into the game with the goal of shutting down the running game and the Utes did just that. Florida had only 19 rushing yards in the first half and Montrell Johnson only got one carry. Florida was 0-for-6 on third down.

Second half: The Gators started moving up and down the field, but continued to struggle in the red zone. Graham Mertz threw wide of Ricky Pearsall early in the second half and the resulting pick set up Utah’s only points in the second half.

For the game: Did it feel like you were watching a replay of last year when the Gators would find ways to screw up nice possessions by struggling in the red zone? Florida had more fourth-down conversions (two) than third down (one). That’s not good.


Defense B-

First half: Other than that first play – a 71-yard touchdown pass – Florida’s defense wasn’t that bad in the first half. The Gators gave up 10 cheap points thanks to poor special teams play.

Second half: The Gators allowed only five yards in the third quarter and 31 yards in the second half total. The defense was not the problem in this game, but Utah did go conservative after getting the 24-3 lead.

For the game: There were good things that happened in the second half defensively against a team playing without its starting quarterback. The UF defense limited Utah to 3-of-13 in third-down conversions.


Special teams F

First half: What a disaster. After a good start in terms of coverage, the Gators fell apart. A missed field goal (get used to that), a bad punt and having two guys on the field with the same number, I mean, did these guys practice special teams?

Second half: The special teams were not much of a factor mainly because Florida hardly punted in the second half. Eugene Wilson III catching a punt over his shoulder at his own 5 was just silly.

For the game: When you go on the road to face a top-15 team, you need to be good in every phase. But again, Florida’s special teams let the Gators down. The first half was a clinic in how not to play special teams.


Overall D

Last year, we all overreacted to Florida’s win over Utah. So, let’s be careful not to overreact to this one. The altitude wasn’t the problem here. It was Florida digging itself a hole like it did so many times last season.


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