Florida 22, Charlotte 7 Photo by Lorenzo Vasquez (UAA)

Florida Beats Charlotte, 22-7

The Charlotte 49ers lost to the Gators in the Swamp on Saturday night, with the final score of 22-7. The 49ers were 1-2 headed to Gainesville, while the Gators were 2-1 after their win against Tennessee.

First Half

The Gators started off in their first drive by scoring their only touchdown in nine plays. It was tight end Arlis Boardingham’s first touchdown as a Gator. Kicker Trey Smack came in and secured the extra point. The Gators quickly returned the ball to quarterback Graham Mertz in the first half. On the second drive, wide receiver Ricky Pearsall snagged an impressive 25-yard one-handed catch. Smack was then sent out and completed a 27-yard field goal kick to end the first quarter.

Here is what Pearsall & Shemar James had to say about this catch:

Then, starting the second quarter, Smack was sent out again to complete a 23-yard field goal kick. Midway through the second quarter, Smack kicked and completed a 54-yard field goal kick. Charlotte picked up the pace and had former Gators’ QB Jaylen Jones run the ball into the endzone. Then the extra point was scored. This would be the only points Charlotte puts up on the board the entire game.

Second Half

Both teams slowed down in the second half. The Gators managed to put together two field goals. However, The Charlotte defense forced two fumbles in the second half. When the Gators were on offense, they would make it to the red zone and would have to differ to special teams. Smack kicked two field goals, both in the 20-30 yard range—finishing the game with the final score of 22-7.

Takeaways For The Gators

This game was definitely closer than expected for Gator fans, coaches, and players. There was a heavy reliance on special teams from the Gators. The heavy hitter of the night was Smack, scoring 16 of the 22 points Florida put up. He completed five field goal attempts.

The Gators’ defense played strong throughout the entire night. They rarely let Charlotte get past the first down markers.

One area that needs to be sharpened up is the red zone offense. The Gators made it to the red zone on most of their drives; however, when it came down to completing and scoring a touchdown, the Gators fell short. This was the Gator’s biggest fault of the night. The offensive allowed several sacks from Charlotte’s defense and two fumbles from Mertz that Charlotte recovered.

Head Coach Billy Napier addresses this:

Looking Ahead:

The Gators head to Lexington, Kentucky, to take on the Wildcats. This will be the Gators second away game of the season and the long road of SEC matchups. Looking at the rest of the regular season schedule, the Gators will take on SEC teams and then wrap up the season with the FSU game. Kentucky is undefeated, and the Gators only have one loss against Utah. Kickoff for the game will be at noon.

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