Grading the Gators: Florida vs. LSU Tigers

This game seemed doomed from the start. Florida coming in off of a disappointing loss to a very talented Alabama team, starting a true freshman quarterback who has never taken a collegiate snap, and playing in one of the toughest venues in the country. Seems like there was really nothing Florida could do to win the game. With senior QB John Brantley out with a high ankle sprain and second string and number one freshman QB in the country Jeff Driskel out with an ankle injury the offense was going to be run-centric. The defense was torn up last week by Crimson Tide RB Trent Richardson and LSU has three backs that play like Richardson. The odds were just against the Gators from the get go. And it showed in the 41-11 loss.

Offense: D-
The only reason why the offense doesn’t get an F is because QB Jacoby Brissett played well when offensive coordinator Charlie Weis let him throw the ball and connected with WR Andre Debose for a perfectly thrown 65-yard bomb for a touchdown in the third quarter. They converted the two-point conversion with a Chris Rainey run to give Gator fans something to get excited about. Other than that, the offense was pretty terrible. The passing game was held to 100 yards even and they rushed for 113 yards for a total of 213 yards. RB Mike Gillislee finally got some playing time and led the Gators in rushing with 56 yards. Brissett ended up throwing two interceptions, both on deep throws. Florida picked up most of it’s yards after the game was out of hand. I do have to give credit to the Tiger defense also. They have the athletes to play single coverage and were able to get consistent pressure on Brissett all day.

Defense: D-
Once again, the only reason the defense doesn’t get an F is starting LB/DE Ronald Powell and S Josh Evans were out most of the game. The Gators gave up over 400 yards of total offense, didn’t take the ball away, and couldn’t stop the run once again. LSU rushed for 238 yards and passed for 215 yards for a total of 453 yards. But it was the lack of ability to stop the run that really stood out in this game. Florida allowed Tigers RB Spencer Ware to rush for 109 yards and two touchdowns while splitting carries with two other backs.

Special Teams: D-
Kicker Caleb Sturgis was a bright spot, hitting a 34-yard field goal which was his only attempt on the day. He also didn’t give up much on kick returns. Punter David Lerner punted six times for an average of 37.3 yards and a long of 42 yards. Not terrible, but not great. But the biggest snafu was allowing LSU punter Brad Wing to run 52 yards for an apparent touchdown on a fake punt. Luckily for the Gators, it was called back due to excessive celebration. To let a punter run 52 yards, basically untouched for what should have been a touchdown is atrocious. The kickoff and punt return games were largely unsuccessful as well.

Overall: D-
Get a sense of consistency? This was one of the worst efforts I’ve ever seen the Gators put out. It was the Gators worst loss since Nebraska beat them 62-24 in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl which turned out to be the national championship. Last week was also a tough week. But what Gator fans have to remember is Florida played to two best teams in the country in back to back games. They also control their own destiny in the SEC East despite these two losses. They have no depth with only 70 scholarship players and barely a two deep on the defensive front seven and offensive line. Will Muschamp is a good coach with a ton of intensity. Florida will learn from these terrible losses and be better for it. Next year and the year after, this Florida team will have experience and they will be able to compete with LSU and Alabama. Just not this year. Let’s hope they show up this week when they travel to Auburn.

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