If the Florida Gators want to direct blame at one player in particular for their loss to the Miami Hurricanes, they need to look no further than quarterback Jeff Driskel. Driskel’s poor decision making is ultimately what cost the Gators in their disappointing loss against in-state rival Miami.
Despite a questionable group of wide receivers, Driskel put up good numbers throwing the ball, and ran the ball effectively out of zone-read situations. However, the decisions he made and the turnovers he was responsible for against Miami cost his team the game.
Driskel threw two interceptions, both coming deep in Miami territory when the Gators would have, almost certainly, come away with at least three points. The first inception was an egregious mistake by Driskel, as he did well to extend the play with his feet, but then committed a cardinal error by throwing the ball across the middle of the field late. Driskel’s second interception came as a result of bad timing with his receiver, an error Driskel shouldn’t be making in his second year as a starter.
Another play that stands out is a fourth and short play, also deep in Miami territory, in which Driskel failed to get any forward movement when all he needed for the first down was a few inches. Although it doesn’t officially go down as a turnover, it was another occasion in which Driskel allowed Miami to take over possession of the ball without Florida scoring any points.
Finally, Driskel’s fourth quarter fumble set up the Hurricanes to score the game-sealing touchdown, as Driskel failed to get rid of the ball before he needed to, and failed to secure the football when he got hit.
All the while, Florida’s defense played a spectacular game, shutting down Miami for nearly three full quarters after allowing two first quarter touchdowns. However, Driskel and the offense failed to take advantage of the profound advantage Florida had in time of possession, giving little support to the Gator’s defense, who deserved far better than what they got.
Despite nearly 300 yards passing, Florida’s loss falls completely on the shoulders of Driskel, who failed miserably when it came to making smart and sound decisions at key junctures in the game. This game is undoubtedly a step backward for a quarterback who still hasn’t taken that many steps forward at this point in his career.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.