Earlier I had predicted that the Gators would win 27-17 by running against the Vols weak run defense to control the clock, and smother the passing offense with an aggressive defense. The Vols did rack up more passing yards than I had expected. Tyler Bray entered this game completing 78.5% of his passes for 350 yards, almost 12 yards per attempt, and 3.5 touchdowns a game with a 213 passer rating. Against the Gators he completed 54% of his passes for a respectable 288 yards and 3 touchdowns at only 6 yards per attempt and a 112 passer rating. This tells me that either Tyler Bray is pretty good or that the Gator secondary is a bit suspect. Matt Elam and Josh Evans each recorded an interception, but the Gator defense dropped five potential INTs. The secondary was also responsible for 6 pass interference penalties, and a few offsides calls. The defensive front did harass Bray, sacking him 3 times, hitting him a dozen times, and knocking down a couple passes. On the offensive side, super stud Chris Rainey once again carried the team with 223 total yards of offense (108 yards rushing, 104 receiving, and 21 yards in punt returns). Tennessee did manage to slow down Shake and Bake, Rainey and Demps, as both of them only managed 5 yards a carry as opposed to their normal 7-8 yards per carry. Burton managed to get open for short yardage, but showed that he could be stopped before breaking free into open field. Rainey exploded for 20 and 80 yard receptions, but it was Demps who was able to break a 20-yard run into open field. John Brantley did not outgun Tyler Bray, but he did out-manage him with a 14-23 (60.9%), 213 yard, 9.26 yard per attempt, 2 touchdown effort, including an 83-yard touchdown pass to Chris Rainey.
Gator Offense. A-. I had hoped to see some more vertical passing, but Brantley did have a respectable 167 passer rating to show that he can manage the game effectively. Rainey, Demps, and Burton all helped to improve the offense’s grade.
Gator Defense. A-. The defensive front finally got some pressure and a couple sacks. The secondary is going to hurt against pass-happy teams. The run-stopping capabilities have not really been tested, but they look pretty good so far.
Gator Special Teams. A+. The kicking game was a perfect 4/4 on field goals with a long of 46 and 3/3 on extra points, the punting was okay at 40 yards per punt, Solomon Patton and Andre Debose averaged 20 yards on kick returns, and Rainey averaged 7 yards per punt return.
Overall. In the grand scheme of things, there is little to complain about. The Gators got a win, extended a winning streak over a rival Tennessee, and showed constant improvement on all fronts. The Gator Nation is a little antsy about the lack of a vertical passing game once again, and there is concern about the secondary. The good news is that the offense is capable of being methodical and controlling, and the defense is capable of being animalistic and downright nasty when needed. I give them an A.
- Cubicle Warrior Preview of #18 Florida Gators vs Tennessee Volunteers (walterkilar.wordpress.com)