#24 Florida Gators 21, NR Texas A&M 17

The #24 Florida Gators dug deep and hung on to spoil the Texas A&M Aggies’ SEC welcome party

The Gators came into this game with quite a few question marks based on their mysterious outing against Bowling Green last week. Texas A&M came in with more question marks given the fact that nobody had seen them play this year under the new head coach, new offense, and new defense. Most experts predicted A&M to win by 1.5 to 2.5 points with an over/under of 45 to 50 points, which implies a 24-21 score. I predicted this game to be 21-20, Gators, which was not far off from the outcome of 21-17.

Like most Gator fans, I am spoiled and I expected a more convincing win. The Gators looked great on defense for the first couple plays, until they let penalties drag them down, and then injuries made them look like sissies. Texas A&M should have won this game. They were stronger on the offensive line, their QB played better (until the second half), their running backs attacked the holes better (until the second half), and they had a better playbook. I am not sure if the Aggies lack second half conditioning or if the Gator second half defense is that good. Either way, I think A&M is a good addition to the best conference in the land. Welcome to the middle-to-bottom tier of the SEC, home of the entire SEC East except maybe Georgia.

Here is how I grade the mighty Gators:

  • Quarterback: B+. Sophomore Jeff Driskel got the win in his first start, but he was outplayed on the field by a redshirt freshman named Johnny Manziel. Driskel needs to respect “the QB clock” and make a decision at 4 or 5 seconds. His throws were usually crisp.
  • Running back: B+. Mike Gillislee is the key to the Gator offense, but he still lacks the skill or size to run up the gut. With the large offensive line that Florida has, he should be breaking some runs up the middle. For the most part, he is showing that he does well at the edges, and in certain plays up the middle. Unfortunately, he was injured and he may not be at 100% against Tennessee next week. Mack Brown is not the answer as his backup. Hunter Joyer is surprisingly ineffective as a fullback given his size.
  • Offensive line: F. Given the size and experience of this line, the running backs should have a lot more room to run and the QB should have a cleaner pocket. No excuses here. They should be ashamed that they let the QB get sacked 8 times in a game. They should be embarrassed that cannot protect the QB against a smaller, less experienced defensive line.
  • Overall offense: C. This is a mediocre offense. The Brent Pease motions and shifts have limited effect on the defense if the Gator receivers are not getting open and the supposedly faster, stronger athletes are getting beat at the point of attack.
  • Defensive front: C-. No excuses here. The defensive front was manhandled, and this is supposed to be a strength.
  • Linebacking corps: C-. I am not sure which I am more disappointed in, the defensive front or the linebacking corps. Both are a bunch of sissies that get injured a lot. Crocodile tears? Maybe Gator tears?
  • Overall defense: C. The first half defense gets a D- for surrendering 250 yards. The second half defense gets an A- for being disciplined and only yielding 65 yards.
  • Special teams: A. Hey! K Caleb Sturgis is awesome! P Kyle Crofoot will be exposed as a weakness in close games.  KR Andre Debose is once again a non-factor. The fake field goal and pass from the holder, 150-pound John Crofoot, was the best pass of the day.
  • Coaching: A. Either the coaches made great adjustments at the half, or the Aggies pooped out early.
  • Toughness: D. What a bunch of sissies.
  • Execution: C. This level of execution will get the Gators to a bowl game, but not above UGA or SC.
  • Discipline: B. They had fewer penalties. Great.
  • Overall: C+. A win is a win, but this was an unranked team. Florida showed that it might be better than last year, but is still a middle-tier SEC team. My MVG: Mike Gillislee.

Overall verdict:

J. Driskel 13/16 162 10.1 0 0 166.3
M. Gillislee 14 83 5.9 2 24 0
J. Reed 5 59 11.8 0 30 0

Compare Jeff Driskel’s debut against the recent Gator QBs. I have him ranked 7th in recent Gator history. Keep in mind that my #6 led the #10 Gators to an upset over the #2 FSU Seminoles in 1997, along with victories over #4 Tennessee, #6 Auburn, and #11 Penn State. The key losses were #14 LSU and #16 Georgia. My guess is that the Gator’s trajectory this year under Driskel will be somewhere in between the 1997 squad and the 2010 squad.

  1. Rex Grossman 1st career start in 2000 against LSU, 18-for-28 for 276 yards, 3 TDs#Gators won 41-9.
  2. Danny Wuerffel went 19 of 38, 267 yards with 3 TDs, 1 INT in his first career start in 1993 against Tennessee.
  3. Chris Leak was 20-for-35 for 268 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs in 2003 vs. Kentucky.
  4. Eric Kresser‘s first career start (HC in ’95 vs. Northern Illinois), 26-for-42 for 458 yards, 6 TDs, 96-yarder Green. W 58-20.
  5. Terry Dean was 16-for-22, 237 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT and at one point completed 14 straight in 44-6 win over Arky State in ’93.
  6. Tim Tebow‘s first career start, he was 13-for-17 for 300 yards, 3 TDs in 49-3 win over Western Kentucky in 2007
  7. Doug Johnson in his first in 1997 vs. Southern Miss: 17 of 34 for 231 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs. Gators won 21-6.
  8. Jeff Driskel was 13-for-16, 162 yards. Gator spoiled the Texas A&M SEC opener 21-17 in Kyle Field.
  9. John Brantley‘s first career start, he was 17-for-25 for 113 yards, 2 TDs in 34-12 win over Miami Ohio in 2010 opener
  10. Jacoby Brissett was 8-for-14 for 94 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs in last season’s 41-11 loss at LSU

2012 Florida Gators Football Schedule

Current Record: 1-0, 0-0 (SEC)

Date Opponent Time/TV Rank
Falcons Bowling Green Falcons 
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
Won 27-14 24 vs NR
Aggies at Texas A&M Aggies 
Kyle Field, College Station, TX
Won 20-17. 24 vs NR
Volunteers at Tennessee Volunteers 
Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN
6:00 p.m. ET
Wildcats Kentucky Wildcats 
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
Open Date
Tigers LSU Tigers 
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
Commodores at Vanderbilt Commodores 
Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN
Gamecocks South Carolina Gamecocks 
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
Bulldogs Georgia Bulldogs 
EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
3:30 p.m. ET
Tigers Missouri Tigers 
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
Ragin' Cajuns Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns (HC)
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
Gamecocks Jacksonville State Gamecocks 
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL
Seminoles at Florida State Seminoles 
Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL

One thought on “#24 Florida Gators 21, NR Texas A&M 17

  1. Pingback: Week 19 of 213: A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have | iWalt 2.0, Cubicle Engineer…

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