JACKSONVILLE — Before every game, veteran college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here’s Week 7:
Will Florida’s struggling offense have any sustained success against a tough UGA defense that is giving up only 12.6 points and 252.6 total yards a game?
The final score tells it all. Other than a couple of good drives on the ground, the offense was outmanned for the rest of the game until the late, meaningless TD drive led by backup QB Malik Zaire. Feleipe Franks, the starter, had zero pocket presence (as usual), protection was awful and receivers were failing to get open. The result was an anemic passing attack that gave UF no chance to challenge the superior Bulldogs, who smothered the Gators in the decisive first quarter and again in the second half.
Can the Gator defense slow down the two-headed terror at tailback — Nick Chubb and Sony Michel?
The Gators showed in the second quarter that they could, indeed, make the going tough for Chubb and Michel. By then, though, it was too late. Chubb and Michel busted loose big-time in the first quarter and helped the Bulldogs rush to the 21-point lead. Chubb scored on a 6-yard run on UGA’s first possession. Then, on the first play of the ’Dogs’ third possession, Michel burst through an enormous hole in the middle of the defense and sprinted 74 yards for a touchdown. Michel broke free again for a 45-yard TD burst midway through the third quarter.
Florida has not recovered a fumble this season. Does that trend continue?
Nothing new here. When it’s hard even getting your hands on fast, elusive running backs, it’s impossible to come up with hits hard enough to jar the ball loose. So, yes, the trend continues. UF is the only remaining team in the nation without a fumble recovery.
Can the UF defense put the Bulldogs in some obvious passing situations, then put pressure on the quarterback?
Thanks to the success of Chubb and Michel in the running game, true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm found himself operating in a perfect world. UGA found itself in a lot of third-and-manageables. As a result, the only time Fromm was touched came at the end of a designed quarterback run in the third quarter.
Will the Gator special teams be their usual unproductive selves?
Almost predictably, nothing positive happened here. Punter Johnny Townsend was his usual reliable self, but that was about it. Nothing in the return game. Nothing in the kick-block game. Nothing in the punt-block game. So, unproductive as usual. The Gators seem to lose the third phase of the game every Saturday.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.