Andreu's answers: White's offense productive
Published: Monday, January 2, 2012 at 5:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 2, 2012 at 5:51 p.m.
JACKSONVILLE -- Before every Florida game, veteran college football writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here's Week 13:
1. Will the struggling Florida offense be any different under interim offensive coordinator Brian White?
It was basically the same offense, but I think Will Muschamp had to be pretty happy with the game White called. The Gators hit some plays in the vertical passing game and had some success running the ball in obvious passing situations. The Gators didn't do anything spectacular or different, but White and the offensive staff seemed to get the most out of the talent they had to work with. Overall, a solid showing for White and the offense. Muschamp reaffirmed after the game that White is under consideration for the full-time coordinator's job.
2. Will the Gator defense, which struggles against the run, be able to contain dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller, who is coming off his best game of the season against Michigan?
The Gators came into the game knowing their chances of winning would go way up if they prevented Miller from hitting big plays on them, especially when scrambling out of the pocket. Not only did they prevent Miller from producing game-changing moments, they made all kinds of big plays against him, sacking him six times and getting in his face just about every time he dropped back to pass. The defensive line was especially sound staying in gaps, keeping under control and applying heat without breaking down on the outside.
3. Will Florida's speedy mini-tailbacks (Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps) have any success running against a big, physical Ohio State defense?
There were not a whole lot of openings up front, but Rainey managed to rush for 71 yards (with a long run of 11 yards) and Demps chipped in 30, including a 10-yard run. The yards were tough, but when the Gators needed to burn clock in the fourth quarter, they were able to muster some key first downs on the ground and kill enough time to protect the lead.
4. The Florida defense is coming off perhaps its best performance of the season. Will the improved overall play continue against a struggling OSU offense?
Other than that late drive that was triggered by cornerback Cody Riggs getting outjumped for a deep floating pass, the defense was on its game for most of the day. The Gators put steady heat on Braxton Miller and prevented the Buckeyes from hitting any big plays in the running game, although OSU did have some success between the tackles. Overall, though, the defense controlled the game, coming up with six sacks, 12 tackles for loss and coming up with two fumbles. It was a good way for the defense to end the season.
5. Can the Gators take care of the football on offense and create some turnovers on defense?
The Gators were somewhat careless again with the football, losing two fumbles and throwing an interception. The second fumble gave the Buckeyes a short field and led to their first touchdown late in the first quarter. The first fumble earlier in the game destroyed a scoring opportunity after UF had a first down on the OSU 32 on the game's opening possession. While the offense failed to protect the ball, the UF defense produced two OSU fumbles, the second ending with the Gators kicking a chip-shot field goal early in the fourth quarter for a 24-10 lead. The Gators lost the turnover battle but still managed to win the game.