UF just misses on trick play

Florida special teams coach D.J. Durkin gets upset with Florida player Omarius Hines after a kick return against Louisiana during the second half Saturday, November 10, 2012. (Doug Finger/Staff Photographer)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 5:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 12:41 a.m.

Best underthrow

These plays often work on deep balls because the defensive back is focused more on the receiver than where the ball is going. On the first play of Louisiana-Lafayette's third drive of the game, quarterback Terrance Broadway sent receiver Darryl Surgent deep down the west sideline. The ball was well underthrown, but Surgent came back to catch it while defensive back Jaylen Watkins flew by. Surgent then made like Jacquez Green (1997, FSU) crossing the field before he was finally tackled at the Florida 37-yard line. The play picked up 48 yards and set up the Cajuns' only score of the first half.

Worst tackle

Florida has worked hard to reduce its number of penalties since early in the season, but still went into the game ranked 91st in the country. It doesn't help when the Gators get one like they did in the second quarter. Broadway hit Bradley Brown for a short gain on second down and Brown was pushed out of bounds by Marcus Roberson. But here came Matt Elam to drill Brown well out of bounds. The crowd let out an audible groan because it knew that a 15-yard penalty was coming.

Best play call that didn't work

Florida faced a third down at the UL 4-yard line on the first drive of the second half when Brent Pease sent in a trick play — a reverse pass. Tight end Jordan Reed, a former quarterback, took the pitch on the reverse and had tight end Clay Burton open in the end zone. But Reed hesitated before throwing and when the ball got to Burton, he was more concerned with getting his feet down in the end zone and the ball slipped through his hands. Florida had to settle for a field goal.

Worst decision

It's easy in hindsight to question UL coach Mark Hudspeth's decision not to try to drive to win the game with the ball on his own 27 and 1:42 to play. The Ragin' Cajuns had moved the ball well in the second half and Hudspeth had a kicker who earlier in the game had become the all-time NCAA record-holder for accuracy. “I thought we were in good enough position to get the game into overtime,” Hudspeth said. He didn't have any timeouts, which played into the decision. But on the road, against a top-10 team?

Play of the game

Obviously it was the blocked punt that won the game for the Gators. But Florida wouldn't have been in that position if not for a huge play earlier in the final quarter. Jacoby Brissett faced a third-and-3 at the UL 42 and the game was slipping away from the Gators with two minutes to play. Brissett found Reed down the middle of the field for a 39-yard gain that set up the tying touchdown. “I felt like I underthrew him, but I just didn't want to miss him,” Brissett said. Will Muschamp said UL-Lafayette's middle linebacker didn't go with Reed, leaving him wide open.

Stat of the game

You would think that this late in the year Florida could avoid committing so many penalties. But they are as much a part of this team's identity as the orange helmets. On Saturday, the Gators committed 10 penalties for 79 yards. On two of the Ragin' Cajuns scoring drives, penalties played a big part. Muschamp was visibly disturbed at all the penalties after the game and said he's tried everything to solve the problem.

What's up with that?

Hey, nobody said math was a strong suit of the officials in the SEC. Twice in the first half, they marked off what should have been 5-yard penalties six yards. Florida was the first victim after it was flagged for the 100th time this year for illegal substitution from its 39 to the 33 in the first quarter. Maybe it was a make-up call, but in the second quarter UL-Lafayette was on its 41 when it was whistled for a false start penalty. The ball was put back at its 35.

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