Turnovers, penalties flare up for UF


Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel runs up field against the Louisville Cardinals during the first half of the Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 in New Orleans, La. (Matt Stamey/Staff photographer)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 12:53 a.m.

Best throw

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had plenty of good ones, but the fade pattern to DeVante Parker was a beauty. Florida had forced the Cardinals into a third-and-13 from the UF 15-yard line when Bridgewater lofted the ball where only Parker could catch it. Parker made a nice catch in the corner of the end zone. To add insult to injury, Florida’s Loucheiz Purifoy, who was covering Parker, was called for pass interference.

Worst way to start on defense

Florida was down 7-0 by the time the defense got on the field. But the defense didn’t fare any better than the offense on its first series. Bridgewater marched the Cardinals down the field and into the end zone on an 83-yard drive. It was helped by a 15-yard penalty when Florida linebacker Jon Bostic hit the quarterback late. But Bridgewater converted on a third-and-14 play, a third-and-10 play and a third-and-6 play. That was very unlike the Florida defense during the regular season when it was sixth in the country in third-down defense.

Best kickoff return

Andre Debose set a Sugar Bowl record when he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. Louisville looked susceptible to a big kickoff return, but Florida wasn’t able to spring one. When Loucheiz Purifoy was injured on a return, Debose got his chance to get back to the role that made him such a weapon a year ago. Florida blocked it well, and Debose used his speed to burst through the hole and into the end zone.

Worst trend (again)

This year, Florida made it to the Sugar Bowl because it made a drastic improvement in turnover margin. One thing that Will Muschamp has to work on between this year and next are penalties. A team with a small margin of error can’t continue making these kinds of mistakes. Bostic’s wasn’t the only one on that first Louisville drive, but Florida got a break when Matt Elam wasn’t called for a helmet-to-helmet hit. And on Florida’s drive to its first score, the Gators had an illegal formation on second-and-4 from the Louisville 7-yard line, then a false start penalty on third-and-7. That’s just ridiculous.

Stat of the game

Bridgewater was amazing on this night, showing the accuracy he has displayed all year. He threw for 266 yards even though the Cardinals struggled to get their running game going again. Bridgewater completed 20-of-32 passes in the game against a defense that ranked No. 1 in the nation in pass efficiency defense. Louisville also converted 9-of-13 third downs.

Play of the game

It had to be that first play. Jeff Driskel’s pass in Florida’s first play of the game was behind a curling Andre Debose and deflected off his right arm and right into the hands of Terrell Floyd, who raced it 38 yards into the end zone. It was a gift touchdown and set the tone for the game, not only for Louisville, but for Driskel. In Florida’s two losses this year, Driskel struggled with turnovers.

What’s up with that?

You had a feeling that this team wouldn’t go conventional for this game and it didn’t. The Gators wore orange pants with their blue jerseys, and Florida fans had to be thinking about the losses to FSU in 1989 and ’99 when they wore them. Apparently, the seniors had been pushing to wear orange pants all season, but they wanted to wear orange tops as well. Will Muschamp thankfully nixed the all-orange look. This isn’t Clemson, fellas. Florida did wear orange tops with white pants against Louisiana-Lafayette this season. The Gators are now 0-3 with the blue tops and orange pants.

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