Before every Florida game, veteran college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here’s Week 9:
1. Can the Gators hold elite running back D’Andre Swift to less than 120 yards rushing?
The Gators certainly executed this vital part of their defensive game plan, holding Swift to just 86 yards rushing and 3.4 yards a carry. That was a winning effort. The problem was they failed to execute the second part of the plan, which was put pressure on quarterback Jake Fromm in obvious passing situations and force him into making mistakes. There was no pressure, and Fromm killed UF with his arm, especially on third down.
2. Will the deep and talented UF receivers, including tight end Kyle Pitts, be able to make plays against a sound Georgia secondary?
The receivers did their part to help keep the Gators in the game. Eight different receivers caught passes, led by senior wide receiver Freddie Swain, who had one of his best days as a Gator with eight receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown. Four receivers produced explosive plays — Swain (23 yards), Kyle Pitts (29), Trevon Grimes (27) and Van Jefferson (23-yard TD catch). The Gators went to almost an all-pass offense in the second half and the receivers responded. Maybe coach Dan Mullen should have gone to that approach in the first half.
3. Can the UF offensive line protect Kyle Trask and also get some push in the running game?
Yes on the first part, a big no on the second. Trask was sacked twice, one a devastating 19-yard loss that killed a scoring opportunity early in the third quarter, but for the most part, he stayed on his feet and was able to go through his progressions and move the offense with his arm. As for push in the running game, it wasn’t there, which comes as no surprise because that’s the way it’s been all season. The Gators finished with embarrassing numbers: 21 yards rushing on 19 carries for a 1.1-yard average. Can’t win with that.
4. The Gators have lost the turnover battle in each of the past two years, both loses. Can they win it today?
This was a wash — no turnovers by either team. The Gators did a nice job taking care of the ball, but the defense, playing on its heels for much of the game, never came close to a takeaway.
5. What kind of impact will Florida’s returning stars — slot receiver Kadarius Toney and defensive ends Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga — have on the game?
Having Greenard and Zuniga back definitely had an impact on the Gators being able to set the edge and prevent Swift from piling up a bunch of yards on the ground. But UFs two leading pass-rushers never even came close to sacking Fromm, who was comfortable in the pocket throughout the game. As for Toney, he’s clearly still not 100 percent coming off a shoulder injury. He played little and had only one touch, gaining zero yards on a jet sweep in the first half.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.
Who: Vanderbilt (2-6, 1-4 SEC) vs. Florida (7-2, 4-2)
When: 12 p.m.
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium