Andreu’s Analysis: Gators will be tested

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Florida coach Dan Mullen listens during a news conference Sunday for the Orange Bowl in Fort Lauderdale. Florida plays Virginia in the Orange Bowl on Monday. (AP Photo/Mario Houben)

 The Gators own the Orange Bowl, right? They’re undefeated here, 3-0 (4-0 if you count the BCS national title game in 2008), while Virginia has never played in this game. So, huge advantage, Florida.

 And, well, the Gators are a better football team, ranked in the top 10, and more talented in just about every area. That’s why they’re more than a two-touchdown favorite and why they should win this game to move to 11-2 and remain in the top 10. So, huge advantage, Florida.

 But, there are two potential problems the Gators must contend with. The first one is themselves. If they’re not fired up and focused (and full of respect for their opponent), they could mess things up and find a way to let the Cavs pull the upset.

 Having been around the players the last few days, I don’t think that’s going to happen. The Gators have approached this like every other game this season — with focus and relentless effort on the practice field. So, they’re good there. No problem.

 Now, onto the second problem. And it’s a big, old scary one.

 Bryce Perkins.

 The dual-threat quarterback is capable of beating Florida with his arm, his legs, his dynamic playmaking ability. The Gators really haven’t faced anyone like him all season. Not only has he thrown for more than 3,000 yards, he also leads the Cavaliers in rushing. He’s a huge threat as a passer, an even bigger one when he’s in the pocket trying to pass and then scrambles out of it and into the open field. Once he’s there, look out. Bad things are going to happen to the defense.

 Todd Grantham has had time to put together a sound game plan to prevent Perkins from going off and producing chunk play after chunk play. The Gators will bring pressure, but they need to be smart about it, stay in their lanes and keep Perkins contained. When he does break out of the pocket, the Gators need to be good tacklers and get him on the ground. Perkins is going to make plays, he’s going to break off some runs and complete some passes downfield, but UF needs to limit those explosives.

 Perkins can beat the Gators. The fact they are well aware of that fact is going to make it harder for him to do it. He’s going to hurt Florida, but not quite enough.

 Prediction: Florida 31, Virginia 20.

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. The problem for Virginia lies on the other side of the ball. Jalen Hurts is similar to Bryce Perkins in both style and substance. He even led his offense to 28 points against a very good LSU D. However, the Sooners were NEVER in that game!

    Kyle Trask and his flying circus will very likely do to the Virginia D what Joe Burrow and his posse did to Oklahoma’s. If the Gator O brings their A game tomorrow night, that game will be over by half time.

    • I was thinking the same thing, StL, maybe minus the idea that the game would be over by halftime. It’s my opinion that when a team relies on one player for almost all of its offense, it’s very difficult for that team to beat a top 10 team. I think Coach Grantham has devised a plan to shut the Cavs down.

      Hopefully Virginia’s efforts to beat the Gators in postseason football will meet the same fate as their two previous efforts to beat the Gators in postseason basketball: a major beatdown! Go Gators!!!

  2. I agree with our friend StL above, but at the same time suggest that it is nevertheless wise counsel not to take Virginia for granted, the Right Honorable and apparently terrifying Bryce Perkins notwithstanding. They are a good team, emphasis on t-e-a-m, they have a fine coach, and they are going to play with a chip on their shoulder. South Carolina, with much less going for them than Virginia, did beat Georgia after all.

    As I said earlier, we’ve got our own Bryce Perkins, although not so awe inspired fear inducing quite yet due to lack of much exposure — I would be willing to wager StL’s next paycheck that he is quite involved in Grantham’s defensive scheme.