Andreu’s Answers: Gators close season with right stuff

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Florida quarterback Kyle Trask scores a touchdown during the second half Monday against Virginia at the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
MIAMI GARDENS — 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 13, a 36-28 win over Virginia in the Orange Bowl:
1. Can the Florida defense prevent dynamic Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins from making explosive plays running the ball?
The Gators executed their game plan to eliminate Perkins as a serious running threat to near perfection. The defensive linemen stayed disciplined, the ends and linebackers did not give up the edge and kept Perkins contained in the pocket for most of the night. As a result, there were no explosive plays produced on the ground by the electric Perkins, whose longest run was only 10 yards. He finished with just 24 yards rushing and was sacked three times. Give linebacker Ventrell Miller a lot of credit for the way he spied Perkins throughout the game.
2. Will Florida quarterback Kyle Trask have time to execute the passing game against what is usually a fierce Cavaliers’ pass rush?
As usual, the Cavaliers blitzed a great deal, but the offensive line, as it has done for most of the season, held up in pass protection and gave Trask enough time to complete 24 of 39 passes for 305 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked only once and hurried just twice, so the line did its job, keeping Trask on his feet and allowing him to execute the passing game.
3. Will the Gators come out flat or fired up?
They came out ready to play and scored on the first possession on Lamical Perine’s 61-yard touchdown dash over the left side. Just like the Gators have done for most of the season, they prepared hard all week, came out focused and were ready to go from the start. UF took control of the game in the first half, setting the tone for the game.
4. Can the Gators surprise everyone by establishing a ground game?
They did. Shocking, but true. It became obvious during the game’s opening moments that Lamical Perine and the running game were going to be a factor in this one when he broke free for a 61-yard touchdown run. It wasn’t a steady ground attack the rest of the way, but it was an effective one. The Gators rushed for 244 yards (amazing, right?), with Perine gaining 138 and scoring two touchdowns to earn the MVP award.
5. Who wins the turnover battle?
It was a tie 1-1 (both interceptions), but that one UF interception was the biggest defensive play of the night. With Virginia threatening to make it a 33-28 game with less than six minutes left in the game, true freshman cornerback Kaiir Elam jumped up and intercepted a fade route on the UF 3-yard line. From there, the Gators drove for a field goal to increase their lead to 36-21 with 2:32 left in the game. That was a 10-point swing in favor of UF, so the pick was huge.
— Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or robbie.andreu@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.

Up next

The Gators open the 2020 season Sept. 5 against Eastern Washington at Florida Field.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I know it wasn’t a “blow out”, but during the whole game, I felt the Gators could have popped UVA anytime they wanted, if the desire was there, which for much of the 3rd quarter it wasn’t. UVA had some good players, but nothing that was on par with our D.

    20-20 Hine sight, with final four motivation the Gators would have been way more competitive than OU. Heck GA should have been in there.

  2. Clearly, UF and UGA would have acquitted themselves better than OU did in the #4 slot vs. LSU. However, neither would have won the game, so I understand the Committee’s desire to avoid rematches and grant access to other P5 conference champs with better records.

    The Gators won the OB and made progress in 2019. That was great as far as it went, but Gator Nation shouldn’t kid itself to believe THIS team had a chance to win a playoff game THIS season vs. ANY of the three undefeated teams.

    So, allowing the Sooners to be the sacrificial lambs this season was OK by me. The Gators don’t need all the negativity that goes along with such a beatdown. What Nebraska did to the Gators in 1995 is STILL seared in my memory and it’s STILL NOT pleasant!!! 😱

    • I was there for that one. The first quarter was great; the rest of the game, not so much. To put it mildly…

      I will say that Nebraska has (or had at that time) the friendliest fans. I did not need to take out my wallet in the bar drowning my sorrows after the game. The giddy Husker fans were more than happy to keep a beer in my hand until closing time!

    • Right you are, StL, and nobody wants to see a two-loss team in the playoff.

      Funny you should mention that ’96 Fiesta Bowl. I reviewed some stats from that game today for an email rant that 6 is familiar with. I take umbrage with one writer’s assessment of Tommie Frazier’s “Run”, saying he “dragged” a group of Gator defenders and “broke at least seven tackles”. Any knowledgeable fan recognized that the Gators were holding him up trying to strip the ball, because getting turnovers was the Gators only hope at that point. Give him credit for holding onto the ball and slipping away for the TD, but he didn’t “drag” tacklers.

      Remembering that game makes me see red, as in the Huskers NFL-caliber front 7. They repeatedly battered Danny Wuerffel, often rushing six, when Spurrier stubbornly continued to line the Gators up in five-wide with Danny under center. Time and again they met him at his drop point, giving him no chance.

      I honestly believe that with a TE and a RB to pick up the blitz, any three of the Gator WR’s could’ve carved up the Nebraska secondary and given Danny time to pick them apart. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Oh well, the 32-point beatdown the Gators put on the nasty Noles in the Sugar Bowl the following season to bring home the first national championship was almost enough to get that terrible taste out of my mouth. Almost.

      • It was the worst of times and the worsest of times as I sat alone in the BOQ at Ft Leavenworth awaiting the start of the game. The worst night of my life, in fact. So traumatized I was, that I would have done something drastic but alas, the highest elevation I could find to jump off of was the curb. Returning to Ft Bliss the next day, El Paso, not so affectionately referred to as El Pap Smear by most stationed there, became a welcome refuge in the dessert. That when I realized the game had not only ruined my day, but had rendered me mentally ill as well…….(con’t on page 2)

      • Now you’ve gone and dug up the only bad memories I have of SOS Joe! No doubt, he was exactly what the Gators needed to get over the hump of NEVER before winning an SEC championship, but his obstinance was legendary and easily cost the Gators a couple of NC’s in the later nineties.

        The main cause of the Gators losing that NC game to Nebraska in that ugly fashion was SOS’s obstinate belief (until that day) that his Gators could just outscore anybody they played. That NCG embarrassment in the desert led SOS to reevaluate his premise and hire Bob Stoops to put together a D that would complement his O and boy did he!

        In 1996, SOS’s obstinate refusal to drop Wuerffel into shot-gun led directly to their only loss at Tally, as Danny found himself on the ground before releasing the pass too many times. The following week Stallings came into the SECC Game with the same all-out pass rush and Danny carved them up from the comfort of his shot-gun formation. That adjustment led Bowden to complain bitterly about a rematch vs. the Gators for the NC. HE KNEW what was coming. SOS was quoted after the SECC game as saying he’s “now a shot-gun advocate!” Did it REALLY take losing to the Semis to make that simple adjustment???

        In 1997, with Wuerffel gone and Fred Taylor dominating any defense he was turned loose against, SOS obstinately stuck to his plan to turn Doug (the Slug) Johnson into the next Danny Wuerffel. Recall that year Stoops had put together one of the most dominant defenses the Gators have ever had, led by The Freak. By the time SOS figured out that all he had to do on offense was hand it off to Taylor and play D, the Slug had lost us a couple of games and the chance to repeat as NC. That final game vs. the #1 Semis in the Swamp was one of the greatest memories of my life. I was there!!!

        • Love your passion and gift of analysis, StL. Sorry to drudge up painful memories, but if I gotta suffer, someone else does, too!

          Ahhhhhh, the Freak! Great player! I think Johnson had great physical skills, but it was his decision making, mostly off-the-field, that doomed him.

          I’m jealous, in a non-covetous, Christian sort of way, of course. I wasn’t at the ’97 game, but I was at the ’91 game, and when the Semis 4th down pass fell incomplete, I couldn’t hear Mick Hubert in my headphones. I can only imagine what you heard in ’97!

          • People were lifting cars by their bumpers on University Ave. And cops were directing the mob on the street from light posts, pointing with their beer cans!!!

            Ahhh, those were the politically incorrect days… before GPD started giving tickets to fans for walking the UA sidewalks with an open container! 😡🤬

        • Also agree that it shouldn’t have taken SOS so long to make the shotgun adjustment. In ’95, I attended my only SECCG to date, and the Arkansas D, like all the good defenses the Gators faced that season, nearly killed Danny every time they went five-wide. The difference was that the Gators were so much more talented than the Hogs that it didn’t matter. Had Spurrier made the adjustment then, the Gators might have had a shot against the mighty Huskers, and I’m sure they wouldn’t have taken a 38 point beatdown.

  3. Agreed, StLGator! And I got Nebraska punks, STILL, on Twitter still reliving that game, “Frazier scored again” crap. Too bad the “Cornheads” have had to watch us win ‘3’ football National Championships, since that game. Not! I love every bit of Florida’s success!