TALLAHASSEE — 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 12:
1. Can the offensive line protect quarterback Feleipe Franks?
The big guys got the job done. Franks was sacked just once. Other than that, he had time in the pocket to find his receivers and execute the passing game. With the solid protection, Franks had perhaps his best day as a Gator, completing 16-of-26 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns.
2. Will the Gators be able to establish the run against what has been a suspect FSU run defense?
The main reason the pass protection was so good was the Gators were able to establish a steady ground game against a defense that was stacked against the run most of the game. UF rushed for 282 yards, with Lamical Perine leading the way with a career-high 129 and one touchdown. Coach Dan Mullen said after the game that John Hevesy and the offensive coaching staff knew the Seminoles were going to load up against the run, and they came up with schemes that gave the Gators success.
3. Can the Florida secondary prevent explosive plays in the passing game?
The Gators gave up only two — a 36-yard catch by Tamorrion Terry and a 25-yard reception by Nyqwan Murray — so they got the job done in this area. The Seminoles were coming off a game in which they had eight explosive plays in the passing game, but the UF secondary pretty much diffused FSU’s big-play threats in the passing game. FSU quarterback Deondre Francois completed just 14 of 29 passes for 154 yards.
4. Will Florida’s defensive line generate consistent pressure against FSU quarterback Deondre Francois?
This turned out to be the key for the Florida defense. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is known for his blitzing, attacking style of defense to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. In this game he didn’t have to take that approach. He rushed just four for most of the game, and Jachai Polite and his D-line pals brought steady heat, winning the line of scrimmage in a big way. They sacked Francois five times and forced a fumble. The play of the defensive front allowed the Gators to drop seven in pass coverage for most of the day.
5. Who wins the battle of special teams?
Because there were no explosive or game-changing plays on special teams on either side, we’ll call this a draw. Evan McPherson made two chip-shot field goals for the Gators and the punters — UF’s Tommy Townsend and FSU’s Logan Tyler — both did an excellent job flipping field position. Townsend averaged 51.4 yards a punt, with a long of 65, and Tyler averaged 46.8, with a long of 61.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.