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 6:
1. Will Kyle Trask have enough time to execute the Florida passing game?
Trask was sacked four times, injured on a near sack and was under pressure for most of the game. But he had just enough time to efficiently execute the passing game and effectively manage the offense, which put the Gators in a position to win the game. He threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns. His first pass, the one to Freddie Swain that went 64 yards for a touchdown, gave the Gators great early momentum, got the crowd into the game and set the tone for the day.
2. Speedy Auburn receiver Anthony Schwartz has emerged as a dynamic playmaker in the passing game and on jet sweeps. Does he burn his home-state Gators?
Containing the speedy Schwartz was a priority heading into the game and the Gators eliminated him as a threat. He had no receptions and the one time the Tigers tried to get him on the edge on a jet sweep, the Gators nailed him for a 4-yard loss. Schwartz was expected to be a focal point of the AU offense, but was no factor. The defense took him away early and the Tigers never went back to him.
3. Can the Florida defense slow down Auburn’s downhill running game, which averages 251 yards a game.
The goal was to shut down AU’s running game and put the game in the hands of true freshman quarterback Bo Nix. The Gators executed that plan to near perfection. The defense shut down the run early, then went to work on pressuring Nix, who had all kinds of problems coping with UF’s overall speed and aggressiveness. The Gators clearly won the battle on the line of scrimmage, holding the Tigers to just 124 yards on 34 carries.
4. Can the Gators put some pressure on true freshman quarterback Bo Nix and force him into making some critical mistakes?
Let’s put it this way, the Gators made Nix look like a true freshman for the first time this season. They stuffed the Auburn running game early, then brought steady pressure on Nix, who had serious issues dealing with it. He took a 22-yard sack in the fourth quarter that took the Tigers out of field-goal range. And he threw three interceptions — one by Shawn Davis that set up a UF touchdown, one by safety Donovan Stiner in the end zone that killed an AU scoring opportunity late in the third quarter and then the game-ender by Marco Wilson. For the game, Nix rushed for just 18 yards and completed only 11 of 27 passes for 145 yards. It was a big win for the Florida defense.
5. Will the Gators rush for 75 yards or more against a dominant Auburn run defense?
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, it didn’t look like the Gators would reach that total. But that all changed in a flash with Lamical Perine’s 88-yard touchdown run that pretty much sealed the victory. Thanks to that long-distance dash, the Gators rushed for 132 yards and outgained the Tigers on the ground by 8 yards, something no one would have predicted coming into the game. Even though there wasn’t much there on the ground for most of the game, the Gators never gave up on their running game and it eventually produced the biggest play of the game.
— Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.
Who: No. 7 Florida (6-0, 3-0 SEC) vs. No. 5 LSU (5-0, 1-0)
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850
One major hurdle cleared; higher one coming right up.
I thought both Auburn and Florida defensive front seven played exceptionally well. The pressure applied on the QB’s were equal and maybe better by Auburn with the two strip sacks and the additional hard hit fumble on Trask. The difference was the passing game. Florida has more accurate QB’s and more talented receivers than Auburn. I like our chances with LSU because our passing game is on the same level, but our defense will play better. I expect a high scoring game with the Florida defense making enough stops for the win.
Please pick LSU this week…despite the fact they haven’t played a defense that ranks within the top 100 in Pass or Rush defense.
This LSU game shapes up as an interesting match-up for the Gators. There’s no question the Tigers have the home field advantage and the hot, experienced QB this Saturday replacing the ineffective, true freshman QB Auburn brought to the Swamp last Saturday. For those two reasons, LSU should be favored… BUT by 14 points? Really???
What does Vegas know about these two teams that we don’t know? On the basis of stats, the Gator D is vastly superior to LSU’s. The two running games are surprisingly comparable. The special teams are also comparable. All of which means that Vegas believes Burrow and his receivers are so vastly superior to Trask and his receivers that they warrant an 11 point neutral field line advantage. Personally, I like Trask and his receivers vs. LSU’s D much more than Burrow and his receivers vs. the Gator D.
I don’t buy the talking heads’ analysis behind that crazy Vegas line. I believe there was just A LOT of “smart” money bet on LSU before the line was published on Sunday. In big games, good defense almost always beats good offense. So, I’ll take the Gators and the points on this one.