Before every Florida game, veteran college football writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here’s Week 12, a 40-17 win over Florida State:
1. Can the Florida defense hold 1,000-yard rusher Cam Akers to less than 100 yards rushing?
Thanks to a 50-yard TD run on a delayed-draw play late in the third quarter Saturday, Akers managed to go over the 100-yard mark, finishing the game with 102 on 17 carries. Other than that one explosive play, the Gators stuffed him and the FSU running game, turning the Seminoles into a one-dimensional offense. As a result, the Gators got after the quarterback and produced eight sacks, six in the second half.
2. Will Florida quarterback Kyle Trask have time to pick apart the FSU secondary?
Trask was never sacked, never touched, and yes, he picked apart what has been a vulnerable Florida State secondary. Trask had all the time he needed to go through his progressions and find the open receivers. The result was he completed 30 of 41 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns. A pass-only offense isn’t supposed to work at this level, but the Gators have managed to thrive with one.
3. Who will be the senior star on Senior Night?
There wasn’t one star, but a constellation of senior stars who shone brightly on this night. Freddie Swain and Van Jefferson each had two touchdown receptions and combined for 10 catches for 110 yards. Tyrie Cleveland had four receptions and a 40-yard kickoff return that ignited a touchdown drive in the second half. Lamical Perine had a 30-yard reception that helped fuel a second-half TD drive. Josh Hammond had three receptions for 39 yards. And defensive end/outside linebacker Jon Greenard dominated the second half, coming up with three sacks that wiped out any chance of an FSU comeback. The seniors had themselves a final night in The Swamp to remember.
4. With the return of defensive end Jabari Zuniga, will the Gators be able to put steady heat on FSU quarterback James Blackman?
As it turns out, Zuniga was not good to go for this game like Dan Mullen said he was earlier in the week. So, that high ankle sprain pretty much wiped out most of his senior season. Even without Zuniga, the defensive front brought the heat, especially in the second half. The Gators had eight sacks, led by Greenard’s three, all coming in the second half. So, against state rivals FSU and Miami, the Gators combined for a total of 18 sacks. Now, that’s a sack pack.
5. Who wins the turnover battle?
There were no turnovers in the game, so this was a wash. Swain muffed a punt in the first half that was recovered by the Seminoles, but the play was wiped out by an illegal formation penalty on FSU. Greenard forced a fumble with a sack in the second half, but linebacker Ventrell Miller’s attempt at a scoop and score failed and the Seminoles recovered the loose ball. No one from either team came close to intercepting a pass. So, clean game from a turnover standpoint.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.
The Gators, who moved up to No. 7 in the latest Associated Press rankings, find out their bowl destination Dec. 8, the day of the College Football Playoff selections from 12-4 p.m. on ESPN. UF hopes to land a spot in the New Year’s Six, likely the Orange or Cotton.