Grading the Florida Gators' performance vs. Eastern Washington: The offense rocked

David Whitley
Gator Sports

Gainesville Sun sports columnist David Whitley hands out unit grades for the Florida Gators' Sunday 52-17 victory over Eastern Washington. 

Offense: A

The Gators' overwhelming talent advantage allowed them to toy with the Eagles, but they did it in a constructive way. Anthony Richardson showed improved touch in completing 8 of 10 passes for 240 yards. UF needed to get at least a faint idea what it has to back up AR, and Jalen Kitna had about as solid a debut as Billy Napier could have hoped for. A dozen players caught footballs as UF worked to find chemistry and depth in its passing game. Most importantly, Richardson left the game with health intact as UF rolled up a biblical 666 yards of total offense.

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Defense: C plus

The Eagles drove to the red zone on their first two possessions and came away with only three points. Give UF credit for bending but not breaking, but there was a bit more bending than you’d want against an FCS foe. The defense settled down and a lot of young players got extended playing time. They made mistakes and Eastern Washington rolled up a lot of points and yards in garbage time. It hardly mattered on Sunday. That’s a luxury the Gators won’t enjoy in the coming weeks.

Special Teams: C

Adam Mihalek (49) kicks a field goal in the first half at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, on Oct.  2, 2022.

Adam Mihalek made a 36-yard field goal, but his 46-yard attempt was blocked after a bad snap botched the proceedings. Mihalek has apparently relinquished kickoff duties to freshman Trey Smack, who had only two of his nine kicks returned. In keeping with tradition, the Gators were penalized on one of the returns. Also in keeping with tradition, Florida’s return game wasn’t much to speak of. Xzavier Henderson returned three punts for 22 yards, muffing one along the way. Toss in a lone 24-yard kickoff return by Trevor Etienne, and big plays are still way too scarce.