Dooley Grades The Gators
First half: It looked a lot like last year minus the four wide receivers now in the NFL. Other than a 50-yard run by Kadarius Toney, Florida managed only 46 yards rushing. The Gators threw almost twice as much as they ran.
Second half: It was an amazing display by the two Kyles as they seemed to be able to get whatever they wanted even with Ole Miss employed double coverage. Florida did have some luck running the ball in the second half.
For the game: Obviously, this was a game about offense and the Gators had to have all of their weapons to win a shootout. We figured Kyle Trask would be ready for a big season, but for Florida to set the record for most yards ever in an SEC game, you have to give some credit to the much-maligned offensive line.
First half: You saw the good and the bad in the first half. The good was that Florida has some obvious speed in its young players and that Ventrell Miller looked like you hoped he would look. The bad was that the Gators allowed 278 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Second half: Florida scored quickly to start the second half and only 36 seconds later Ole Miss had a touchdown. Matt Corral gave Florida fits all day. Fortunately for the Gators, one touchdown came back on a holding call.
For the game: This is not the Gator defense we have expected to see, well, maybe ever. The Gators allowed 613 yards and some of that is on Lane Kiffin, but Florida looked like a defense that lacked ball awareness.
SPECIAL TEAMS B+
First half: They weren't called on much, but it was a nice first punt of the year by Jacob Finn and Evan McPherson was the usual Mr. Reliable. Good kickoff coverage as well.
Second half: McPherson was money and the 55-yarder was a huge kick in the game. McPherson finished 3-for-3 on field goals and Florida did not allow anything in the kickoff return game.
For the game: While the special teams were not a huge part of the game, Florida was efficient in almost every area. But the grade comes down, because Ole Miss recovered an onside kick while the game was mathematically still in doubt.
We can give Florida a little leeway on defense, but to get this grade any higher, we would have to come up with a boatload of excuses. Florida was amazing on offense, but this was not an SEC-championship caliber defense. And it's difficult to unsee that. There is obviously a lot of work to do.