Grading the Gators: Not the sendoff these seniors deserved

Zach Abolverdi
Gainesville Sun
Florida receiver Jacob Copeland catches a touchdown pass Saturday against LSU at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.


First half: The Gators scored on their second series after a turnover on downs at the LSU 1, but then went three-and-out and Kyle Trask threw two interceptions, including the pick-six. He led the offense on a pair of second-quarter scoring drives, but fumbled right before the half to give the Tigers a late field goal. 

Second half: Florida opened the second half with back-to-back touchdowns to take a 31-27 lead. But instead of putting the Tigers away, the offense went three-and-out on the next three possessions. Give the unit credit for putting together two late drives for the game-tying field goal attempts, but it shouldn’t have come to that point. 

For the game: When your offense gains 609 yards and your quarterback throws for 474, you should win the game. But when said offense can’t score touchdowns in the red zone and said quarterback turns it over three times, well, you lose. The Gators could’ve had as many as 56 points with their eight trips inside the 20.


First half: UF started the game with a three-and-out, but gave up an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing possession. The unit responded by forcing three consecutive punts, including back-to-back three-and-outs, but the Tigers scored again with 33 seconds left on Kayshon Boutte’s wide-open 34-yard touchdown catch. Instead of taking a 17-14 lead into the locker room, Florida trailed by 10. 

Second half: LSU reached the red zone on its first series, but had to settle for a field goal after the Gators made a stop on third-and-goal from the 2. They forced two straight three-and-outs again, but then allowed a TD drive early in the fourth after Florida had regained the lead. The Tigers punted on their next two possessions, including a sixth three-and-out, before Marco Wilson’s shoe toss saved them for a seventh. 

For the game: The Tigers ran 86 plays Saturday and dominated the time of possession in the second half (20:08 to 9:52). LSU quarterback Max Johnson didn’t look like a true freshman making his first start on the road, throwing for 239 yards and three touchdowns along with 62 yards rushing (minus his sacks). But if not for Wilson’s boneheaded decision, the defense could’ve closed out this game. 


First half: Kicker Evan McPherson added a chip-shot field goal from 23 yards, while punter Jacob Finn boomed his only punt of the half 56 yards to the LSU 11. Kadarius Toney also had an 11-yard punt to midfield, setting up McPherson’s kick. 

Second half: Finn pinned two more punts inside the 20, including a long of 67, while McPherson tied the game at 34 from 31 yards out. But he couldn't send the game to overtime with his 51-yard attempt, missing wide left on the game’s final play. 

For the game: McPherson made his first four field goals of 50 yards this season, a school record, but has now missed twice from 50-plus yards in the last two games. 


This is not the sendoff these seniors deserved. Trask broke Danny Wuerffel’s record and Kadarius Toney had the game of his life (249 all-purpose yards). The opportunity was there for them to pull off a comeback victory and go undefeated at home two years in a row. But Wilson, with his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, threw that away along with Florida’s CFB Playoff hopes.