Grading the Gators: Florida’s season ends on sour note

Zach Abolverdi
Gainesville Sun
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Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins (7) celebrates after sacking Florida quarterback Emory Jones during the second half of the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday.


First half: Florida quarterback Kyle Trask started the game with three interceptions, including a pick-six on the first series and a turnover in the red zone. The Gators also didn’t take advantage of two fumbles in Oklahoma territory, having to kick field goals inside the 20 both times. The only successful series was the 16-play, 88-yard touchdown drive by Emory Jones. 

Second half: The Gators punted on their first three possessions of the third quarter as Jones took over for Trask. Florida’s backup then led the offense on another red-zone drive, but couldn't score on fourth-and-goal early in the fourth. After a three-and-out, freshman QB Anthony Richardson checked in and threw his first career touchdown to Texas transfer Jordan Pouncey. 

For the game: UF certainly missed star tight end Kyle Pitts and its top three receivers, failing to score in the 30s for the first time this season. Trask should have opted out as well in hindsight, but wanted to be there for his team. He probably regretted that decision after the sixth or seventh dropped pass. 


First half: After giving up a quick touchdown on the game’s opening drive, Florida forced a field goal following Trask’s second interception. Then the Gators really buckled down defensively, forcing two fumbles and a punt on three consecutive possessions. Their offense, however, failed to score touchdowns in the red zone and Oklahoma reeled off a pair of TD drives to go up 31-13. 

Second half: The Sooners punted to start the third quarter, but scored 24 total points on their next four possessions. Cotton Bowl MVP Rhamondre Stevenson had a 15-yard score, quarterback Spencer Rattler threw his third touchdown and Oklahoma’s offense dominated UF on the ground. Stevenson and others combined for 307 yards rushing in the second half and 435 for the game. 

For the game: Despite missing several starters, the defense kept Florida in the game early after Trask’s turnovers. The two scores right before halftime, however, erased any chance of mounting a comeback. The Gators played a lot of freshmen in the second half and it showed.


First half: Florida had to turn to kicker Evan McPherson twice in the red zone, and he made both attempts from 21 and 35 yards. He tried a third field goal from 58 yards out, but the kick was short. After making his first four attempts of 50 yards or more this season, McPherson missed his last three. 

Second half: Jacob Finn punted twice, pinning the Sooners inside the 20 both times with a long of 59. Freshman Jeremy Crawshaw also played, with his first career punt pinning OU at its own 11 and his second going for 50 yards. 

For the game: Florida’s specialists performed well, but special teams had no impact on this game and McPherson’s contributions should have been minimal. If the Gators score touchdowns in the red zone, McPherson only attempts one kick Wednesday. 


UF ended the season on a sour note by dropping its third consecutive game, and this one wasn’t close like the previous two or the loss at Texas A&M. It was still a special year for Trask and this program, but an 8-4 record is not the way you want to finish.

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