Whitley At The Half: We just witnessed the worst defensive half in college football history

David Whitley
Gator Sports
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Gainesville Sun sports columnist David Whitley provides first-half analysis of Saturday's Florida vs. Samford game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium:

Samford 42, Florida 35.

That is not a typo.

The Gators have given up the most points in a half in a school history.

Florida fans couldn’t have enjoyed that, but Todd Grantham probably did. Five days after he was fired as defensive coordinator, the Gators’ had arguably the worst defensive half in college football history.

It was certainly the worst first quarter.

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Samford, an FCS school with 4-5 record, scored 21 points against Florida, an FBS team playing at home. The Bulldogs had scoring drives of 75, 75 and 79 yards.

Think about it. Has an FCS or Division 1-AA team ever scored 28 points in a half on the road against an FBS team? Statisticians are checking that as we speak.

The first quarter was definitely one for the history books. The school once known as DBU (Defensive Back University) gave up 177 yards passing and touchdown throws of 40 and 58 yards.

By halftime, Florida had allowed 298 yards passing.

Florida's problems are clearly bigger than Todd Grantham, who was fired this week

Grantham’s interim replacement, Christian Robinson, was supposed to bring energy and synchronicity to the defense. Instead, the first 30 minutes was a spectacular display of disarray and confusion.

None of which meant Grantham shouldn’t have been fired. But it’s obvious Florida’s problems are much bigger than one man.

•Speaking of which….

Samford’s Montrell Washington returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown against Florida since the 2014 Missouri game.

But at least the Gators couldn’t blame that one on the defense.

•Saving Grace for UF: Samford’s defense is as bad as its offense is good. The Gators rolled up 382 yards in the first half, averaging 10.3 yards a play. They’ll probably end up with 700 yards total offense.

Will that be enough to subdue the mighty Bulldogs?

• Ben Hill Griffin Stadium’s about two-thirds full, and most of those fans are rubbing their eyes in disbelief. The sparseness made it easy to spot a group of about 20 students wore white hardhats and neon green vests. They held up a sign the read “Rebuilding Year.”

It’s going to take a lot more than 20 students to rebuild this mess.

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