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Grading the Gators: Great defense for a half; good offense throughout

David Whitley
Gator Sports
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The Florida Gators defeated Texas A&M in College Station on Saturday and hope the win leads to a good November.

Here are our grades:

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Offense: A minus

As shaky as A&M’s defense is, not many people expected UF to score on its first four possessions. The Gators stalled in the fourth quarter, but you can’t gripe too much about a 41-point day with no turnovers.

Receivers Ja’Quavion Fraziars and Xzavier Henderson stepped up nicely in the absence of injured Justin Shorter. The line paved the way for 291 yards rushing.

Anthony Richardson was a dual-threat defensive nightmare. His best two games have come at Tennessee and the A&M. He seems to like hostile environments. That’s good news for UF, since two of its last three games are on the road.

Defense: C plus

The first half was a well-earned F as A&M racked up 307 yards total offense and 24 points. That despite the fact about half of A&M’s starting lineup was injured or out with the flu. And its offense wasn’t that good to begin with.

The second half was a solid A, a grade that hasn’t been seen all season. Fatigue might have accounted for some of A&M’s problems, but defensive coordinator Patrick Toney made effective adjustments. UF was dominant, allowing zero points, 106 yards total offense and an average of 2.7 yards per play. When the Gators needed a big play, the defense delivered with two fumble-causing sacks.

Special Teams: B minus

They didn’t play a big role, though Adam Mihalik’s missed 28-yard field goal at the start of the fourth quarter would have loomed large if the Aggies had scored on the ensuing drive. Mihalik nailed his only other attempt, a 50-yarder. Xzavier Henderson’s 28-yard punt return set up the go-ahead TD in the third quarter.

Jeremy Pruitt averaged 44.7 yards and had good hang time on his three punts. That’s one reason Texas A&M mustered only 19 returns yards.

The Aggies also opted not to return most of UF’s kickoffs, even those that didn’t make the end zone. That was fine by the Gators.

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