Whitley grades the Gators
Gainesville Sun sports columnist David Whitley passes out unit grades for Florida's contest Saturday vs. LSU, a 49-42 loss at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge:
Gators Offense B-
Six touchdowns is usually A territory, but not when you throw in four interceptions and throw out the strongest part of your attack. The Gators’ running game generated a season-low 138 yards, that against the nation’s 77th-best rushing defense. Kentucky and UCLA pounded the ball against the Tigers, but Dan Mullen seemed intent on having the passing game set up the run.
LSU’s injury-depleted defense pressured Florida’s quarterbacks into bad throws and poor choices. Four interceptions were deadly. All that was partially mitigated by Anthony Richardson coming alive and leading four consecutive TD drives in the second half. Mullen’s play-calling is more aggressive when Florida trails, and the Gators were almost good enough to overcome their own mistakes. Almost doesn't count in any league, especially the SEC.
Gators Defense D-
Forty-nine points? The offense didn’t do the defense any favors with four interceptions, including a pick-six. But after forcing punts on LSU’s first three possessions, the Gators were bumfuzzled by an LSU offense that depended partly on crafty QB Max Johnson and largely on running back Tyrion Davis-Price. He rewrote both schools’ record books by rushing for 287 yards.
How did an offense that was averaging 83.3 yards rushing find so many gaping holes, most coming on simple counter plays? Whatever adjustments defensive coordinator Todd Grantham made, they didn’t work. On the plus side, nobody threw a shoe at a critical moment. Otherwise, it was all too reminiscent of the kind of 2020 defensive meltdown UF thought it had left behind.
Gators Special Teams B
They didn’t have much impact on the game, pro or con. Jordan Pouncey blocked a punt, a first on the season. But an extra point was also blocked. Otherwise, the coverage teams did their jobs and punter Jeremy Crawshaw dropped three punts inside the 20.