Before every game, veteran Sun college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here’s Week Six:
1. The Gators put an emphasis on starting fast throughout the week in practice. Will they get off to one tonight or not?
We can’t really call it a fast start, so we’ll go with steady, which was a good thing and led to a field goal on UF’s first possession of the game. After Eddy Pinero’s 29-yard field goal midway through the first quarter, the offense stalled for most of the rest of the first half before the offense came to life with a touchdown drive late in the second quarter that gave the Gators a 10-3 halftime lead.
2. UF is also planning to go with a quicker tempo on offense tonight. How does that work out?
It worked out very well on UF’s opening drive, which was scripted. The Gators got lined up quick and kept the A&M defense somewhat off balance with an unpredictable mix of the run and the pass that led to a field goal. The offense got into a nice rhythm and moved steadily down the field on the 12-play drive. When the Gators went off script from there, things slowed down a little, but UF still was getting plays called and run quicker than a week ago. The Gators had 41 offensive plays in the first half. They had only 54 for the game in the loss to LSU.
3. Will the Florida defense go a fourth straight game without coming up with a turnover?
The drought finally ended with sophomore safety Jeawon Taylor’s interception on a deep throw midway through the first half. It was the first interception of his career, and the first turnover for the defense since freshman cornerback CJ Henderson’s pick-six in the Tennessee game. The Gators, who have not recovered a fumble all season, forced one late in the second quarter, but could not come up with it.
4. Will the Gators produce any explosive plays in the passing game?
With Kadarius Toney out with a separated shoulder and Tyrie Cleveland limited with a sprained ankle, UF didn’t have much in the way of options downfield. Rather than waste downs looking for something that wasn’t there, the passing game consisted mostly of short, safe throws. Feleipe Franks took a deep shot early in the second half, but Josh Hammond could not secure a catchable ball.
5. Can the Florida defense contain dual-threat quarterback Kellen Mond?
The Gators did a great job of keeping him in the pocket and contained in the first half. He had three carries for only one yard. But they let him escape big-time in the second half and he took the game over with his legs — and his arm. His 18-yard scramble set up his 9-yard TD run that tied the game at 10-10. Then, he converted several critical third downs during the Aggies winning rally in the fourth quarter.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.