After a slow start to the season, the No. 7/7 Florida Gators (4-1, 2-1 SEC) performed spectacularly against Kentucky last week, only to play their worst game of the season Saturday in a 31-6 loss to the No. 1/1 Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC) on the road at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL. With so much to discuss, OGGOA presents some important notes and quotes.
SECOND-WORSE LOSS SINCE…ALABAMA
The 31-6 beat down by the Crimson Tide on Saturday was Gators head coach Urban Meyer‘s worst loss since his team fell in similar fashion 31-3 in Tuscaloosa in 2005. In addition to both games having been road contests in Alabama, each were the only times under Meyer that Florida has failed to score a touchdown in a game.
HERO ZERO; BRANTLEY’s FAILURES
No, freshman quarterback Trey Burton did not play awful. In fact, as a receiver he caught four solid passes for 33 yards. But one week after being absolutely everything for the Gators, Burton was comparatively nothing, especially when throwing an interception on the goal line on 4th and 1 to conclude the Florida’s first offensive series of the game.
He was not alone as, one week after the best starting performance of his career, redshirt junior QB John Brantley was also brought back to Earth. Brantley completed just over half of his passes for 202 yards but threw two costly interceptions including one which was returned for a touchdown to ice any chance of a comeback by the Gators. Brantley also injured his ribcage in the fourth quarter trying to evade pass rushers and gain a 4th down on a pretty inconsequential play. He is expected to be fine.
TIDE’s RUSHERS STIFF-ARMED
Florida’s defense made it their primary goal to contain Alabama running backs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, one of the few things the Gators actually accomplished Saturday night. Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Ingram was limited to 47 yards on 12 carries, though he did get into the end zone on two short-yardage touchdowns, and Richardson rushed 10 times for 63 yards with a long of 30 that inflated his statistics.
BETTER BUT NOT IMPROVED IN SECOND HALF
Of note is that the Gators actually outplayed the Crimson Tide in the second half, especially when you look at yards gained on offense. However, Florida was unable to gain large chunks of yardage, had too many plays fail and made costly mistakes that did not allow them to take advantage of their improved play. Alabama’s only score of the half was Brantley’s interception return, and Tide QB Greg McElroy was held to 84 yards the entire game (though he did complete 11-of-17 passes).
MVP FOR HENRY
Filling in for injured junior kicker Caleb Sturgis (who was 2-of-4 this season on field goals), senior punter Chas Henry was perfect on the night knocking through both of his attempts. Henry kicked a nice 39-yarder to end the first half and a 21-yard field goal in the beginning of the third quarter. He also punted the ball three times for 187 yards (62.3 average) including a long of 75 and two inside the 20.
QUOTES (After the break…)
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