If you read my last entry that spoke of how Florida would pull off the upset and you watched last night’s game between the Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators, then you quickly realized that none of what I said needed to happenactually happened. As a result, Florida was out of this game by halftime and Alabama cruised to an easy victory. No early lead, no rattling Greg McElroy, no causing turnovers, no domination by the defensive line. Despite all that, the greatest factor in this humiliating loss for Florida was the 4 turnovers, all of them costly.
If you look at the game stats, Florida actually held it own. Florida out gained Alabama 281 to 273 yards, Alabama had only 1 more first down than the Gators. The two great running backs, Ingram and Richardson, were held to a combined 110 rushing yards. Bama QB Greg McElroy passed for a measly 84 yards, Florida had 11 more plays than Alabama on offense and the Gators won the time of possession 33-28. The difference in this game was the turnovers and the self inflicted errors by Florida which Alabama capitalized on.
The first turnover was perhaps the most important. Florida was trailing 0-3 after surrendering a FG on the opening drive. John Brantley marched down the field into the Alabama 5 yard line. The Gators made it look easy. A reverse run by Omarius Hines should have been run into the endzone for a big play, but 3 Gators could not block the Alabama safety who stopped the play in the redzone. Then Trey Burton came in and Meyer tried running it in 3 times. After being stuffed 3 times Urban Meyer went for it from the 2. The playcall was the Tebow jump pass to the TE, Bama was ready for it, they sniffed it out and picked it off. Alabama would take the ball from the 20 and drive down the field for a TD, making the score 10-0, moments after Gators fans had expected at the very least to be tied 3-3. In a nut shell that sums up the whole day for Florida. Whenever they got close, they self destructed. Florida was in the Alabama redzone 5 times, but only came up with 2 field goals.
The ultimate back-breaker came early in the 3rd quarter after Florida took the opening drive of the second half and got 3 pts. They then held Bama for a 3 and out and got the ball back. Florida was putting together another nice drive, looking like they were going to cut the lead to 24-13, but pressure on John Brantley forced him to throw his second INT of the game, this time it was a pick 6. Nico Johnson took it to the house and just like it was over, 31-6. The score would not change the rest of the game. In the second half Florida actually out gained Alabama 3 to 1, but it was all for nothing. The next time the Gators got inside the Alabama 10, they fumbled it away to add insult to injury.
It is clear that Alabama is a stronger team, physically and mentally. Florida was rattled after early game mistakes and never got back into this game mentally. It is impossible to beat Alabama if you do not make the most of your opportunities. By scoring only 6 points on 5 redzone trips, Florida ensured it would fail in Tuscaloosa. These two teams might meet up again later in the year, but if Florida’s young team does not “grow up” fast, one cannot expect much a of different result. There is no time to feel sorry for yourself in the SEC, just ask the Georgia Bulldogs, so the Gators will need to pick themselves up quickly and be ready for next Saturday when the undefeated LSU Tigers come to Gainesville. Another loss for Florida would put their SEC hopes in serious peril. A win against the top 10 Tigers would but the Gators right back on course to win the SEC East, but that honor will ultimately come down to a November showdown against the Ole Ball Coach and his Gamecocks.
About the Author
Written by The Gator Great