The crisis continues. And here’s the worst part: Nobody is really surprised.
Florida’s latest loss – 19-17 to Texas A&M on Saturday – looked painfully familiar. For the second week in a row, Florida played a home game and held the opponent to fewer than 20 points. And both times, it lost the game.
I could go through the details of how it came about, how Florida – other than one broken play, a 79-yard run by quarterback Feleipe Franks – again was totally hopeless offensively in the second half. How the Aggies calmly kicked field goals, kicked off, calmly waited for the Gators to quickly punt it back to them, then went down and kicked another field goal. Rinse and repeat, over and over again. Three fourth-quarter field goals were enough to win the game. Florida had 27 plays in the second half. Twenty-seven plays.
I could tell you to not to blame the defense, that the offense never really helped, that the defense had to keep running out there until it finally ran out of gas. But you already knew that: It’s happened so often in recent years that by now you know the storyline. Yes, the punt coverage on the final punt wasn’t good. But if Florida had made even two more first downs on the drive, that punt would have come from midfield.
Texas A&M finished with 10 first downs, with half coming in the fourth quarter, when the UF defense started to wilt. Aggies freshman quarterback Kellen Mond was 8-of-24. He completed eight passes for the game, and that was enough to beat the Gators in the Swamp. Imagine that. A&M star receiver Christian Kirk, as good a wideout as there is in the nation, had two catches. And that was enough to win. A&M was 4-of-16 on third down. Four of freaking 16. And that was enough to win.
The bottom line is that the Gators are so helplessly bad on offense that every game is going to be an enormous challenge. Every single game. Other than a November home game against UAB, I’m not sure they will win again. The offense is that bad.
The first drive of this game – I assume those plays are mostly scripted – looked a little different. There was much better tempo, some energy, some creativity. But before long – long after the assumed scripted plays ran out – everything pretty much looked the same. The Gators rushed for 242 yards, but it surely didn’t feel like it. They were 4-of-15 on third down. Other than a 20-yard screen pass to Malik Davis, they didn’t complete a pass longer than 12 yards.
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