Gators Weekly: Florida looks to continue its dominance
That’s what football fans all around the country thought during the Mississippi-Florida blowout last Saturday night. Fans and experts may have expected a blowout, but definitely not the blowout that occurred.
Florida ran circles around Ole Miss Saturday, upsetting the Rebels 38-10. In a game where Florida was never losing, domination is an understatement. Florida QB Will Grier played close to perfect completing 24 of 29 passes for 271 yards and 4 touchdowns finishing with a total QBR rating of 88.6.
The Gators started off the game strong, scoring on two of their first three drives. Grier connected with WR Demarcus Robinson for a leaping 36 yard pass for a touchdown and the first score of the game. A fumble for Mississippi would set up another scoring drive for the Gators taking a commanding 13-0 after a 2 yard touchdown pass by Grier to TE Jake McGee. At the end of the first quarter, the Gators ferocious defense only allowed 18 yards of total offense against a team that had scored 43 points against Alabama just two weeks earlier.
At the start of the second, Mississippi drove down the field and kicker Gary Wunderlich missed a 29 yard field goal to miss a golden opportunity of getting his team on the board. The Gators would then score on their last two drives of the first half, after another two touchdown passes from Will Grier. Going into the half, Florida led 25-0 and for Ole Miss fans, it would only get uglier from there.
Ole Miss finally put up points on the board taking a nine minute drive to hit a 22 yard field goal and cut the deficit to 22. After Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly coughed up the ball again, and Florida was able to convert for their first field goal and take a 28-3 lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, Kelly turned it over once more; however, this time it was through the air. Gators CB Vernon Hargreaves III intercepted Kelly and returned it 36 yards to the Mississippi five yard line. It wasn’t a good day for Kelly, as he threw for 259 yards passing with one touchdown, one interception, and three fumbles resulting in a total QBR rating of 44.4. That turnover by Kelly would result in a 22 yard field goal for the Gators. The game would end with 2 total touchdowns being scored by both teams. Florida scored by handing it off to Jordan Cronkite for the one yard score, while Markell Pack caught a seven yard pass thrown by Kelly for Ole Miss’ first—and last— touchdown of the game. The Gators won by a final score of 38-10 piling up 355 yards of total offense and forcing four turnovers. With the win, Florida jumped from #25 to #11 in the Associated Press poll making the second largest jump ever in AP Poll history with 14.
“We’ve just got to enjoy this. This is pretty cool,” said Florida head coach, Jim McElwain, following the big win against the Rebels. That’s all it was Coach? Cool? If you call upsetting the number three team in the nation at a sold out Ben Hill Griffin Stadium under the lights in Gainseville cool, I’m excited to see what he thinks is awesome.
Prediction for Florida @ Missouri: Florida showed that they have the talent and potential to play with the best of them last Saturday, but will they be able to do it again? This week Florida plays a touch SEC divisional opponent in Mizzou. With the SEC, every week is as big as the last as there are no weak links in this conference. This is a great test for this Florida offense to see if they can play like last week. I said last article that if Grier showed signs of consistency moving forward, the Gators would be looking good for the future. And so far so good, as through the fourth quarter against Tennessee and the game against Mississippi, that’s all he’s shown. If Grier keeps up the way he’s playing now, the Gators could be seeing themselves contending for a title down the road. Somewhere where nobody expected them to be at— at least not yet.
Predicted Score: UF 27 Mizzou 13