Instant Analysis: A come-from-behind win to build on

Florida 41 - South Carolina 39

by Rafael De Los Santos
0 comment

Please Read: Welcome to the new-look Inside the Gators

Billy Napier’s Florida Gators won their first road game of the season as they battled back from a 10-point deficit to defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks 41-39 in Columbia. The Gators came into the day with two road wins since the start of 2021, the second-fewest behind only Texas A&M’s one. They’ll leave with what might be a season-defining win.

Inside the Gators’ Instant Analysis takes a quick look at how the game unfolded.

IT WAS OVER WHEN:  This one came down to the wire as the football gods finally smiled down on the Gators away from the Swamp. Needing a miracle and a touchdown, South Carolina took the field on their own 25 following a clutch Ricky Pearsall touchdown to give the Gators the lead. Miguel Mitchell would intercept Spencer Rattler’s 40-yard prayer with twenty seconds to go to end a historic Napier-era thriller.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW:  Spencer Rattler and Graham Mertz put on an absolute shootout today as they combined for 736 yards and seven touchdowns. Florida has been a run-first team under Napier, but someone flicked that switch when the Gators set foot in Columbia.

For the Gators, Mertz came out gunning with a 30-for-48 game good for three touchdowns. The Wisconsin transfer came into the game boasting an SEC-leading 80% pass completion. But in a move away from the conservative passer he’d become at Florida, when the clock hit all zeroes for the last time Mertz had posted what will be remembered as a career night.

THESE STATS DON’T LIE:  The Gamecocks owned the Florida third down as they converted five-of-10 on the day. Florida came into the game ranked the 8th best third down defense in the country allowing a 26.5% conversion rate. Road games are hard enough as it is, especially for Billy Napier. But trying to win a road game giving up 50% of third downs is nearly impossible. Florida went zero-of-seven on third down in the second half as they pulled away with a win on the offensive side of the ball converting three of its four fourth downs.

THIS MATCH-UP PROVED KEY: Ricky Pearsall Vs. Clayton White’s secondary. What a night to have a night for the Arizona State transfer. Pearsall set himself up for the biggest touchdown of his Florida career with a 26-yard reception on a crucial Florida fourth down with 2:34 to go. Pearsall would end the night with 166 passing yards on ten receptions and the game-sealing touchdown.

WHAT A PLAY: Down by 10 points in the fourth quarter Graham Mertz threw the ball a bit high, but tight end Arlis Boardingham reached up and tipped it to himself for a touchdown, to pull Florida to within 37-34

UP NEXT: The Gators (5-2) will head into a bye week before facing No. 1 Georgia in the annual Florida-Georgia game on Oct. 28 at 3:30 P.M.

Right-click on the images below to open a bigger version in a new browser

Go to discussion...

Related Articles


Leave a comment

Please log in to your forum account to comment

Community platform by XenForo® © 2010-2022 XenForo Ltd. Style and add-ons by ThemeHouse