Instant Analysis: No defending Florida's loss to Texas A&M

Oct 10, 2020 | 0 comments

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While no SEC win is easy, the schedule-makers did the Gators a bit of a favor by giving them Ole Miss and South Carolina, two teams who have finished near the bottom of their respective divisions in recent years, to start the season.

No. 4 Florida faced its first major hurdle on Saturday when it faced No. 21 Texas A&M. The Aggies are among the most talented teams in the SEC, have one of the most proven offensive masterminds in the game on their sideline in Jimbo Fisher and enjoy a great home-field advantage at Kyle Field even with a reduced crowd.

It proved too much to overcome on Saturday afternoon, as the Gators fell to the Aggies (2-1), 41-38.

Here is our Instant Analysis.

It Was Over When: With the game tied at 38, the Gators had the ball looking for the winning score. Instead, running back Malik Davis fumbled. The Aggies recovered and drove 40 yards on eight plays. Kicker Seth Small drilled a 26-yard field goal on the final play to win.

They Stole the Show: Pretty much everybody that touched the field on offense for either team stole the show in this one.

UF quarterback Kyle Trask completed 23 of 32 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns. He did a good job of reading the coverage and evading defenders to buy himself some extra time on a couple of throws.

The Gators’ three-man running back rotation of Dameon Pierce, Malik Davis, and Nay’Quan Wright overcame some poor run-blocking by making defenders miss in the backfield and breaking tackles to gain additional yardage. Wright gained 31 yards on his six carries and scored his first career touchdown.

Receiver Kadarius Toney continued his strong start to the season, making seven receptions for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Tight end Kyle Pitts looked like he was playing against a junior varsity team for the third straight time this season. He hauled in five passes for 47 yards and a touchdown.

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond became the school’s career passing leader by completing 25 of 35 passes for 338 yards and three scores.

Florida’s defense had no answers for receiver Caleb Chapman, who made nine receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He entered the day with six career catches.

Aggies running back Isaiah Spiller ran for 174 yards on 27 carries (6.4 yards per carry).

The Stats Don’t Lie: This game resembled an Arena Football League game more than it did a typical SEC game. The Gators gained 402 total yards and averaged 7.2 yards per play. They averaged 13.6 yards per completion. They converted six of nine third downs. The Aggies, meanwhile, racked 543 yards of total offense at a 7.3 yards per play clip. They averaged 13.5 yards per completion. They converted 12 of 15 third downs.

Oh What A Play: Trailing 38-31, the Aggies decided to take a deep shot against the maligned Florida secondary. Chapman got behind Marco Wilson by several yards. Mond threw it well behind Chapman, giving Wilson a chance to make an interception. Instead, the ball went through his hands and into Chapman’s arms for a 51-yard score that turned the tide of the game.

These Matchups Proved Key: The Aggies took advantage of some inexplicably large cushions given by Florida’s defensive backs to produce a big day through the air. Mond also picked on defensive back Marco Wilson throughout the game and enjoyed tremendous success. Texas A&M’s offensive line also dominated, as the Gators recorded no sacks despite employing a number of blitzes.

The same held true on the other side of the ball. The Aggies couldn’t cover the Gators’ receivers or Pitts, and they recorded just one sack and two tackles-for-loss.

Up Next: Things won’t get any easier for the Gators (2-1) next week. They’ll welcome defending national champion and 17th-ranked LSU to the Swamp on Saturday at 3:30. This game has gone down to the wire in each of the last six seasons, with the Gators going 2-4 against the Tigers over that span.


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