Instant Analysis: Gators get oh so close in 31-29 loss to No. 1 Tide

Sep 18, 2021 | 0 comments

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No. 11 Florida played host to top-ranked, reigning champion, Alabama in one of the most anticipated games in the history of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. It didn’t disappoint. After an early deficit, the Gators fought their way back into it and came up just short in a game they were expected to lose by two touchdowns. 

Here’s our Instant Analysis.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Alabama picked up a 3rd-and-1 from their own 34-yard line with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter. Florida had fought back and gotten themselves within a field goal and had a chance to give their offense the ball back with under two minutes left to play. However, Alabama showed its toughness as Tide running back Brian Robinson pounded through traffic and won the game for the visitors. 

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: Is it cheating to say the fans? The Swamp was at its absolute best against the Tide, 90,000 strong and full voice. It’s a night Florida fans will never forget.

Between the lines, Florida’s offensive line was incredible. Alabama’s stout defensive front was getting pushed around and ripped open, giving ample running room for a dynamic backfield. The line was a question mark coming into the year. It’s not anymore.

THESE STATS DON’T LIE: Florida outgained Alabama 258 to 91 on the ground. All week people questioned if the Gators could run the ball against the Tide and they responded with an emphatic yes. Malik Davis had 86, Emory Jones had 77, and Nay’Quan Wright had 58. Florida played to its strengths and put itself in spitting distance of the best team in college football.

THIS MATCH-UP PROVED KEY: Bryce Young vs. the Florida defense. His ability to evade the rush, find an open man late in the drive, and never hurt his team is what gave Alabama a win. His stats faded after the first quarter, as did most everything for the Tide, but he did what all great quarterbacks do: win the game.

WHAT A PLAY: After a hard-fought comeback, Florida drove its way down the field and punched it in for what was almost a game-tying touchdown. A fantastic pull from left guard Josh Braun and an excellent seal from Keon Zipperer give Dameon Pierce more than enough room to find the endzone. The ensuing two-point conversion was no good, ultimately dooming the Gators. 

Fun fact, if Florida converted that missed extra point and made another XP after this touchdown, it’s a tie game. Everything matters.

UP NEXT: The Gators open up play in the SEC East next week when they play host to Tennessee and its new head coach Josh Heupel in a primetime rivalry showdown. The Vols are in an interesting spot right now, but the Gators should be favored to take care of business.

Tags: Event

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