Instant Analysis: Bowl Bound

Nov 27, 2021 | 0 comments

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Florida is bowl eligible after the Gators overcame three Emory Jones' first-half interceptions and then held on to beat Florida State 24-21 to finish the regular season at 6-6.

Here is the Instant Analysis.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Dameon Pierce powered into the endzone from three yards out and gave Florida a 24-7 lead over rival Florida State. The Noles did make it interesting at the end with a pair of scores in the fourth quarter. But an embarrassing whiff on an onside kick gave the ball back so Florida could run out the clock, hold on for the win and earn bowl eligibility against its in-state rivals.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: How about the Florida defense? This Gators unit allowed 348 yards and 21 points against the Seminoles. Florida needed it to step up when the offense couldn’t score or turned the ball over. Brenton Cox Jr. led a pass rush that terrorized the Florida State offensive line and quarterback Jordan Travis. Cox finished with all four of Florida’s sacks plus a forced fumble. Those four sacks tied for the most by a Gator player in a game since 2002. Not to mention, the Christian Robinson-led group forced four fumbles with one recovery and two interceptions. Albeit there was a breakdown in the game’s final quarter. But, prior to that, the Gator defense allowed just 191 yards of offense through three quarters.

THESE STATS DON’T LIE: Obviously there’s the yardage totals, Florida outgained the Seminoles 357 to 348. Florida ended up with only 24 points on the board despite that yardage total due to three interceptions by quarterback Emory Jones. He was eventually replaced by Anthony Richardson. Richardson didn’t exactly put up major numbers but did the most important thing: took care of the football. With Florida able to sustain a few drives, the Gators scored 17 points in the second half to Florida State’s 14 to take home the win.

THIS MATCH-UP PROVED KEY: We already mentioned it once but Florida’s defensive front vs. the Seminoles’ offensive line was a match-up won by the Gators. The line and linebackers’ ability to get penetration on seemingly every play was a big factor in limiting the Florida State offense. With no time to throw, Jordan Travis had to improvise seemingly every passing down. This resulted in an inconsistent effort for the Seminoles.

WHAT A PLAY: Anthony Richardson handed off to Dameon Pierce who went up the left side then cut back to the middle. As a Florida State defense went to tackle him, Pierce’s helmet came off when he shed it. Pierce ignored the rule requiring him to stop once his helmet came off. He then sprinted to the endzone and bulldozed into a group of FSU players for a score. However, the play did not count as it is a dead ball and subsequent penalty if a player participates without a helmet.

If you’re looking for play that counted, Anthony Richardson threw a pearl to wide receiver Justin Shorter in the back of the endzone. Shorter lunged for the ball, bobbled it, and then secured the reception for a touchdown to help the Gators go up 17-7.

UP NEXT: The Gators wrap up the regular season at 6-6 thanks to a win in one of the weirdest and worst games of the year. With bowl eligibility earned, Florida awaits its bowling destination.

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