Instant Analysis: Dud of a season ends in a thud

Dec 24, 2021 | 0 comments

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Florida fell to 6-7 on the season by losing for the first time ever to Central Florida – getting manhandled 29-17 in the Gasparilla Bowl.

Here is the Instant Analysis.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Florida kicker Chris Howard pushed a 45-yard field goal in the fourth quarter wide right. If Howard had nailed it, the Gators would’ve only been down six and one stop away from potentially taking the lead. Instead, it went right and UCF iced the game from there as Florida struggled to mount any kind of offensive resurgence to close the gap. 

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: Let’s go with UCF receiver Ryan O’Keefe. He was basically the Knights’ offense, accounting for 195 of their 436 total yards for the game on just 11 touches. O’Keefe supplied a huge gain on a reverse to set up a UCF score plus he beat Tre’Vez Johnson on a deep pattern for a 54-yard score to put the Knight up nine just before the fourth quarter. Not to mention Isaiah Bowser’s 35 carries, 155 yards and two touchdowns on the night. 

Plus, Florida’s senior running back Malik Davis started his final year making plays and ended it doing the same. This time in his hometown of Tampa. He didn’t get many touches but made the most of those he did. The Jesuit product accounted for 86 yards on seven carries and a touchdown. 

THESE STATS DON’T LIE: Florida committed four 15-yard penalties in the second half whereas UCF had just one. Two of them extended a UCF scoring drive while another (offensive pass interference on Jacob Copeland) killed a Florida drive. In total, Florida had eight penalties for 85 yards compared to UCF’s four and 42. 

THIS MATCH-UP PROVED KEY: Anyone against Ryan O’Keefe in the open field. The wideout slipped a Rashad Torrence tackle attempt on his reverse carry and then he burned Tre’Vez Johnson on a go route for the touchdown that made it a two-possession game. 

WHAT A PLAY: Lined up in the slot, O’Keefe flew off the line of scrimmage. He blew right by STAR Tre'Vez Johnson on a go route, caught the ball down the sideline, broke to the middle of the field, and threw up the deuces as he scored. It's been referenced several times in this piece, but that was the play that sealed that made a comeback quite difficult for the Gators. 

UP NEXT: The Gators now head into the offseason. The new regime will look to get cooking in the transfer portal, it’ll target more hires and scout more players to hopefully pull into the signing class for 2022. Plus, the players will go home for the remainder of their winter break. Then comes spring practice and an installation of the Billy Napier system and the beginning of his reign as the new head coach at Florida. 

Tags: Event

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