(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)
For the first time since 2012, the Florida Gators have defeated Texas A&M, snapping a two-game losing streak to the Aggies. Anthony Richardson shined with four total touchdowns while the defense forced two clutch turnovers and a turnover on downs in the fourth quarter as the Gators won 41-24.
Inside the Gators’ Instant Analysis takes a quick look at how the game unfolded.
IT WAS OVER WHEN: Haynes King’s fourth-down pass flew out of bounds for a turnover on downs with 3:36 left in the game. Despite Florida forcing two fumbles, the Gator offense couldn’t score, and the Aggies still had a chance with under five minutes to go. However, the defense came in the clutch one more time by forcing a turnover on downs, leading to a Montrell Johnson touchdown to ice the game.
THEY STOLE THE SHOW: With Texas A&M down a multitude of contributors on defense and Florida without Justin Shorter and Keon Zipperer, the Gators need Anthony Richardson to be a star, and he was. Richardson rushed for two touchdowns in the first quarter, including a 60-yard scamper to put the Gators up 17-14. Richardson was just as efficient through the air with 201 yards and two scores while completing 61 percent of his passes. Devon Achane for Texas A&M had a tremendous game with 122 rushing yards and three total scores, but Florida’s star quarterback was the star of the show.
THESE STATS DON’T LIE: Florida’s rushing attack was prevalent on Saturday. The Gators rushed 50 total times for 291 yards and three scores, good for 5.8 yards per rush. Johnson led the way with 22 carries for 100 yards and a score while Trevor Etienne added 80 more yards on 17 carries. In addition to his two scores, Richardson added 78 total rushing yards. Ricky Pearsall also got some rushes on sweeps, which included a 20-yard carry. The rushing attack was expected to be the focal point, and it broke down the Aggie defense for four quarters.
THIS MATCH-UP PROVED KEY: Florida’s defensive line versus Texas A&M’s offensive line. With Texas A&M having a strong rushing attack with Achane and Florida without Brenton Cox Jr., eyes were on the big bodies up front for both teams. The Aggies looked like they were winning the battle early as Haynes King has no issues hitting receivers and Achane had plenty of room to run. However, Florida’s defensive line made plays when it counted forcing back-to-back fumbles and a turnover on downs in the fourth quarter.
WHAT A PLAY: Ja’Quavion Fraziars’ one-handed touchdown grab. Despite down at half, Florida’s defense made a big stop and the offense capitalized. Richardson hit Fraziars, who started in place of the injured Justin Shorter, for a 19-yard touchdown. In one-on-one coverage with the defender draped all over him, the redshirt sophomore reeled in the pass with one hand for his first touchdown of the season, giving Florida an early lead in the second half.
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UP NEXT: With the win, Florida snaps a two-game losing streak and a two-game road losing streak. Additionally, the Gators improve to 5-4 overall and 2-4 in SEC play. Next week, the Gators return to the Swamp for the final time this season with a sold-out matchup against South Carolina.