- Former Florida Player Feedback: 10 Observations
- WCC Insider: Florida commit to see Miami
- Grading the offensive two-deep depth chart
- Grading the defensive two-deep depth chart
- Watch: Behind-the-Scenes look at the Rushing family’s visit to Florida
Just because this is the bye week, that doesn’t need to mean that there’s no meaningful Florida football to be seen today. The Gators currently stand at 4-3, but had any nine of the 10 plays below gone the other way, UF could just as easily be 6-1, or even 2-5.
With that being said, Inside the Gators counts down the Gators’ 10 most consequential plays to this point of the season.
10) LSU’s Jayden Daniels’ 54-yard touchdown pass on third down in the second quarter
The Situation: The game is tied 21-21 in the second quarter when Brenton Cox and Ventrell Miller combine to stop Jayden Daniels for a two-yard gain on second and 10. Normally, that would be a great situation, but this is the Florida defense we’re talking about. On third and eight Daniels hit Jaray Jenkins for a 54-yard touchdown pass for a 28-21 lead for the Tigers and a small, but significant, glimpse of the third-down issues that have plagued the Gators this season.
9) Jalen Kitna’s 62-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Douglas Vs. Eastern Washington
The Situation: With Florida up 38-3 in the third quarter, the game was no longer in doubt, but Jalen Kitna‘s touchdown completion to Caleb Douglas was the first time in the first five games of the season that we got a glimpse of the backup quarterback. It was hinted, and then plainly stated, that Anthony Richardson‘s reluctance to run early in the season was due mainly to Florida’s quarterback situation. After Kitna’s performance in this game, the coaching staff had to come away feeling pretty good about Kitna’s ability to fill in if something were to happen to Richardson.
8) Hendon Hooker’s 45-yard completion to Jacob Warren
The Situation: Up by 10 (31-21) Tennessee got the ball back after Anthony Richardson‘s fumble at their own 13-yard line. On the first play of the drive, what has unfortunately become synonymous with UF this season, there wasn’t a defender in sight as Jacob Hooker hooked up with Jacob Warren down the left sideline. It isn’t realistic to think that Florida was going to keep an offense as prolific as Tennessee in check an entire game, but it hurts more when they walk up and down the field on plays where they didn’t have to earn it.
7) Anthony Richardson’s 81-yard touchdown run Vs. LSU
The Situation: Florida is down 42-21 to LSU. On the first play of the fourth quarter Anthony Richardson‘s long touchdown run not only cuts the Tigers’ lead to two touchdowns but also gives the Gators enough of a boost to score another touchdown to really give UF a sign of life in the game.
6) Anthony Richardson’s miraculous two-point conversion against No. 7 Utah
The Situation: Down 19-14 to No. 7 ranked Utah in the fourth quarter Montrell Johnson scored from three yards out to give Florida a 20-19 lead. Following the chart, UF goes for two to go up by three points. Anthony Richardson not only made the play of the game in a spinning two-point pass to Ja’Quavion Fraziars but he put the college football world on notice that when he is playing his best, he is something special.
5) Jason Marshall Jr.’s interception was overturned after roughing the passer call against Gervon Dexter Sr. Vs. LSU
The Situation: Down by seven points with just under six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Jason Marshall intercepts Jayden Daniels on a second and nine throw. However, Florida defensive tackle Gervon Dexter is called for roughing the passer. Instead of having the ball just shy of midfield, instead, the penalty allowed LSU to continue with the drive, running another four minutes off the clock before kicking a field goal to extend its lead to 10 points.
4) Billy Napier going for two while down 11 against Tennessee
The Situation: The point can be made that Billy Napier’s willingness to gamble is what put Florida in a position to win the game in the first place. However, his game management (from forgoing a chance at three on the first drive, to calling the time out, which was to Tennessee’s advantage right before half, to both of the two-point conversion calls) also ended up costing the Gators the chance at the win. Down 38-21, Florida scored to narrow the score to 11, but Napier decided to go for two, the missed opportunity to cut it to 10 (which would have negated the need to go for two on the next drive and would have meant only needing three for the tie on the last drive) proved fatal.
3) Anthony Richardson’s pick-six Vs. No. 20 Kentucky
The Situation: In the third quarter, with the score tied at 16-16 and Florida driving, on a first and 10 play Anthony Richardson and Nay’Quan Wright got their signals crossed, and the result was Keidron Smith racing down the sideline with a pick-six and a seven-point Kentucky lead. After the hot start against Utah, it can be said that Richardson’s turnovers singlehandedly lost this game for Florida.
2) Jaydon Hill’s 49-yard pick-six return Vs. Missouri
The Situation: With Florida up 3-0 in the first quarter, on a third and six from Missouri’s 44-yard line, Jaydon Hill jumped a pass from Brady Cook and returned it down the sideline for a touchdown and a Gators’ 10-0 lead. At the time it seemed like it was just one score of what was going to be a blowout Florida victory, instead, it ended up providing the margin of victory.
1) Amari Burney’s interception against No. 7 Utah
The Situation: With Utah down 29-26, the Utes drove 69-yards in 1:08. On a second and six from the six, with Utah in a position to at the very least tie the game, Amari Burney picked off Cam Rising in the endzone to preserve Florida’s biggest victory of the season.
(Video courtesy LibGator condensed game clips posted on YouTube from CBS Sports, ESPN & SEC Network)