Now that it’s been at least 48 hours, it’s time we take a look and evaluate how the Gators played against the Bayou Bengals in Baton Rouge. Spoiler alert: still not great. No amount of time or reframing will make that performance better as it is easily one of the Top 3 worst losses the Gators suffered under Dan Mullen.
Can’t complain against 42 points on the board. However, you can complain about four interceptions between two quarterbacks with obvious deficiencies in some areas. Not only that but the offense didn’t establish the same dominance in the run game fans are used to seeing. The Gators ran it 35 times, which is on-pace for how much they usually do, and only gained 138 yards. Their first time under 150 all year and the three straight game under 200 after averaging well over 200 the first four games. Part of that is likely game script as Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson combined for 40 attempts on the afternoon. The completion percentage wasn’t great at about 57.5 percent. However, 350 yards passing is the highest number Florida posted through the air since Week 2 against USF. Albeit, some of that did come on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half. But take away at least two of those picks and have maybe a little more aggressive play calling at the beginning of the game and who knows how many points are scored.
And Lord knows they’d need every single one because the defense put on yet another historically bad performance when needed. First off it allowed 42 points to a team that managed around 20 its last two games. Secondly, it allowed 321 yards on the ground to a team second to only Mississippi State in lowest number of rushing yards per game in the conference heading into Saturday. The Tigers averaged 4.5 yards before contact rushing for a total of 175 yards in that category. Tyrion Davis-Price had three 100-yard rushing games to his name in about 2.5 years at LSU. Now, he holds the single-game rushing record and doubled his season touchdown total from two to five on Saturday. The most egregious part of all was the defense’s inability to stop or adjust to the same play the Tigers ran down its throat for a majority of the second half. The lack of any kind of adjustment whatsoever to that directly falls on the coaching staff. Not only that but the defense allowed all of one receiver’s catches to be touchdown passes. Either way you slice it, I think the sentiment is clear for most Gator fans: Todd Grantham should be given a one-way ticket out of Gainesville.
Special Teams: B
It wasn’t all doom and gloom! The special teams played OK. The blemishes? Florida missing yet another extra point due to a lapse on the line of scrimmage. Not to mention a muffed punt return by Xzavier Henderson. Other than that Florida allowed just two returns all day. Jeremy Crawshaw once again punted well averaging over 43 yards an attempt including a 57-yarder and two downed inside the 20. Oh and how about the Gators getting a partial punt block too!
It’s the second straight year where Florida plays down to an LSU team ravaged by injury and internal conflict with morale at a low point. A team where the players reportedly no longer wanted to play their head coach and coaches didn’t want to coach for him. A head coach who probably saved his job with a win over Florida last year but couldn’t this season. Also, it’s another game in the Mullen era where the team just doesn’t seem ready and loses embarrassingly. Hey, at least they won the yardage game! That’s what really matters. After the Kentucky game, there was a glimmer of hope something could be made of this season. But now it’s officially lost in terms of accomplishing any significant goals for the year. And fans now know changes need to be made by the head man or he’ll soon find himself on the chopping block. Brace yourselves too, folks. Because Georgia is right around the corner.