Following a sloppy 17-16 loss to LSU on homecoming, the Florida Gators (3-2) look to rebound against Texas A&M (4-2) this Saturday. Start time at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL is set for 7:00 EST for this SEC crossover game. It can be seen on ESPN2.
Florida continues to have woes on offense. With more and more missing pieces in the passing game, it seems to have become nonexistent. The resurgent running, led by freshman Malik Davis, has become the lifeline for them on that side of the ball.
Their defense is still one of the better groups in the SEC, but their defensive line was beaten last week by a freshman-heavy LSU O-line. They’ll keep Florida in most games, but they can be run on. They gave up 216 yards rushing against the Tigers, the most they’ve allowed this season.
Texas A&M was also run on often, and with much success, by Alabama. They gave up 232 on the ground, and are working to match their run-stopping abilities to their intense pass-rush.
Offensively, they are also attempting to develop freshman Kellen Mond. He’s come a long way from going 3 for 17 in his first game, with last week’s game a stable showing against Alabama. Besides one interception against the Tide, there can’t be much to complain about in his play.
The Aggies will also be looking to control the game on the ground, and go into the Swamp as 2 ½-point underdogs.
Who is more likely to find balance and cause disruption? That’s the question that will decide this game. And Texas A&M is the only answer to it.
Mond is not a superstar by any stretch, but he can hit some tight windows and has a top-tier SEC WR, Christian Kirk, to throw to. Florida QB Feleipe Franks doesn’t have that kind of weapon in the passing game anymore. With Antonio Callaway suspended and Tyrie Cleveland hurt, those are two top-10 SEC receivers the Gators are without.
So, as far as balance goes, the Aggies have the advantage. That’s because RB Trayveon Williams (5.2 YPC) is a considerable threat to break through a Gators D that allowed freshmen O-linemen, a banged up Derrius Guice, and jet sweeps to beat them last week.
And as far as disruption goes, the Gators can’t even hold that edge anymore. The secondary is young and hampered by injuries, no longer DB University like they were over the last few seasons. They have 13 sacks, but that’s not near the rate they’re used to having.
The Aggies, on the other hand, have 23 sacks, led by Landis Durham (5.5), Tyrel Dodson (4), and Otaro Alaka (4). Three productive pass-rushers is one too many for the Florida O-line, even if they have made some strides.
Florida will probably run the ball as well as they did last week. They may even put up an extra 10 points over last Saturday’s figure. But the Aggies are facing a defense that is only a shade of what it was in 2016. They’ll simply outpace Florida offensively to pick up a win.