When you are supposed to handle a team like Florida was supposed to do against Kentucky, sometimes it is tough to look at the bright spots in the game even when the end result is what is wanted. We’ll forge ahead because some nice things also happened on Saturday night in The Swamp.
Player of the Game and Offensive MVP: He may get the reward for the entire country based on his game Saturday night. Demarcus Robinson wasn’t perfect, but at times he was more than perfect.
Robinson had stats that were completely mindboggling if you consider he caught just five passes last year in an offense that couldn’t define forward pass if Webster told them what it meant. 216 receiving yards which followed a 127 yard performance a week ago. He added two touchdowns of the three the Gators scored through the air. Robinson also caught the 4th down, first overtime touchdown that the Gators had to have to stay alive. He dropped another, so he wasn’t perfect on the night.
He is the first 200+ yard receiver in a game since Taylor Jacobs had against UAB in 2002. He is the first receiver at Florida to have consecutive 100-yard receiving games since Jabar Gaffney in 2001. His 15 catches in the game are tied for a school record and sixth all time in the SEC. It was a magnificent night and the gators needed every bit of what he gave.
The Bulldozer: Hats off to Matt Jones. I never thought the junior running back would play again after his freakish injury a year ago and when Florida wanted and needed some tough yards Jones provided them tonight and them some. Jones accounted for four big plays in the run game (12 yards or more) and totaled 156 yards and a touchdown with a 5.6 yard average. Kentucky’s front, as we have said all week, is pretty formidable, and Jones ran through arm tackles all night long. He got hit and kept pushing through. He was a man…. errr bulldozer.
Defensive MVP: A the second half started, the Wildcats began to move the ball through the air. The third quarter was tough on the Gator defense. Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles racked up 151 yards in the third quarter and then we started seeing Dante Fowler. Before the night was over, we saw Fowler come flying off the edge to a sack and two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and four hurries on Towles who seemed to have a lot of time to throw the ball for much of the night. Fowler made a big impact late in the game and we expect that out of him.
Kudos to halftime offensive adjustments: The Gators were moving the ball in the first half. They racked up 232 yards of total offense, but only three points. Quarterback Jeff Driskel looked very unsure of himself against a puzzling defensive alignment and with that came shaky throws. With went all the yardage in the half, Driskel was just 7-20 for 116 yards and an interception in the first half. In the second half (including overtimes)he was 17-21 for 169 yards and two touchdowns, even after the offensive started clicking on the ground a bit.
Driskel came out in the second half with a very different a assured look to his game and that carried through for most of the remainder of the contest.
Special Teams MVP: He’s back. We saw that for sure today, but Kyle Christy punted six times, he averaged 48.7 yards per kick, had a long of 61, and he pinned four punts inside the 20 yard-line. Unfortunately for the Gators they ran into a punter that was very successful as well and the Gators had to start around or inside the 10 yard line most of the first three quarters.
It is late and this place is closing down so I will head home. Tomorrow, I will have more critical analysis in my Redman Reaction” after I watch the replay, so look for it.