Plain and simple, the Florida defensive front didn’t show up.
Yes, I know that Vernon Hargreaves was beaten a couple of times and there were errors in the secondary that netted uncovered offensive personnel on the field, but there was zero pass rush for the entire game and holes like we haven’t seen for the running game starting with the first drive.
Outside of the first half of the LSU game way back when, the Florida defensive front has played stellar in every game until worn out in the two late losses to end the regular season and SEC Championship team.
A unit that thrives on the depth it uses to constantly bring pressure and stuff the run was basically rendered useless against a Michigan front that constantly had answers for guys that got penetration. The quarterback as given time to make those long passes that we haven’t seen many of from anyone. The safety play was also as bad as it has been all year long. Too many times they were there late for a play including one long pass play completed on Hargreaves with Marcus Maye getting over late.
On a day where the offense started the game moving the ball a great deal and helping to keep the defense off the field, the defense didn’t do their part for really the first time all season. That is a disappointing end to the year for that side of the ball that has been tremendous throughout the season.
It isn’t to say that the offense played lights out. But we saw again where the staff put the players more often than not in position to make plays. Treon Harris played pretty well when he was allowed, but a dropped touchdown by NFL bound DeMarcus Robinson, two dropped balls by sophomore DeAndre Goolsby certainly didn’t help the cause.
Harris wasn’t great by any means, he threw a red zone interception that was about as ill-advised of a throw as he has made all year. That was with the score close in the first half and the Gators on their third long drive of the half. The latter a very rare occurrence indeed.
Any kudos for the game would go to junior running back Kelvin Taylor and punter Johnny Townsend. Taylor amassed 50 yards on the day and crossed the 1,000 yard plateau for the first time in his career and only the second running back at Florida to do so since 2004. Junior punter Johnny Townsend also did well averaging 54 yards on four punts in the contest, continuing his stellar play on the season.
It is hard to explain what happened up front on defense, and we shouldn’t totally negate the play of Michigan, but the front seven hasn’t played like this against any team all year and really was the catalyst for the blowout.