The Florida Gators kicked off their season with a win on Saturday, however, the win was not as satisfying. UF beat UMass 24-7 to move to 1-0 on the season, but the win did not seem to answer many questions, but raise a few. Florida still has some work to do offensively to create a balanced attack, while the defense fared well in the game, the depth at defensive back is one to cause concern if starters were to get injured down the line. But the defense did keep the Minutemen off the board completely for three quarters, and the front seven proved why they are among the elite in college football.
Game Ball: This was an easy choice for me, linebacker Alex Anzalone healthy is something special. Anzalone had a great game on Saturday recording one sack for a six-yard loss, six tackles, three assisted, and a pass breakup. Anzalone also gave UMass sophomore quarterback Ross Comis plenty of fits and was often seen providing a tremendous amount of pressure.
They Said it: “I'm not happy at all with the penalties, especially the three personal fouls,” said Florida head coach Jim McElwain. “In one case, their touchdown-scoring drive was 35 yards of unforced errors caused by us, and that's how you're going to play winning football and that's a little bit disappointing. But with that, our guys played hard.
“It’s not acceptable. What did we have, like eight of them for 80 yards? The thing that bothers you probably more than anything is they were unforced. The kind where you can say maybe hustled on one of them and whatever. But we’ve just got to play smarter and we can’t put ourselves in holes. That was a big thing when we got here. We did a good job of kind of eliminating some of those. But when you have three majors like that in a game, that ain’t right.”
They Said it: "We gave that team a chance and we let them stick around for a while,'' said veteran linebacker Jarrad Davis. "When it comes to bigger opponents, stronger opponents, we can't do that to ourselves."
"We were having successful plays, just penalties, one missed block here, a drop here, a missed throw here, just little things like that kind of hindered drives individually," said Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio. "I thought we did a fairly decent job of executing the game plan. We need to do a better job at being more consistent and finishing drives."
Medical Report: Two big injury concerns after Saturday's game, wide receiver Dre Massey and defensive back Duke Dawson both did not factor in the second half with injuries. Although Dawson went to twitter on Sunday saying he will be back for the next game, there has been nothing from Massey.
By the Numbers: 80- The Gators had 8 penalties for 80-yards on Saturday. 107- The Gators had 107 rushing yards on 29 attempts, averaging under 4-yards carry and compared to 256 yards passing. 187- UMass had less than 200 yards on offense. 9- The Gators converted just nine third down conversions in 17 attempts. 65- Luke Del Rio completed 65 percent of his passes on Saturday. 26-the longest play of the game was Brandon Powell's 26-yard catch in the fourth quarter. 10- The defense did not allow UMass to complete 10 percent of its third down.
What's Next: The Gators will open up SEC play next Saturday, when they welcome Kentucky to the Swamp. The game is set to kickoff at 3:30 PM.