Running off at the
Victory...Triumphant... Successful... These are the synonyms that symbolize what the Florida Gators and Ron Zook were searching for the last several weeks.. Over the last 12 years these words became common vocabulary among Gator fans. Saturday night featured an improbable ending with the unlikeliest of heroes. Bobby McCray was not on double secret probation when he blocked the kick of Damon Duval. By doing so it delivered joy to Gators everywhere and now UF can move forward on the heels of a 30-23 overtime win against Auburn. It was not the smoothest nor was it easy, but the bottom line is, it was a win. At 5-3 the Gators are still in a position to go to a New Year's Day Bowl but right now the only thing these Zookers are thinking about is victory.
Quarterback: B+ Big time throw for the game winner in overtime coupled with very few mistakes and Rex Grossman did the job he was asked to do. Ingle Martin proved he is a "gamer" and that no matter what he looks like in practice his wrinkle to the offense may become a regular occurrence.(those who read the scouting report knew this was coming).
Running Back: B A workmanlike effort in which Ran Carthon earned the opportunity to get the ball on 4th and 1. I would have used Earnest Graham who is a better "low" runner. Nonetheless, they combined for almost 150 yards.(remember the scouting report). Florida got it's first rushing touchdown in three games. They need more redzone production.
Wide Receivers and Tight End: B+ Aaron Walker and Ben Troupe combined for 4 catches while Kelvin Kight chipped in with 4 as well. Taylor Jacobs came back to life with the sensational catch in overtime. This unit can play better but did a nice job when the chips were down.
Offensive Line: B The unit did a solid job with 100+ rushing yards and 200+ passing yards. The improvement in short yardage situations and the redzone area will need to happen against Georgia. But with a quarterback who had a bad knee and a team that knew you were going to run they responded.
Defensive Line: B- For nearly three quarters this was a B+. But Ian Scott's mates wore down and got beat in the fourth quarter. Scott and Clint Mitchell are the leaders of this group, but maybe Bobby McCray's block of the field goal attempt by Damon Duval will help raise his level of play. Auburn had only 213 yards in the first 3 quarters.
Linebackers: C Again see the notes on the defensive line. This is a unit that has developed some depth over the last few games with the play of Dwright Jackson, Travis Harris and Todd McCollough getting healthy. There were too many missed tackles but a solid first three quarters. The Tigers had just 6 first downs going into the final stanza.
Secondary: B Guss Scott was tremendous as was Robert Cromartie. Florida has one the most physical secondary's in the conference. Lester Norwood started for Todd Johnson and did a solid job. Daniel Cobb had no open receivers when he was in the game. The only long pass was the screen to Ronnie Brown in which many defenders missed tackling opportunities.
Special Teams: A How can you not give them an A? Talcott with the extra points and Leach hitting a huge 48 yard field goal that is at least a step in the right direction. Leach connected on field goals from 48,38 and 20. Also a punt downed at the one yard line was big.
Snippets and Tidbits...
Auburn's streak of 23 wins in a row under Tommy Tuberville when scoring 21+ points is over. Florida is now 1-2 and Ron Zook is 1-0 in overtime games. Florida has now blocked two field goals this season as well as one punt. The first touchdown was the longest drive of the season on the clock. The Gators used 7:16 and 13 plays. Grossman hit five different receivers on the series. Florida's defense held Auburn to 91 yards in the first half which was their lowest output of the season. Rex Grossman's two touchdown passes equaled the entire total given up this season by the Auburn secondary. Florida played seven offensive lineman consistently in the game. Florida has now scored 105 of it's 223 points in the second quarter. Taylor Jacobs huge night gives him 57 receptions on the season the 13th season in a row the Gators have had a 50+catch receiver. Rex Grossman is now 4th on the Florida passing list and Earnest Graham is tied for 4th on the Gator All time rushing touchdown list.
Georgia is up next and with the bye week the Gators will practice Tuesday-Thursday. It will allow Grossman, Todd Johnson and Marques Oquendo Johnson time to get rested and heal up. The Gators should be at full strength. The Bulldogs play at Kentucky this week in a game that will not include three of their better players who are nursing injury. Musa Smith, Fred Gibson and Jon Stinchcomb are banged up. The Dogs need to lose to Florida and then either this week at Kentucky, Nov. 9 at home to Ole Miss or Nov. 16 at Auburn for the Gators to have a chance to go to Atlanta. Georgia will be ranked #5 in the new BCS poll released today.