Last week I posted “How Florida Can Beat Alabama” and “How Bama Can Beat the Gators.” Well, Bama thumped the Gators 38-10, so let’s see how close reality was to my pre-game comments…
Here’s what I thought Florida would need to do to win…
** Establish the run game. Fail. The Gators rushed 29 times for 15 yards.
** Establish the short passing game. Fail. Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps caught four passes for 34 yards with 25 of those yards coming on one play.
** Take some shots down the field. Success. Florida’s first play of the game? A 65 yard bomb from John Brantley to Andre Dubose for a touchdown. Unfortunately, protection broke down for Brantley as the game wore on and as the Gators became one dimensional.
** Don’t turn the ball over and don’t have a special teams goof-up. Fail. Marquis Maze flipped the field for the Tide with a 70 yard kickoff return and Brantley threw a pick six to Courtney Upshaw to put the Gators in the hold for good.
** Make the Bama offense turn the ball over. Fail. For the fourth straight game Bama didn’t turn the ball over.
What about Alabama? How closely did they follow the script?
** Hang in there, AJ McCarron. Success. McCarron’s numbers weren’t anything special (12/25, 140 yards, 0/0), but he didn’t turn the ball over. He’s progressed from caretaker to game manager, now we’ll see how he can build on this role.
** Be able to run the ball. Success. Bama rushed 43 times for 226 yards against the Gators. That’s 5.3 yards per clip. Trent Richardson carried the load 29 times for 181 yards and two scores and the Bama offensive line showed a dominance not seen since 2009.
** Stop Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. Success. Rainey and Demps were non-factors. In fact, kicker Cade Foster tattoed Demps on a kickoff return and Demps barely played thereafter.
** Put pressure on Brantley. Success. The Tide registered 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. Once the Tide stopped the Gator ground game and the pressure mounted on Brantley, the game was over.
** Hey, a big play wouldn’t hurt. Success. As mentioned above, the kickoff return by Maze and the pick six definitely count as big plays. The Tide did allow one big play – the 65 yard touchdown pass to start the game – but after that, the Gators didn’t come close to a big play.
Alabama was able to accomplish all of their “must dos” while Florida failed on all other than the big play to start the game. That’s how you get a final score of Alabama 38, Florida 10.