Florida 27, UL-Lafayette 20: A Win is a Win?

Al Messerschmidt

The Gators needed two touchdowns within in the final two minutes to beat the Ragin' Cajuns.

It was clear what was going to happen after Florida wrapped its SEC schedule against Missouri. The Gators would get a couple of nice, relaxing wins before taking on arch rival FSU after Thanksgiving.

Mark Hudspeth and Louisiana-Lafayette had other ideas. The Ragin' Cajuns had the Gators on the ropes late before a combination of questionable coaching decisions and luck allowed UF to make the dramatic comeback and win 27-20.

Florida had its customary slow start in the first half, but a touchdown right before intermission put the home team up 10-3. After a field goal early in the third, it looked like Florida might be taking control of the game. That wasn't the case, however. ULL ripped off a nine play, 77-yard touchdown drive to pull within three. On Florida's ensuing drive, Jeff Driskel injured his ankle on a run and would not return. The drive stalled. The Cajuns blocked a Kyle Christy punt and returned it for a touchdown to go up 17-13. Another Florida three-and-out came before a 12 play, 77-yard field goal drive extended the ULL lead to a full touchdown.

Florida's defense really came through in the fourth quarter, though, aided by a suddenly ultraconservative offensive attack by Hudspeth's crew. All three possessions in the final frame were three-and-outs for Lafayette, two of which were deep in their own territory and set up short fields for UF's offense. The Gators did nothing and punted the first time they started at midfield, but the second time a long completion to Jordan Reed set up the tying score. ULL's final punt was the fateful one. The punt protection completely broke down, Loucheiz Purifoy blocked it, and Jelani Jenkins ran it in for a touchdown with two seconds on the clock.

While ULL played a great game, this was an awful showing from the Gators' offense. The offensive line, albeit playing without a couple of starters, couldn't keep even a four man rush off of the quarterback all day. The receivers and tight ends dropped a number of passes, including one in the end zone from Reed to Clay Burton on a trick play. They also couldn't get open, as not all of the pressure was purely poor blocking. The basic plan for stopping Florida was set weeks ago—load up on the run and blitz on passing downs—but it's very disturbing that even ULL could pull it off.

Florida won't fall much, if at all, in the polls because it didn't lose, but it's hard to justify a top ten ranking for this outfit right now. The resume looks good, but the team doesn't look good at all on the field.

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