Coming off the one point home loss last week to LSU, one had to wonder how Florida would respond. Would their lack of offensive identity and a Texas A&M team which seemed to be coming into their own be too much to overcome? Or would Texas A&M’s decent performance prove against Alabama prove to be a mirage?
For nearly three quarters of tonight’s game, it looked like nothing much would be gleaned as both offenses bogged down and the game was a defensive struggle knotted at ten points apiece.
As the third quarter was drawing to a close with punts on five of the six combined preceding second half drives, Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks scrambled away from pressure from deep in Florida’s half of the field and went on a meandering 79 yard run that took the Gators into the red zone (aided by a sideline penalty on Texas A&M).
Feleipe Franks just went 79 yards in 20 seconds.— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 15, 2017
Is that good? pic.twitter.com/C11n17U12A
The next play, Dre Massey would run in a six yard touchdown run to give the Gators the lead as they put the game in their defense’s hands. A&M would combine for 97 yards (of 263 total for the game) on their next two offensive series but an ineligible receiver penalty on Christian Kirk took a touchdown off the board and both series ended in field goals.
Kirk redeemed himself with a 43 yard punt return into Florida territory with four minutes remaining and a pair of rushing first downs by true freshman quarterback Kellen Mond put the Aggies in a position for Florida native Daniel LeCamera to convert a 33 yard field goal to take the lead with under a minute remaining. LeCamera went 4-4 in the game and those field goals were the difference in the game.
After a few weeks ago Kevin Sumlin’s future appeared to be in doubt following the season opening defeat against UCLA, the Aggies have strung together three SEC wins in their last four games. With a three week homestand upcoming including conference games against Mississippi State and Auburn and road games at Ole Miss and LSU, eight or nine regular season wins do not appear to be out of the question. Given the start to the season, would that be enough to save Sumlin’s job?
Despite the recent wins, questions remain with A&M, particularly with the offense. After Mond hit on about two thirds of his pass attempts against South Carolina and Alabama, Florida held Mond to 8/24 for 180 yards. Granted the yardage was explosive for the number of completions and he gave the Aggies a boost with his legs with the big fourth quarter runs, but A&M will need more from their offense the rest of the way through the season.