The Florida Gators dropped their first game of the season as they lost 31-29 to the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide in the Swamp. The Gators definitely gave the Tide a run for their money.
Alabama had a great first quarter in which they dominated Florida 21-3. However, the Gators probably outplayed Alabama for the other three quarters but they had dug themselves into a pretty big hole.
One thing that Florida did exceptionally well against the Crimson Tide was win in the trenches and run the ball. The Gators ran for over 200 yards against Alabama’s front seven. Florida’s defense also held The Tide to under 100 rushing yards.
The Gators had a ton of success running the football and they didn’t have their leading rusher available. With Anthony Richardson out with a hamstring injury. Emory Jones played all four quarters and looked much better than he has against weaker competition. He only had one touchdown but he made big throws when he needed to and gave the Gators a chance to beat Alabama.
Florida – Alabama Game: Three Takeaways
Slow Starts Cost Florida
When playing a great team like Alabama, the best way to beat them is by getting off to a fast start and don’t turn over the football. The Gators had a horrible first quarter in which they let Alabama’s quarterback Bryce Young throw for three touchdowns.
It doesn’t help that Jones also threw an interception giving the Crimson Tide a short field that resulted in a touchdown. A lot of teams probably would have thrown in the towel and gotten beat pretty badly.
The Gators were able to rebound from their mistakes, fight back, and almost beat Alabama. However, a missed extra point was the difference from Florida sending the game into overtime and losing by two points. If the Gators clean up their mistakes in the first quarter, they might have won the game. With that being said, there’s nothing they can do about the Alabama game now; their focus needs to shift towards Tennessee.
Florida’s Dominates in the Trenches
Everyone knew that Florida was going to be a run-first offense with Emory Jones as their quarterback. Florida’s running back has some talented players but the biggest question would their offensive line be able to create running lanes and hold their blocks for their backs.
In the Bama game, Florida’s offensive line absolutely bested Alabama’s star-studded front seven. Two offensive linemen that stood out in the game were Ethan White and Kingsley Eguakun. Both of them did an excellent job of double-teaming Alabama’s big defensive tackles. They also created rushing lanes for their quarterback and running backs. The Gators rushed for 245 yards on 43 carries (averaging 5.7 yards per carry) and four touchdowns.
Florida’s front seven also had a solid game against the Tide’s offensive line. Alabama only rushed for 91 yards and scored once. This is the third time they have been held under 100 rushing yards since 2014.
Emory Jones Finally Plays a Complete Game
Redshirt-junior quarterback Emory Jones has been talked about a ton this season. While most of it has not been positive Jones struggled in his first two games. Without Richardson, many wondered how well Jones would have played in the games against FAU and USF.
The box score doesn’t suggest that Jones played a good game. Yet, he actually looked more comfortable late in the Alabama game. Much more than he did against FAU and USF. Jones also did a nice job of running the ball and made some clutch passes in tough situations.
The Georgia native looked like he could play at the SEC level. Jones didn’t make a lot of mistakes he was going through his progressions. Which is something he wasn’t doing before. He looked comfortable in the pocket and also played fast. If Jones continues to improve and minimize the turnovers, he could have a good season as well as help the Gators reach their goals.