This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.
It was a bad week on the field and on the recruiting trail, Gators fans.
Here’s hoping this week will be better?
🥊 Florida puts up fight in fall to Georgia
Hey, at least we didn’t get shut out!
No. 1 Georgia opened up a big first-half lead that was just too much for Florida to overcome, winning the annual neutral-site rivalry game in Jacksonville on Saturday 42-20.
The unranked Gators (4-4, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) didn’t go down easily and put up a fight in the second half, making it a one-score game. Down 28-3 at halftime, the Gators came out in the third quarter and scored 17 unanswered points against the undefeated Bulldogs (8-0, 5-0).
“That’s nothing new for us. We’ve been in plenty of games like that before this year, and we’ve always fought through it, so that’s just us. That’s just how we play ball,” Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson said after the game. “We try not to put ourselves in a hole like that early, but that’s just how we play ball. We like to fight and just play aggressive.”
GAME RECAP: No. 1 Georgia pulls away late, defeats Florida 42-20
Florida defensive lineman Tyreak Sapp said the message at halftime was “come together.”
“We’ve got to be tightknit throughout every position group. Everybody on the team — offense, defense — we got to be complementary to each other. We got to come out in that second half, and we’ve got to play better, more tightknit and more together football,” he shared.
Gators coach Billy Napier said his team responded the right way at halftime.
“We were able to get a score, create some takeaways, and get it back to a game, but ultimately weren’t able to do enough there to take advantage of some of the opportunities that we had,” he said.
“We got it to one score, and they rushed the ball very effective in that possession and ended up scoring a touchdown to get it back to two scores. We will watch the film and we will see a lot of areas that we can do better. We can coach better, and we can play better. But yes, they got the momentum back when they scored. I think in that drive they rushed the ball primarily after the quarterback had thrown a handful of interceptions.”
The three takeaways by Florida were promising despite the defense giving up 555 yards. Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, who helped lead the Bulldogs to a national championship last season, completed 19 of 38 passes for 316 yards in the air, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He only recorded a yard on the ground.
Richardson, on the other hand, played a turnover-free game. He was 18 of 37 for 271 passing yards and a touchdown, as well as 19 rushing yards. And that was after the low, late hit he took in Florida’s first offensive play of the game.
This was Georgia’s fifth win over Florida in the last six seasons.
In the latest episode of Gators Breakdown, host David Waters reviews the game that played out pretty much like he thought it would.
The Gators have now lost 12 of their last 15 SEC games, and Georgia’s real test of this season will come this weekend when they host No. 2 Tennessee (8-0, 4-0).
😞 Nation’s top defender commits to Miami over Florida
Miami shocked the college football recruiting world by gaining the commitment of the country’s top defender, Cormani McClain, over Florida.
The five-star cornerback from Lakeland — who the 247 Sports Composite and the On3 Consensus have as the No. 2 player in the nation — announced his pledge to the Hurricanes on Thursday.
David, in another Gators Breakdown episode, gives his reaction to the big miss.
Florida’s 2023 recruiting class has 22 verbal commitments. Both the 247 Sports Composite and the On3 Consensus now have the Gators at No. 9 in the recruiting team rankings.
✈️ Gators taking road trip to College Station
If the Gators don’t want to fall below .500, they’ll have to pull off a win this week against an SEC team — a feat that has only happened once this season.
For the second time in three seasons, Florida will travel to College Station to take on Texas A&M (3-5, 1-4). Saturday’s kickoff is at noon, and the game will air on ESPN.
Like the Gators, the Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies are also coming off a loss. Texas A&M fell 31-28 to Mississippi last week at home. It was Texas A&M’s fourth straight loss for the school’s longest slide since losing four straight at the end of the 2005 season.
According to FanDuel Sports, the Aggies are 3-point favorites over the Gators.
Florida last traveled to Texas A&M in 2020 and lost to the Aggies 41-38. This will be the fourth meeting between the two programs since Texas A&M joined the SEC. The overall series favors the Aggies at 3-2.
Make sure to visit News4JAX.com/GatorsBreakdown later this week to find David’s preview of the matchup.
✉️ Send us your Gators thoughts & questions
David and I want to hear from you. Do you have any thoughts or questions about the Gators football program? Agree or disagree with something we’ve said? Let us know here, and we’ll share our responses to your questions.
🎙️ Listen to more Gators Breakdown
You can catch up on episodes of Gators Breakdown at News4JAX.com/GatorsBreakdown or click one of the following to tune in: Megaphone | Apple Podcasts | YouTube | Google Podcasts | Stitcher