The Florida Gators (3-0) shutout the North Texas Mean Green (1-2) 32-0 in an ugly, yet physical game. Even though Florida won, Florida had a huge loss, with an injury, to an impact player. The Florida Gators will miss Luke Del Rio, for 2-4 weeks but he is expected to play on October 8th when the Gators take on the LSU Tigers. Florida will need “the next man up”, to step up for what should be a very competitive game versus the Tennessee Volunteers. Here are the wins and losses for the Florida Gators week 3 versus the North Texas Mean Green.
Win #1- Gators’ defense plays lights out
Some people might not agree, but I believe the Florida Gators have the best defense in the country. The defense stats substantiate “Best Defense” tag, so far. The Gators defense allowed only 53 yards in 50 plays Vs the Mean Green. That broke the school record for least yards allowed by a Gators defense, which was previously 59 yards versus Western Carolina in 2006. Yes, it was a bad North Texas team but, when you only allow 53 total yards with 7 sacks and an interception, it’s a great day, no matter who you are playing against. With cornerbacks like Jalen “Teez” Tabor and Quincy Wilson, who do you throw the ball to? And when you do challenge the Gators defense through the air, the Gators lead the country with most sacks totaling 17.
Win #2- All four running backs dominant
The four-headed monster of Jordan Scarlett, Mark Thompson, Lamical Perine and Jordan Cronkrite rush for over 200 yards and four touchdowns. Nobody seems to have an answer to this Gators running game. Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine have played the best out of the running backs but, you cannot sit Thompson and Cronkrite. Against North Texas, Mark Thompson rushed 11 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Scarlett had 11 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown. Lamical Perine had 11 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Cronkrite had 9 carries for 46 yards and you guessed it, a touchdown. The Gators running backs totaled 250 yards with over five yards per carry.
Win #3- O-Line continues to make progress
The Florida Gators’ biggest weakness last season, was the inconsistent offensive line play. In 2016, the offensive line has taken big steps in correcting the inconsistent play. This has given the quarterback more time to throw the football and create holes for the running backs to attack. Even without Tyler Jordan, they played well by not allowing a sack and helping the running backs do their jobs. Fred Johnson and Richerd Desir-Jones stepped it up at right guard, without Tyler Jordan who missed the game with an eye injury. If the Gators OL continues to make progress, you can expect the Gators offense to complement their already stout defense and possibly challenge for SEC championship.
Loss #1- Luke Del Rio sprains MCL, out 2-4 weeks
The Florida Gators’ starting QB was injured in the middle of the third quarter. When a North Texas defensive player launched himself into Del Rio’s knees. It was definitely a scary moment for the Gators and their fans, as Del Rio laid on the ground with the knee injury. Head coach Jim McElwain walked up to midfield and started barking at the North Texas bench in disgust as he felt it was a dirty hit on Del Rio. Luckily, Luke Del Rio was able to walk off the field on his power and give the Florida faithful a thumbs up. Luke Del Rio was diagnosed with MCL sprain in his left knee. This is not a serious injury when it pertains to knee injuries. Get well soon Del Rio.
Loss #2- Passing game struggles without Antonio Callaway
Standout wide receiver, Antonio Callaway, was out for the North Texas game with a quad injury. The injury is not severe. Antonio Callaway is expected to suit up when the Gators go to Knoxville, Tennessee to take on the Volunteers. The wide receivers struggled to get open. Del Rio was not able to throw quick passes like he is used to. Josh Hammond had the best game out of all of the receivers with two catches and 72 yards. Antonio Callaway attracts a lot of attention so without him in the game, everybody was accounted for.
Florida will try to extend their eleven game winning streak versus Tennessee without Luke Del Rio at quarterback. Graduate transfer, Austin Appleby, will be handed the reins to the offense and help the Gators beat their hated rivals. This Florida-Tennessee game should be a very fun game to watch. There will be no lack of energy coming from either sideline. Florida was already hyped for this game before the Del Rio injury. Now with that injury, it will only add fuel to the fire as the Florida Gators look to keep the streak alive. Go Gators!