- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The good and the bad from Florida’s 20-17 victory at Texas A&M on Saturday:
1. Fewer penalties: One week after committing 14 penalties, the Gators only committed three against Texas A&M. All came in the game’s first 23 minutes. Only one came on offense (Xavier Nixon’s false start). Is it an aberration or a trend? Need a few more weeks to answer that one, but UF did a good job being disciplined against the Aggies.
2. Halftime adjustments: The Gators were getting gashed by Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel in the first half, but a simple adjustment at halftime rendered him ineffective in the second half. UF coach Will Muschamp told his defensive front to quit running up field and trying to make a big play and to stay in their lanes, hold the line of scrimmage, and play their assignments. It sounds simple, and it really is, but sometimes it’s hard to get players to dial back on their aggressiveness. This time they did and it worked. Texas A&M managed just 65 yards of offense in the second half.
3. Smash-mouth football: The Gators were able to salt away the game by controlling the ball for the final 3:13. UF was able to run the ball and kill the clock despite facing eight-man fronts. It’s a sign that the line might be getting better. A&M helped by committing a facemask penalty, but QB Jeff Driskel also added a 21-yard run.
1. Another drop: Muschamp has been praising WR Frankie Hammond as the Gators’ most consistent receiver, but the redshirt senior had another drop on Saturday. This time it was on a slant pattern at the goal line. Driskel delivered a perfect strike and the ball went through Hammond’s hands. That’s his third drop in two games.
2. Short-yardage woes: Florida continues to struggle when facing 1 or 2 yards to go for a first down. The Gators went 2-for-4 in that situation against the Aggies, with Hunter Joyer and Matt Jones failing to convert. Trey Burton converted the other two chances, although one came on a fake punt in which holder John Crofoot flipped a shovel pass to Burton for a 3-yard gain on fourth-and-1.
3. Rash of injuries: RB Mike Gillislee (hip), LB Jelani Jenkins (thumb), S Cody Riggs (foot) and S Josh Evans (shoulder) all missed time against Texas A&M because of injuries. Their status for the Tennessee game is uncertain, but Muschamp said he didn’t believe any of the injuries were particularly serious. In addition, numerous players were affected by cramps, including RT Chaz Green. He missed several series while getting IV fluids, Muschamp said.
2dSam Khan Jr.