The University of Florida avoided, what could have been, one of college football's greatest upsets on the season this afternoon against UL-Lafayette.
With the nation's third-ranked defense,the Gators managed to contain Louisiana's dual-threat quarterback, Terrance Broadway, while the Ragin' Cajuns made an impressive effort on the defensive end to limit one of the country's best rushing attacks.
As they continue to compete for the SEC East title, a huge play on special teams handed Florida the 27-20 victory in the final seconds
Let's take a look at some of the post-game grades and evaluations—
Jeff Driskel gets set to pass during a Nov. 3 game against Missouri
Overall Game Grade: B
Combined, the two Florida Quarterbacks got the job done. They didn't turn heads or fill up the stat sheets, but they managed the game and put their team in a position to win. Zero turnovers from the two relatively inexperienced players enabled the Gators to keep pace with a hungry Ragin' Cajuns.
Q - 4 B+
Jacoby Brissett struggled to fill Driskel's shoes early on, missing multiple open targets downfield. His lack of mobility in comparison to Driskel made Florida's offense less versatile and more predictable; however, the second-year quarterback from West Palm Beach stepped up when it mattered most with a clutch game-tying drive in the final minutes of the game.
Q - 3 C
Jeff Driskel made some positive gains on the ground, completed just one pass in the third quarter before an ankle injury sidelined him for the remainder of the game. Florida's backup, Jacoby Brissett, received a gift in the form of a dropped interception in the final minutes.
Q - 2 B-
An impressive third down conversion was ruined by three consecutive plays for negative yardage on the Gators' opening drive of the second quarter. Driskel redeemed himself on Florida's third possession of the quarter when he hooked up with Trey Burton for a two-yard touchdown pass before halftime.
Q - 1 B-
Driskel looked good after Florida's defense turned the ball over in the opening minutes. A 15-yard-run on third down extended the Gator drive, which ultimately resulted in three points. The quarterback's accuracy wasn't as sharp as Gator fans would like; however, Driskel was victimized by a big drop and multiple penalties.
Mike Gillislee tries to break free from tacklers during an Oct. 27 game against Georgia
Overall Game Grade: C
Once again, some weaknesses to Florida's offense were exposed. The Gators' inability to establish a formidable passing attack separates them from the nation's title contenders—as was evident in this afternoon's game against the Ragin' Cajuns. Florida's rushing attack even sputtered a bit today, and we would likely be talking about one of college football's biggest upsets if it weren't for their special teams.
Q - 4 B
Florida's first drive of the fourth quarter was much of the same for the Gators. Two more sacks, including a coverage sack on third and 22, gave the Ragin' Cajuns five total for the afternoon and forced Florida to punt on their opening possession of the quarter. A crucial 39-yard catch by Jordan Reed set the stage for a dramatic game-tying touchdown catch by Quinton Dunbar.
Q - 3 C
Florida's 35th-ranked rush offense finally got back on track to start the third quarter with Omarius Hines recorded a 32-yard carry. The Gators QB followed that with a 24-yard carry of his own before Florida's drive stalled in the red zone. Caleb Sturgis added yet another field goal to his season total to give the Gators a 13-3 lead just minutes into the third quarter. However, that is all the Gators would get in the quarter as a blocked punt and three-and-out followed their scoring drive.
Q- 2 B
The Gators' first drive of the second quarter stalled when Driskel was sacked by Emeka Onyenekwu for a six-yard loss, and the Gators' second drive didn't end up any better. Pressure on Driskel proved effective for the Ragin' Cajuns on each of Florida's first two possessions in the second quarter. Finally, the Gators cashed in with a Trey Burton touchdown catch after starting on their own 15-yard line.
Q - 1 C-
Overall, Florida's offense wasn't too impressive in the opening quarter. Their lethal rushing attack was held in check by the Ragin' Cajuns for the most part, and their production given the early turnover was subpar at best. Their three points were a product of field position; not an impressive offense.
Florida allows the third fewest points per game in the nation entering today's game against UL-Lafayette
Overall Game Grade:
What continues to be the staple of this Florida Gators football team showed again why Will Muschamp's team ranks among the top ten teams nationwide. Their combination of fundamentals and pure athleticism allows Florida to compete with anyone on the defensive side of the ball, and it is tough to complain when your defense surrenders just one touchdown all game.
Q - 4 A-
Florida's defense managed to keep the Gators in the game during the fourth quarter. A red zone stand kept the game within a single score in the opening minutes, and the Gators picked up multiple third-down stops to regain possession for their offense. A three-and-out with less than three minutes to play helped set up the game-tying drive, and Florida help the Ragin' Cajuns to just three points in the quarter.
Q - 3 C+
The Gator defense finally showed some vulnerability on the Ragin' Cajuns' first drive of the second half when a steady rushing attack was capped off by a two-yard Alonzo Harris touchdown run. Florida struggled to contain opposing quarterback Terrance Broadway for the first time, and UL-Lafayette pulled to within three points.
Q - 2 B+
A "bend but don't break" theme was apparent for Florida's defense early on in the second quarter. The Gators continued their impressive play on third down after a critical delay of game penalty on the Ragin' Cajuns. Pressure on Terrance Broadway helped end LA-Lafayette's second drive as the Gators held strong near midfield.
Q - 1 B-
Aside from a 49-yard pass play, the Florida defense was pretty solid in the first quarter. A forced fumble and recovery on UL-Lafayette's opening drive gave the Gators prime field position before their offense sputtered. A 49-yard field goal tied the score at three, but the stats didn't tell the entire story as a bulk of the Ragin' Cajun's yardage came from one play.
Caleb Sturgis kicks off during a Sep. 1 game against Bowling Green
Overall Game Grade: A+
Anyone who watched the contest between Florida and LA-Lafayette will understand why I gave the Gators' special teams an A+ overall. Some more consistency would be nice; however, it really is tough to complain when you win a game on a blocked punt.
Q - 4 A+
Florida's special teams unit turned out to be the hero Saturday afternoon when a blocked punt was scooped up and taken to the house by Jelani Jenkins for a game-winning touchdown with two seconds left.
Q - 3 D
A mishap on special teams gave the Ragin' Cajuns their first lead of the game when a blocked Kyle Christy punt went for seven points the other way. A mismatch in the backfield allowed UL-Lafayette's Bradley Brown to blow by a lineman for the block.
Q - 2 A-
Kyle Christy got back to his normal ways with a 50-yard punt in the opening minutes of the second frame. One of the nation's best punters highlighted an otherwise uneventful quarter for Florida's special teams.
Q - 1 A-
Caleb Sturgis recovered from an injured ankle to give Florida their only points in the opening quarter on a 38-yard field goal. Kyle Christy's punt fell short of his season average (35 yards), and the Gators return team didn't do anything noteworthy.
Will Muschamp has his Gators in first place in the SEC East at 8-1
Overall Game Grade: C+
The fact that LA-Lafayette almost upset the ninth ranked team in the nation makes it difficult for me to give Florida's coaching staff anything higher than a "C". Some controversial play calls early on left many frustrated, but late-game success helped conceal such early mistakes.
Q - 4 A-
A lackluster performance from the Gators was overcome with clutch performances from their special teams. Though Florida had numerous miscues on the day, Will Muschamp and the rest of the coaching staff pushed the right buttons at the right time.
Q - 3 C+
The offensive play calling was was run-heavy for much of the quarter. The departure of Jeff Driskel left Will Muschamp and Co. with limited options and an unexperienced signal caller, but the Gators still managed to move the ball fairly effectively on the ground. On the defensive side, Florida showed they were susceptible to big plays from mobile quarterbacks.
Q - 2 B-
The offensive play calling was unimpressive once again including a questionable screen play which resulted in a loss of yardage. The Gators continued to be burdened by costly penalties and miscues; however, a late-quarter touchdown helped compensate for Florida's mistakes.
Q - 1 B-
Play calling on the defensive side of the ball wasn't a problem with the exception of the exploited coverage on the 49-yard pass play. Offensively, Gator fans didn't have much to complain about; however, their execution wasn't where it needed to be. Both costly penalties and drops hurt Florida in the opening quarter—factors that can ultimately be traced back to coaching