Florida-Mississippi State: 10 Numbers That Spell Gator Relief vs. the Bulldogs

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Florida-Mississippi State: 10 Numbers That Spell Gator Relief vs. the Bulldogs
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The pig roast that Florida head coach Urban Meyer and his Gators had planned for homecoming didn’t turn out as expected.

 

Last weekend the visiting Arkansas Razorbacks gave Florida all they could handle, and the result was a huge case of indigestion for the Gators, a headache for the pollsters, and hope for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

 

Since the meal that Meyer and his Gators were hoping to serve turned out to be “offensive” here are 10 antacids that hopefully will settle things down before Florida’s road trip to Starkville.

 

Warning: If problems persist after playing the Bulldogs please immediately contact your health-care provider.

 

 

Minus-Four

 

The turnover margin of the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

 

Florida gets to try to improve its own dismal turnover margin (minus-two) by playing a team that has given up the ball more than they have.

 

Here’s hoping that the Gators trade a bit of speed for a two-armed ball wrap once they encounter Bulldog traffic.

 

 

Two

 

The number of criticisms that have been successfully addressed by this year’s Florida Gators.

 

As ugly as the Gators’ perfect season has looked at times, some very important milestones have been achieved.

 

For starters, this year’s Gator squad finally won a game against LSU at night in Baton Rouge.

 

Florida also came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Arkansas on a last second field goal.

 

The Gators are learning how to win under difficult circumstances. A night game in Starkville against the Bulldogs no longer conjures up memories of upsets or the sound of cowbells.

 

 

14

 

The number of potential Gator points robbed by red zone turnovers last week.

 

Add a dropped touchdown pass and a botched field goal and the number jumps to 24 missed points.

 

That’s the second highest total of potentially missed points for the Gators in the Meyer era.

 

Florida rarely fails to move forward after a bad game. With a week’s worth of practice focusing on the fundamentals, the Gators' Saturday night contest against Mississippi State should be no exception.

 

 

One

 

The number of former Gators assistant coaches who are now head coaches at Mississippi State.

 

When Dan Mullen traded in his seat in the booth for a top spot on the sideline, he brought to Starkville a lot more than just his family and a trailer full of furnishings.

 

He brought the spread offense.

 

But, as everybody knows, the first year working with the spread is usually a tough one. Mullen has done a competent job of getting his inherited Bulldog squad to buy into his vision, but the road has been rocky.

 

It will get even rockier Saturday night.

 

 

One Again!

 

The number of college football defensive coordinators who get to prepare for a game against his former offensive coordinator in Starkville this weekend.

 

Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong is looking to make a point.

 

The nation’s top defensive squad looked less than stellar against the Razorbacks, and Strong is eager for his unit to return to top form.

 

Missed tackles and blown coverage assignments against the Hogs also made this week’s practice a study in fundamentals.

 

Charlie will make a point with his refocused squad, a familiar offensive scheme, and better talent.

 

 

45.2

 

The average number of penalty yards for the Gators each game.

 

This is about half of the average penalty yards Florida racked up per game last year.

 

Now that the offense is not blowing opponents away it’s good to know that about 40 yards per game will be saved simply by playing clean. Fewer mistakes also means that the Gators are successful in getting plays and audibles relayed to the huddle quickly and efficiently.

 

Bottom line? Crowd noise, a point of pride with the fans of the maroon and white, may be less of a factor for the Gators this year.

 

 

x2

 

The difference in passing touchdowns between the Gators and the Bulldogs.

 

With all the concerns surrounding the Florida passing game, Meyer can feel a bit better knowing that Mississippi State has had a harder time finding the end zone in the air than the Gators.

 

For the record, Florida has 12 scoring strikes and MSU only six.

 

Should the running game for each team resemble the smash-fest in Gainesville last week, Meyer knows that his passing attack should be more successful than what the Bulldogs can muster.

 

Perhaps this might be the breakout game for the Gator wideouts.

 

 

37 and 30

 

Bulldog Anthony Dixon’s percentage contribution to offensive touchdowns (seven rushing) and total offense (116 yards per game).

 

Mullen’s best weapon is also the key to a Gator victory.

 

Regardless of the issues with the Gator defense last week, the Gator defensive unit has a good track record of keying on top opponent playmakers.

 

This week, with a healthy Brandon Spikes back in the lineup, the Gators should be able to contain Dixon and force the Bulldogs into a less effective alternative game plan.

 

 

Zero

 

Room for tolerance within the Florida Gator football team.

 

Florida’s “effort” against the Razorbacks should have evoked the same response as losing to Ole Miss did last year.

 

Although we are not hearing any remaining season promises from Tebow, we are hearing stern remarks from Meyer.

 

Nobody is happy with the progress of the season, and the illusion of superiority associated with an undefeated record has vanished without a trace.

 

Cockiness first turned into shock and now shock has turned to anger.

 

And in the SEC, a bit of anger is a good thing.

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