Before I re-watch the tape of No. 10 Florida's 24-6 victory, here are some rapid reaction grades. ICYMI: Check out my gamer on UF's 24th straight season opening win too.
OFFENSE - C+
Esteemed SB Nation college football writer Bill Connelly labeled Florida's ugly, yet effective ground-n-pound offense 'murderball' in his 2013 season preview.
Although the Gators flashed potential improvements in the passing game -- QB Jeff Driskel started the game 10-of-11 -- the explosive plays still weren't there. UF again played to its identity: downhill running. The Return of the Mack (Brown) led the way (114 yards, two TDs), but Mark Herndon and Kelvin Taylor chipped in too.
Driskel & Co. struggled in the second half, but they still controlled the clock/tempo (Will Muschamp's main goal) and ultimately forced the Rockets to say 'Uncle'.
There's still a lot to be desired here, but bright spots (Brown, Valdez Showers, Gideon Ajagbe) emerged.
Brent Pease called a vanilla game and got a vanilla result. We'll see just how many bullets he held next week versus Miami.
DEFENSE - A
Florida was missing two of its best players (Antonio Morrison & Loucheiz Purifoy) and its top pass rusher had a quite afternoon (Dante Fowler Jr.), yet the Gators held last season's No. 32 ranked offense to 205 total yards, six points and just a single third-down conversion (1-of-13).
Defensive tackle Dominique Easley propelled a nasty front-four, leading the team (along with Ronald Powell) with three quarterback hurries.
Toledo's tempo caused some problems in the second half, but the Gators avoided any back-breaking plays. Speedy slot wideout Bernard Reedy talked lots of trash before the game, yet he was largly held in check by UF's deep secondary.
Overall, Florida's young defense -- replacing seven starters from last season's unit -- played well against a formidable offense.
SPECIAL TEAMS - B-
Redshirt freshman kicker Austin Hardin was 1-of-2 on field goal attempts, connecting on a 24-yarder while pushing a 39-yard attempt wide left.
Marcus Roberson had several nice punt returns (a long of 38 yards), but All-American punter Kyle Christy struggled a bit, averaging just 38.3 yards on four kicks.
Florida's coverage units were solid, with freshman safety Keanu Neal really standing out. Dude was a missile on kickoff returns.
Now it's your turn. Thoughts? Comments? Have at it.
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