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Gator Grades: Beatdown in the Bayou

BATON ROUGE, La -- Before I re-watch the tape (later in the week) of No. 17 Florida’s 17-6 defeat to No. 10 LSU, here are some rapid reaction grades.

OFFENSE D-

Woof. That was ugly. Brent Pease, UF’s offensive coordinator, didn’t have a great day, but the unit’s demise was mainly due to porous offensive line play. Quarterback Tyler Murphy was inaccurate and sluggish in his decision-making, but really, the redshirt junior never had a chance. The Tigers’ ferocious front-seven beat Florida at its own game in a reverse déjà vu performance from UF’s 14-6 win in The Swamp last season. 

Anthony Johnson and the rest of LSU’s relentless front harassed UF’s leaky offensive line to the tune of four sacks and eight tackles for loss. UF had 60 yards on its opening drive, but totaled just 34 yards the rest of the first half and struggled to run with ball with any real effectiveness (111 yards on 40 carries) all afternoon. Murphy is not the miracle man, as the Gators proved they still have plenty of issues on murderball offense.

DEFENSE B-

Florida’s defense didn’t play that poorly -- all things considered. The nation’s No. 2 ranked unit held LSU’s excellent attack under 400 yards, while Zach Mettenberger was a pedestrian 9-of-17 for 152 yards and zero touchdowns. But key penalties (roughing the passer, pass interference, offsides) and inconsistent rush defense plagued the Gators all afternoon.

LSU had just four first downs after halftime, but it was another little-to-late adjustments by Muschamp’s defense. Jeremy Hill gashed UF for 121 yards on 19 carries -- the first 100+ yard rushing performance since Todd Gurley of Georgia in 2012.

SPECIAL TEAMS B

Why hey there, Frankie Valdez. Florida just may have found its newest kicker in the most unlikely of people. The redshirt junior walk-on was a perfect 2-for-2 and displayed none of the jitters of his predessors (Austin Hardin and Brad Phillips). Coverage: both punt and kick were solid, and the fake-punt pass was well designed and executed. All-American punter Kyle Christy continues to be an enigma bad though. Seriously, what is wrong with the former Ray Guy Award runner-up?

Thoughts? Comments?

Have at it.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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