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Rapid Recap – Florida Gators can’t overcome stout Michigan defense

Ari Russell



(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

The Florida Gators offense never seemed to gain any sort of momentum on Saturday in Arlington against the Michigan Wolverines and ultimately had their will broken falling 33-17. This game going in was a battle of attrition as far as rosters were concerned but for different reasons. The Wolverines had lost quite a bit of starters , especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Gators had several suspensions going in including WR Antonio Callaway, who’s the team’s best offensive weapons.

It was clear on Saturday that Michigan overcame their attrition much better than Florida did. The Gators did look much better in the first half, taking a 3-0 lead. The Wolverines would score 10 unanswered in the first quarter, which included a beautiful pass from Wilton Speight to true freshman sensation WR Tarik Black for 48 yards.

In the second quarter the Gators defense flexed their muscle scoring two TDs off INT returns in back to back Michigan possessions. The first was Duke Dawson who took it to the house from 48 yards out, followed by CJ Henderson’s 41 yard INT return. All of a sudden the Gators took the 17-10 lead. The Wolverines would kick a field goal as the Gators held the lead 17-13 going into half time.

In the third quarter it was Michigan’s defense which decided to pound their chests. Feleipe Franks who was given the nod as starting QB, wasn’t able to get much going.   He was pulled after going 5/9 for 75 yards for Malik Zaire who was more or less just as ineffective going 9/17 for 106 yards.

It was a tough day for Florida’s offense all together. The Wolverines held the Gators to only 192 yards of total offense and forced three fumbles. The last being the nail in the coffin, making the score 33-17. The Gators defense on the other hand gave up 433 total yards, including 215 on the ground, Ty Issac having 114 of them on 11 carries.

The Gators lose their first opening game in 27 years, which was the longest active streak. Moving forward there are still going to be questions regarding the QB position as there were no flashes shown against Michigan. There wasn’t much margin for error against a very well coached Michigan team, and the suspensions made that margin impossible to overcome as proven by Michigan’s completely dominant second half.


Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

Florida Gators

Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

Florida Football Insiders



Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.

The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:

A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.

With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.

As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.

Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.

It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.

Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.

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Florida Gators

Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools

Jamil King



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.

The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of  former DB C.J. Henderson.

Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.

The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.

Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?

Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.

The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.

Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.

Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.

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