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.