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Thoughts On The Disappointing Performance Against Charlotte

The Florida Gators came in looking like this would be an easy win. Gator fans expected to see many of the younger players in the second half from the outstanding recruiting class. But mistakes on offense made this game turn out to be what I was afraid of coming off a big win over Tennessee. Florida slowed themselves down a lot in the red zone, and they only scored one touchdown against the 49ers on a six-yard touchdown pass from Graham Mertz to tight end Arlis Boardingham, but after that, Florida would kick five Trey Smack field goals the rest of the night. The most positive things about Florida's win over Charlotte are that the Gators have a kicker, Trey Smack, who nailed a 54-yard field goal, and that the Gator defense is the top defense in the SEC. This is why the Gators avoided Charlotte from making this game closer than it actually was.

In the win over Charlotte, the play that will be talked about the most is Ricky Pearsall's ridiculous catch, which was also a one-handed grab that literally looked like the Gators Jordan Brand logo. Still, Florida could not find the endzone out of the catch with a targeting penalty added to it. The running game, however, which was why Florida executed so well against Tennessee, could not get going due to the struggles on the offensive line. Florida was thin on the offensive line due to the suspensions from the fight at the end of the Tennessee game, but still, it is disappointing not to see the Gators light up the scoreboard in a game where they are a huge favorite.

Gator fans on social media were Tweeting feed seven, which means give the ball to Trevor Etienne. Even Trevor Etienne's brother Travis was getting frustrated and Tweeted "FREE7." I will admit on run plays, when Etienne carries, the run game is more productive, and he is the best-receiving tailback. Other Gator fans had a theory that Napier was resting Etienne for the road game against Kentucky next Saturday, and I do understand. Still, at the same time, the Gators needed to put Charlotte away while the game shouldn't be that close in the second half.

On Saturday, we saw a highly recruited freshman make his first completion. Andy Jean caught a pass from Graham Mertz. The Miami native had 32 yards receiving but no touchdown, and Caleb Douglas had 37 yards receiving for one reception but was responsible for a fumble. Ricky Pearsall led the Gators in receiving for 104 yards and six receptions and, of course, was responsible for the one-handed circus catch.

Next week, the Gators will return to SEC play against Kentucky. The Wildcats have won two straight over the Gators, and it will be a noon kickoff at Kroger Field in Lexington. Kentucky comes in at 4-0(1-0) in the SEC and is coming off a road win at Vanderbilt. The last time the Gators played in Lexington was a 16-13 loss to the Wildcats, and Kentucky knocked off Florida in The Swamp last season 26-16. I expect the Gators to still be ranked going into Lexington, but I have doubts after Saturday Night's performance. There are pros and cons about Saturday's noon kickoff. It is obviously not a night game because Kroger Field is hostile at night, and the con is that the Gators struggle in noon games. Hopefully, Florida starts fast, and the Gators end Kentucky's two-game winning streak. Because having a losing streak to Kentucky, period, is not Gator football at all.

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