Florida-Texas A&M football: Recap, stats (October 14, 2017)

Daniel LaCamera hit three fourth quarter field goals and Texas A&M rallied past Florida, 19-17, on Saturday night in Gainesville, Fla.

The go-ahead field goal came with 1:02 remaining in the game.

The Gators were coming off a 17-16 home loss to LSU last week, while Texas A&M lost 27-19 at home to Alabama. Florida falls to 3-3, while Texas A&M is 5-2.

Florida-Texas A&M: Recap for Week 7 game

Texas A&M 19, Florida 17: The Aggies went ahead on three fourth quarter field goals and iced the game with an interception with less than 1 minute to play.

Florida 17, Texas A&M 13 (Q4, 12:35): Texas A&M answered right back, but it wasn’t the answer the Aggies thought they had. After opening the drive with a 40-yard completion to Christian Kirk, the Aggies moved to the Florida 10 a couple plays later and thought they had a touchdown pass to Tanner Schorp. But they were flagged for having an ineligible receiver downfield.

After two incompletions, including good coverage by C.J. Henderson on second down, QB Kellen Mond was sacked by Taven Bryan and Jordan Sherit on third down to force the Aggies to settle for a 43-yard field goal.

The Florida lead stands for now.

Florida 17, Texas A&M 10 (Q4, 14:54): As fans were calling for Feleipe Franks to get replaced by Malik Zaire, the chatter the loudest it’s been all season, Franks contributes one of the best moments of his young career with a 79-yard run as he weaved his way all the way down the Texas A&M 13-yard line.

Just like that, Franks provided the spark the Gators needed, the spark that many including this reporter thought he wasn’t going to be able to deliver.

It was the longest run by a Florida quarterback since at least 1996 (as far back as that record is available in the media guide), and a sideline interference penalty on Texas A&M moved the ball to the 6. On the next play Dre Massey took the handoff and rushed in for a 6-yard touchdown.

It was the first touchdown for Massey as a Gator and a huge breakthrough for a player whom fans have been clamoring to see more involved. With Tyrie Cleveland nothing more than a decoy tonight and Kadarius Toney injured, Massey has gotten a larger opportunity and cashed in big there.

Suddenly The Swamp is loud, Florida is back in control and all is right (for the moment) with the Gators.

What a stunning change of narrative with that Franks run.

Florida 10, Texas A&M 10 (Q3, 6:53): Fans groaning as Feleipe Franks doesn’t see Brandon Powell running free downfield on third-and-14 and instead tosses check-down pass to tight end DeAndre Goolsby that goes nowhere.

That’s part of the package with Franks. He hasn’t shown progress with his field vision week-to-week. That’s why we keep bringing up that the Gators might want to at least see what they have with backup QB Malik Zaire.

McElwain has shown no indication he’s considering that, though.

Florida 10, Texas A&M 10 (Q3, 11:12): Coming into the game, one of the major matchup concerns for Florida figured to be Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond’s rushing ability. It wasn’t a factor in the first half, but it sure was on that first drive of the third quarter.

Mond took off up the middle on second-and-15 to get the ball down to the Florida 9, and on third-and-goal he dropped back, paused a couple seconds and took over into the end zone for a game-tying touchdown.

After being stifled the entire first half, the Aggies needed just 1:39 to go 55 yards for a touchdown there. There’s still plenty of game left and this Texas A&M offense is still plenty of capable of changing the tenor of this evening.

The onus is even more on the Florida offense now to find a rhythm and contribute.

Florida 10, Texas A&M 3 (Halftime): Seems like the Gators could have done something different on that final play to give kicker Eddy Pineiro a chance at a long field goal try. The pass down the sideline erased all the remaining time and wasn’t close to the end zone, so not sure what the Gators were hoping for there.

As it is, they take a lead into halftime. That lead seems only as good as the defense’s ability to keep stifling Texas A&M, but a lead is a lead.

We made the point earlier in the week that this Florida team is constructed just as those before it, needing the defense to be the tone-setter and momentum-changer.

That hasn’t always been the case this fall, but tonight is most definitely is. This is why we’ve continued to rebuke the criticisms some fans keep lobbing at defensive coordinator Randy Shannon. He has a young defense that was always going to need time to grow, and maybe just maybe tonight is the start of something on that side of the ball.

This Aggies team came in averaging 34.33 points per game, had scored at least 44 points in half of its first six games and was averaging 224.8 yards on the ground per contest. Tonight against Florida, Texas A&M has 80 total yards, just 19 rushing yards and only 2 first downs.

Alabama held Texas A&M to 71 rushing yards last week, but the Aggies have otherwise had at least 179 yards on the ground in every other game. They ran for 382 against UCLA and 285 against Arkansas.

It’s been a sublime performance from the Gators’ defense with the pressure up front disrupting the Aggies and the secondary, led by cornerback/nickel Duke Dawson, playing stout in the back as well.

That said, this has been the same old Florida offense.

Feleipe Franks is 11-of-17 passing for 88 yards, 0 touchdowns and an interception while the rushing game carries the Gators. Malik Davis has 81 yards on 10 carries, somehow maintaining his lofty yards per carry average while Lamical Perine has 47 yards and a touchdown on 9 touches.

It doesn’t stand to reason that Florida can get by without more from the offense, but the defense has certainly come to play tonight.

That’s a great sign and a reason for optimism if it continues the rest of this game.

Florida 10, Texas A&M 3 (Q2, 1:41): The Gators needed that in the worst way. After QB Feleipe Franks failed to simply dive forward for the first down while scrambling on third-and-1, the Gators do move the chains on a well-designed quick-set pitch to Lamical Perine.

And then Perine breaks three tackles on a physical 15-yard run into the end zone that brought The Swamp to life.

As great as freshman Malik Davis has been — and he really has been awesome — Perine continues to show why he also belongs on the field. He has 47 yards on 9 carries and the first touchdown of the game.

Florida has a chance to head into halftime with the lead if the defense can remain stout here, and the Gators would get the ball to open the second half as well.

Pivotal final couple minutes of the half.

Florida 3, Texas A&M 3 (Q2, 4:39): Like Florida’s teams of old, well at least of recent vintage, the Gators’ defense is carrying all the weight tonight and keeping the home team in this game.

Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond couldn’t corral the snap on first down from the Aggies’ own 9, falling it on at the 1 as the defense kept them pinned from there. The Aggies, the fourth-rated offense in the SEC, has just 69 yards late in the second quarter.

But the Gators haven’t gotten anything going offensively since their first drive. Florida had four first downs on its first possession and has just 3 over its next five series.

Florida 3, Texas A&M 3 (Q2, 11:56): Feleipe Franks tried to force a deep pass into the corner of the end zone and it was intercepted. Didn’t look like a smart throw, but hopefully that doesn’t deter the coaching staff from giving him more opportunities downfield.

And ultimately, it didn’t matter as Florida safety Jeawon Taylor intercepted Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond on the very next play. It’s the first career pick for Taylor, who got the start in place of injured senior Nick Washington.

It was also Florida’s first forced turnover since the second game.

As for Franks’ pick …

Florida 3, Texas A&M 3 (Q2, 15:00): It would have been nice to see the Florida offense build on a solid first possession, but the Gators went three-and-out on the next two drives while attempting only 1 pass.

Overall, Florida has 83 yards to Texas A&M’s 61. The Gators’ defense is doing its part, stuffing the Aggies’ three-headed rushing attack and getting consistent pressure on QB Kellen Mond.

Mond is just 2-of-7 passing for 46 yards with 30 of those coming on a broken play as he was flushed out of the pocket and found an open receiver.

Impressive start by the Gators’ D. Beyond the strong defensive line play, cornerback Marco Wilson had great coverage on a deep pass down the sideline and Duke Dawson had the aforementioned clutch pass break-up on third down to force the Aggies to settle for that game-tying field goal.

Offense needs a strong second quarter to build some momentum.

Florida 3, Texas A&M 3 (Q1, 2:08): I wrote earlier this week that the Florida defense had to have a statement game today. So far, the Gators are delivering.

After Texas A&M’s first two series stalled shy of midfield, the Aggies broke into Florida territory when QB Kellen Mond was flushed out of the pocket to his right and found Damion Ratley open for a 30-yard gain. But the Gators tightened up from there.

On a third-and-4 play from the Florida 29, Duke Dawson made a clutch pass break-up on a slant intended for Christian Kirk. The Aggies had to settle for a 46-yard Daniel LaCamera field goal to tie the game.

Texas A&M has just 58 yards through three possessions and its touted rushing attack has only 12 yards. The Florida defense is doing what it needs to do so far.

Florida 3, Texas A&M 0 (Q1, 7:47): All in all, a really encouraging start for Florida.

The defense was terrific in forcing the Aggies into a quick three-and-out on the opening possession with defensive end CeCe Jefferson making a tackle for loss and fellow end Jordan Sherit charging at QB Kellen Mond to force an incompletion on third down.

Then, the offense took over and showed some tempo. The Gators even threw deep early, to little-used Dre Massey no less. It was incomplete, but heck, it was good to see something aggressive from the passing game.

For the most part, the Gators stuck to their screen game and crossing routes, but it worked. And the key pick-up was a heady poise play from QB Feleipe Franks, who was flushed out of the pocket on third-and-10 from the Aggies’ 28 and before he was brought down from behind managed to flip the ball forward to Malik Davis for a 20-yard gain.

Ultimately, Florida settled for a 29-yard Eddy Pineiro field goal, but there were some really good signs throughout that first drive. Let’s see how the Gators build on it.

Florida-Texas A&M football TV channel, time, live stream

TV Channel: The Florida-Texas A&M game will air on ESPN2. It will follow the Maryland-Northwestern game.

Time: The Florida-Texas A&M football game is scheduled for a 7 pm kickoff.

Live stream: The Florida-Texas A&M football game can be live streamed on Watch ESPN 

Channel finder: To find ESPN2 in your area for the Florida-Texas A&M football game, click here.

Florida-Texas A&M football picks, odds

Odds: Florida is a -3 point favorite. The over/under for the Florida-Texas A&M game is 52.5.

Via SEC Country‘s Jordan McPherson, Ryan Young and Zach Abolverdi

Florida beat writers Zach Abolverdi, Jordan McPherson and Ryan Young make their predictions for how the game will unfold.

Abolverdi: Quarterback play will decide the game

As the heat turns up on Florida coaches and players this week, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has a chance to cool off his seat even more. Sumlin was under fire heading into this season and fanned those flames in the opener. But after a crushing 45-44 loss at UCLA, the Aggies bounced back with four straight wins and defeated Arkansas in overtime, 50-43. These guys can score.

And if there’s ever a time to look on the bright side of losing, it’s when Alabama only beats you by one score. Nick Saban’s rat-poison phobia aside, I just think the Aggies have a solid squad and their start to the season has been impressive. The Gators, meanwhile, are not so hot and their youth is starting to show with injuries piling up on top of the suspensions.

Florida and Texas A&M both lost their season openers and fell again last week. Each team starts a freshman quarterback. The difference? Dual-threat QB Kellen Mond is averaging 284 total yards per game as a starter and has a 3-1 record. Florida’s Feleipe Franks averaged 114.5 total yards in his four starts and has been benched twice. Those two will decide the game  Saturday , and I’m giving the edge to Mond.

Texas A&M, 30-24.

McPherson: ‘Texas A&M is just the better team’

I don’t see Florida winning this game. Simple as that.

The Gators could easily be a one-win team at this point if not for a last-second heave against Tennessee and a Kentucky field goal landing short as time expired.

And now the defense is facing its biggest challenge of the season in a Texas A&M offense led by dual-threat quarterback Kellen Mond, wide receiver/all-around threat Christian Kirk, and running backs Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford.

While I don’t expect the Aggies to hit their season average in points — 34.3 — I do think Texas A&M will take advantage of Florida’s young defense early, much like Vanderbilt and LSU did the last two weeks.

And with that, I don’t think Florida’s offense will have enough firepower to bounce back after falling into yet another hole, especially if both Tyrie Cleveland and Kadarius Toney are out. Quarterback Feleipe Franks will be on a tight leash and the one-two punch of Malik Davis and Lamical Perine in the run game can only carry the Gators so far.

Texas A&M is just the better team. It’ll be evident on Saturday.

Aggies, 24-13.

Young: ‘I’m simply not sure the Gators can keep pace’

I just don’t like this matchup for the Gators. Not at all.

Texas A&M managed 19 points against Alabama’s vaunted defense last week. The Aggies average 34.33 points per game. They’ve scored at least 44 in three of their six games. The bottom line is they are going to move the ball and find the end zone Saturda y , and I’m not sure the Gators can keep pace.

Feleipe Franks hasn’t shown the game-to-game progress you want to see from a young quarterback, and the offensive play calling has reflected the coaches’ lack of trust in him. I fully expect running backs Malik Davis and Lamical Perine to be effective and give the offense some life, and maybe Franks delivers with his best game yet.

But A&M’s combination of two very effective ball carriers in Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford, a successful dual-threat quarterback in Kellen Mond, and one of the best receivers in the SEC in Christian Kirk is going to be hard to slow down.

I think this one goes to  Texas A&M, 28-20.

The post Florida-Texas A&M football: Recap, stats (October 14, 2017) appeared first on SEC Country.

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