The start of the John Brantley era wasn't what Gator fans had hoped for Saturday, as the Gators struggled to find success offensively, and looked like a team that was unprepared for live action during their underwhelming 34-12 victory over heavy underdog Miami University of Ohio.
The RedHawks controlled the ball for almost 35 minutes, but were unable to muster many scoring opportunities due to a lack of running game and four interceptions from the Gator defense, including a 67 yard interception return for a TD by CB Janoris Jenkins.
The offense failed to find any kind of rhythm, fumbling eight times and turning the ball over on three of those fumbles. Mike Pouncey, starting at center for the first time of in his career, had serious issues getting the ball to Brantley out of the shotgun formation. The Gators cannot afford a similar performance from Pouncey against a more dangerous opponent. The Gator RBs had issues of their own, with Emmanuel Moody, Chris Rainey, and Mike Gillislee all fumbling the ball. The rushing attack generated only 99 yards on 31 carries behind a piecework offensive line missing several key players which had difficulty opening holes for the RBs.
Special teams, which should be a strength for this team, struggled as well. Kicker Caleb Sturgis missed a 44 yard FG and a point after attempt. Punter Chas Henry punted only once for 27 yards. The Gators managed only 3 of 12 on third down conversion attempts. Receivers failed to separate, and picking up where they left off last season, struggled holding onto catches. Deonte Thompson dropped a pass in the endzone early in the game and finished with only three catches.
The Gators have a week to resolve their issues before hosting the University of South Florida next Saturday.