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Advanced stats preview: Can Florida score on Florida State?

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Florida’s offense has failed to score against the best, and worst defenses it has faced.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State’s final regular season opponent is Florida.

Let’s take a look at the state of the SEC East champion Gators, most recently from its 16-10 win at LSU. Here is the www.footballstudyhall.com advanced box score from Florida’s win.

LSU held the advantage in plays (16 more), yards (138 more), yards/play, and success rate.

Florida held the advantage in points per opportunity (3.2 to 2.0), and turnovers (2 to 0). LSU scored 10 points on five red zone possessions.

Record-setting fluke?

Florida had 36 percent of its yards in the win over LSU on one play, a 98-yard catch. That is remarkable, especially when compared to the other teams who have won with one play making up a good chunk of total yardage.

Akron had 23 percent against Miami Ohio, Miami Ohio had 21 percent against Kent State, Hawaii had 19 percent against Fresno State, and UCF had 17 percent against Tulane.

Observations

  • Chunk plays (passes of 15+, runs of 10+): Florida had six, LSU had 15.
  • The Gators had a passing success rate of just 21 percent, and just 13 percent on obvious passing downs.
  • Florida did run the football very well against LSU once LB Kendall Beckwith left the game.
  • LSU was poor throwing the ball on early downs, which encouraged UF to load up against the run even more.

There is not much mystery in this one. Florida is going to want to make this an ugly, low point game.

Florida has one of the worst offenses FSU will play all year. It rates 88th nationally in S&P+ offense, and that ranking is well earned. The Gators put up 3.2 yards/play against Georgia, 4.73 against Arkansas (the worst defense the SEC has seen in years), 6.41 against South Carolina and 5.2 on LSU.

Surprisingly, with Florida’s newfound run success, it is still very bad at throwing deep.

Appleby has been somewhat better in this area than the former starter Del Rio had, since Del Rio has a very weak arm.

Appleby is actually pretty mobile, and I anticipate that the Gators will try to run him more against FSU.

Florida has not scored 30 points in more than a month, and has not done so against a team with a winning record since September 10 (Kentucky). Florida has failed to score against the best defenses it has faced, and, for the most part, the worst defenses it has faced (like Arkansas).

While much of FSU’s newfound defensive improvement over the last few weeks may be fool’s gold due to the lack of quality offenses faced, Florida does not represent a step up in offense. Of FSU’s FBS opponents, only Boston College and Wake Forest have been less effective on offense (you could argue that perhaps Syracuse’s attack without its starting QB was also worse). And Florida plays a style very similar to FSU’s on offense, meaning the Seminoles’ defense should be prepared for it.

On the flip side, Florida’s defense is really good. It might not be quite as good as it was early in the year due to some injuries, but it is good. Florida’s corners are very good, and the Gators are stout on the interior with Caleb Brantley and Joey Ivey. If the Gators’ defense is able to give the offense short fields via turnovers, UF could score more than expected.


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