GAINESVILLE, Fla. — – Bryce Younger’s first collegiate highway begin was a rousing success, a three-touchdown efficiency that helped top-ranked Alabama beat No. 11 Florida 31-29 within the Southeastern Convention opener for each groups Saturday.
The defending nationwide champion Crimson Tide stopped a 2-point conversion with 3:10 left and prolonged its successful streak to 17, making it 32 in a row towards groups from the SEC’s Japanese Division.
“I believe the offense did an awesome job of answering the bell within the recreation,” Alabama coach Nick Saban mentioned. “We did not cease them on protection. We had some long-yardage conditions we did not execute very properly, however the offense all the time answered the bell. I believe that was the important thing to the sport.”
“However our crew must be taught to take care of depth all through the sport. I believed we bought drained on protection. They appeared somewhat faster than us. We have lots of good gamers. We have simply bought to get them to play somewhat higher.”
Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC) has gained eight straight within the sequence, together with a wild 52-46 victory in final yr’s convention title recreation. The Gators (2-1, 0-1) fell to 0-5 towards No. 1-ranked groups at Florida Area.
This one was nearer than oddsmakers and nearly everybody outdoors of Gainesville anticipated, with 14 ½-point underdog Florida having an opportunity to tie the sport within the closing minutes regardless of enjoying with out dynamic backup quarterback Anthony Richardson.
Coach Dan Mullen held Richardson out as a precaution due to a strained proper hamstring and mentioned he would solely be obtainable in case of an emergency.
That by no means turned the case though the Gators trailed 21-3 on the finish of the primary quarter. Younger constructed the early benefit with TD passes to Jase McClellan, Jahleel Billingsley and Brian Robinson.
The Gators rallied, although, and have been in place to tug off a shocker when Dameon Pierce went across the left finish from 17 yards out, making it 31-29 within the waning minutes. However fellow operating again Malik Davis was stopped quick on the conversion.
Florida could have gotten a break a couple of minutes earlier when Alabama was flagged for a false begin on fourth-and-goal on the 1. The Tide settled for a area objective and an eight-point lead. That gave the Gators an opportunity, and play-caller Mullen and beginning quarterback Emory Jones directed a masterful drive.
It ended up not being sufficient, and a few certainly will level to a missed further level early within the third quarter as an enormous distinction. Had Chris Howard made that one, the Gators seemingly would have wanted one other to knot the sport down the stretch.
The Gators had one ultimate probability to drive a punt and get the ball again, however Alabama did sufficient to take advantage of the clock and depart Florida with little, if any, probability at a comeback. The Gators had one play from deep of their territory and have been sacked.
Younger accomplished 22 of 35 passes for 233 yards, exhibiting little points in a hostile surroundings. The Swamp packed in 90,887 followers, the fifth most in program historical past and probably the most since 2015. The Gators hoped it might have an effect on Younger, a redshirt freshman who had by no means performed in that form of environment.
However he dealt with it properly, particularly within the first quarter. Robinson carried 14 occasions for 75 yards and a rating along with his receiving TD.
Jones was 17-of-27 passing for 181 yards, with an interception. He was booed at occasions, partly due to the sluggish begin and certainly due to the house crowd’s disappointment in not seeing Richardson.
Alabama: Saban’s crew appeared vulnerable after the primary quarter, particularly on protection. The Tide was gashed between the tackles and picked aside over the center. There was no constant move rush, which has to offer everybody within the SEC no less than somewhat hope the remainder of the way in which.
Florida: Mullen has fully modified his crew offensively, switching from a passing assault that featured Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts to a floor recreation that rotates three operating backs and two cellular quarterbacks. The Gators entered the sport main the nation in speeding and completed with 258 yards on the bottom.
Alabama hosts Southern Miss subsequent Saturday. The Tide have gained 15 of the final 16 within the sequence.
Florida hosts Tennessee subsequent Saturday night time. The Gators have gained 15 of the final 16 within the sequence, which was once extra significant within the East.