11/10/2020

A common thread throughout Week 6 of the college football season has been the number four. AP No. 4 Florida suffered its first loss of the season against Texas A&M…

Florida QB Kyle TraskSam Craft/Associated Press
When the SEC made the decision to play a 10-game scheduleadding two more cross-divisional games to the usual eight-game slatethere was no question that Florida was the contender that drew the short end of the stick.
Alabama added games against Missouri and Kentucky. LSU picked up Vanderbilt and Missouri. (That Missouri game ended up being way more of a problem than anyone expected.) Georgia added Arkansas and Mississippi State. Auburn acquired a home game against Tennessee and a road game against South Carolina. For all four, that sounded like two more wins.
But one of Florida’s two “bonus” games was this week’s road game against Texas A&M.
The Aggies got out to a rough start, barely beating Vanderbilt before getting smoked by Alabama. Before the season began, though, it was a projected loss for Florida. And on an afternoon when defense was mutually optional, Texas A&M was able to protect home field.
Gators Heisman candidate quarterback Kyle Trask had another fine day, throwing for 312 yards and four touchdowns. On each of Florida’s first four possessions, he led the offense on a touchdown drive of at least 75 yards.
Terrible defense was an ominous cloud hanging over Florida’s impressive start to the season, though, and it was more than the offense could overcome this week. A&M’s Isaiah Spiller rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns, but it was Kellen Mond’s third-down conversions that broke Florida’s back over and over again.
The Aggies were 12-of-15 on third down (and converted their only fourth-down attempt), and the dagger was Mond finding Chase Lane for a 16-yard gain on 3rd-and-8 with less than a minute remaining in a tied game. The Aggies were at the Florida 35, so an incomplete pass would have meant a 53-yard field-goal attempt for Seth Small, whose career long is 52 yards. Instead, they converted and were able to win 41-38 on a chip shot a few plays later.
Florida could still absolutely make the College Football Playoff if it wins out, but with this defense, that seems unlikely.
And on that subject, maybe the Aggies have a playoff pulse again? Road games against Tennessee (Nov. 14) and Auburn (Dec. 5) will be significant challenges, but it would be hard to argue with a team that goes 9-1 with a road loss to Alabama. Stay tuned on that front, but at least Texas A&M’s offense finally showed up this week.