Florida Football 2015 Bowl Capsule

Florida Gators


The Florida Gators put together quite a season in Jim McElwain’s first year as head coach. It helped that no other team in the SEC East division put up much of a fight in Florida’s journey to the conference championship. Missouri and South Carolina completely fell off the map of relevance, and while Georgia and Tennessee finished with a good amount of wins, neither team lived up to its own preseason expectations. Florida was in the driver’s seat and controlled its own path pretty early on. It was surely a welcome return for Gator fans after plodding through the last two very disappointing seasons with Will Muschamp in charge.

2015 Record: 10-3, 7-1
Coach: Jim McElwain
Coach Bowl Record: 1-0

Big Wins: 9/26 Tennessee (28-27), 10/3 Mississippi (38-10)
Bad Losses: 10/17 at LSU (28-35), 11/28 Florida State (2-27)

It will be hard to find a defense anywhere in the country better than that of the Florida Gators this season. Even when the offense didn’t show up, the UF defense won ballgames. It finished as a top unit nearly across the board, ranking highly against the run and the pass. It was a premiere scoring defense, great on first- and third-downs and in forcing turnovers. Opposing fans would be hard-pressed to find a shortcoming on this Florida defense. The group was led by junior defensive back Vernon Hargreaves, arguably the very best DB in the nation. Upperclassmen linebackers Jarrad Davis and Antonio Morrison anchored the middle of Coach McElwain’s defense. Kelvin Taylor, a 1,000 yard rusher, helped carry the load on the other side of the ball where freshman quarterback Will Grier had been having a tremendous rookie year before being suspended after his sixth game. Grier completed over 65 percent of his passes, throwing 10 touchdowns to just three interceptions as a freshman. Once he was forced to the sideline, the Gators leaned heavily on that defense and a good punting game to grab field position and wins.

Will Grier’s final game came against Missouri. After that contest, Florida was 6-0. It promptly lost its next game with Treon Harris at quarterback. The offense was anemic without Grier in there despite Harris’ experience from a year ago. He was nowhere close to as accurate or as careful with the football. The deterioration can’t all be thrown on his shoulders, but the team simply did not perform with Harris in. Very low points came in wins over Vanderbilt and Florida Atlantic, the latter in overtime, where UF managed nine and 20 points respectively. The FAU game was then followed by a demoralizing 27-2 loss to Florida State. The offense has been poor in all important situations, in the red zone and on first down especially. The defense had to be too perfect too often to overcome the hole it was routinely put in. The Gators did pretty well overall this year despite the struggles to score, but who knows how highly they could have finished if the quarterback situation had played out differently.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Kelvin Taylor, RB, 985 yards
Passing: Treon Harris, QB, 1,530 yards
Receiving: Antonio Callaway, WR, 603 yards
Tackles: Antonio Morrison, LB, 97
Sacks: Jonathan Bullard, DL, 6.5; Alex McCalister, LB, 6.5
Interceptions: Vernon Hargreaves, DB, 4; Jalen Tabor, DB, 4

2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 137.0 (103, 13)
Passing Offense: 214.9 (74, 6)
Total Offense: 351.9 (104, 12)
Scoring Offense: 25.3 (92, 10)
Rushing Defense: 111.3 (7, 2)
Pass Defense: 172.3 (9, 4)
Total Defense: 283.6 (5, 2)
Scoring Defense: 15.5 (5, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.83 (12, 1)
Sacks: 3.17 (5, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 3.08 (116, 14)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2014    Birmingham Bowl    East Carolina (28-20)
2012    Sugar Bowl    Louisville (23-33)
2011    Gator Bowl    Ohio State (24-17)
2010    Outback Bowl    Penn State (37-24)
2009    Sugar Bowl    Cincinnati (51-24)
2008    BCS Championship    Oklahoma (24-14)
2007    Capital One Bowl    Michigan (35-41)

*all team stats through 11/30


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