After dropping its marquee season opener against Michigan, the Florida Gators’ ranking in the Associated Press’ top-25 poll take a major hit.
The Gators dropped six spots to No. 23 in the latest edition of the poll, which was released Tuesday afternoon. Florida (0-1) is the fifth-highest ranked SEC team behind No. 1 Alabama, No. 12 LSU, No. 13 Auburn and No. 15 Georgia. The Gators also dropped to No. 24 in the Amway Coaches Poll, which was also released on Tuesday.
Florida is coming off a 33-17 loss to the Michigan Wolverines — which rose three spots to No. 8 in the latest poll. The loss snapped Florida’s nation-leading streak of 27-straight wins in season openers and left the Gators with more questions than answers .
For starters, the quarterback competition seems to still be active. Redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks earned his first career start and struggled outside of the opening drive. Franks completed 5 of his 9 passes for 75 yards — with 34 yards coming on a sideline pass to sophomore Josh Hammond on the opening drive.
Notre Dame graduate transfer Malik Zaire entered the game with less than nine minutes left in the third quarter and went 9 for 11 with 106 yards over the final six drives, which ended in three punts, a turnover on downs, a fumble lost in the end zone for a Michigan touchdown and the end of the game. Zaire was sacked five times.
As a whole, Florida’s offense — which was without suspended playmakers Antonio Callaway and running back Jordan Scarlett — mustered just 192 yards of offense and converted 2 of 13 third-down attempts. The only points generated by the Gators offense came on the opening drive when Eddy Pineiro booted a 46-yard field goal to open scoring.
The defense carried the team with a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first half but ultimately gave up 433 yards in the loss.
Florida plays its home opener Saturday against Northern Colorado. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.
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