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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Welcome to the latest installment of Inside the Numbers, a weekly column that breaks down the stats you need to know about Florida Gators football heading into game day.
This week, as the Gators (3-2, 3-1 SEC) prepare to host Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1 SEC) at 7 p.m. ET Saturday for the final game of a three-game homestand, we take a closer look at where Florida stands five games into the season.
After mustering just 11 yards on the ground in the season-opening loss against Michigan, Florida has averaged 191.5 rushing yards per game in four SEC games.
That is largely in part because of the production of freshman Malik Davis and sophomore Lamical Perine.
Davis is averaging 7.2 yards per rush and 81.8 yards per game, which rank fifth and eighth respectively among SEC players. He is the first Florida player since Percy Harvin to record at least 90 rushing yards in four consecutive games.
Perine is tied for seventh in the conference with 5 rushing touchdowns and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry in conference play.
The Gators threw for just 108 yards against LSU on Saturday, which was the lowest single-game mark under McElwain. To dive a little deeper into Florida’s passing game in the loss:
- The 16 pass attempts were also the fewest in the McElwain Era. Prior to Saturday, Florida had attempted at least 20 passes in all but three games since McElwain took over before the 2015 season.
- The 6.8 yards per pass attempt were also a season low.
- With Feleipe Franks’s longest completion being just 18 yards, Saturday was the third time under McElwain that the Gators did not have at least 1 completion of at least 25 yards in a game. The other two were Florida’s 24-10 win over Georgia last season (longest pass was 21 yards from Luke Del Rio to Antonio Callaway) and the Gators’ 27-2 loss to Florida State in 2015 (longest pass was 15 yards from Treon Harris to Valdez Showers).
Florida now ranks 95th in the country and 11th in the SEC in passing offense, averaging just 191.8 yards through the air per game.
The Florida defense is ranked 53rd in the country in scoring defense, giving up an average of 24.2 points per game. Should that mark remain throughout the season, it will be just the fourth time since 1946 that a Florida defense gave up more than 24 points per game. The other three times were in 2007 (25.5), 1971 (27.1) and 1946 (29.3).
On that note, with the Gators’ loss on Saturday, McElwain is now 5-10 in his tenure at Florida when the opponent scores more than 14 points in a game. Of those 10 losses, eight have come against Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Michigan. The other two losses were to Arkansas and Tennessee in 2016.
The five wins: East Carolina, Tennessee and Florida Atlantic in 2015, and Tennessee and Kentucky this season.
In both of Florida’s losses this season — the season-opening defeat to Michigan and the 17-16 loss to LSU on Saturday — the Gators have struggled to move the chains on third down. Florida converted just 18.2 percent of its third-down attempts in losses (4 for 22) compared to a 43.2-percent conversion rate in wins (19 for 44).
The Gators are tied for 10th in the SEC and tied for 86th nationally with a -2 turnover margin. Florida has not forced a turnover in three straight games after opening the season with 5 interceptions in two games.
Florida is 1-1 this season when losing the turnover battle.