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Florida vs. Toledo, Theater of Operations: Gators' defense looks sharp in opener

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In our final video review of the Florida Gators' victory over the Toledo Rockets, we look at the defense and how it fared.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

So that's what it looks like when you don't skip a beat.

Despite missing a few starters for various reasons, the Gators defense looked as good as ever in the Gators' 24-6 win over the Toledo Rockets. The Gators gave up a total of 205 yards, forced a turnover, had two sacks and recorded a combined five tackles for loss. They also held the Rockets to one conversion of 13 third down conversion attempts and six points total in a game in which some thought the Gators defense would struggle against an experienced Rockets offense.

Quarterback Terrance Owens was held in check by a swarming defense that looks like it's almost ready for the SEC slate and shouldn't be given too many problems this Saturday against the Miami Hurricanes.

Play No. 1: Ronald Powell gets a sack


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

While Ronald Powell (yellow circle) comes on a blitz and will end up getting credit for the sack, it's Dominique Easley who makes this play happen.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As Powell is shedding his block (yellow circle), Easley is about to put some serious pressure on Terrance Owens. Owens will have to step up in the pocket, and will find himself face-to-face with Powell and a couple other Gators.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

And the swarm begins. Once Easley's rush forces Owens to step up, Powell, Dante Fowler Jr. and Cody Riggs all come in and make sure he doesn't scramble for the first down.

Play No. 2: Leon Orr gets a sack


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

This play occurs in the same fashion as the play above. The only difference is that the pressure comes from the outside instead of from the middle.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Fowler Jr. was playing one of his best ever games and it showed again here. He breaks off his block and is the primary reason why Owens has to attempt to scramble for yards instead of passing.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As soon as Owens gets beyond the line of scrimmage, Orr is there to make sure he can't pick up any extra yardage. Easley is contributing to the play as well. The defensive line dominated this game, and especially the first half, but it remains to be seen if they can continue to do so against top-level FBS competition.

Play No. 3: Vernon Hargreaves III gets an interception


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Man coverage at its best. Hargreaves III will stay with his receiver the entire way and then make a great move at the end to come up with the interception. The best thing about this play is that every single person played their assignment perfectly. There wasn't a man open and some of them were in double coverage.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

This is the worst coverage that Hargreaves III has on the entire route. But it comes as a blessing in disguise as this gap allows him to undercut the route. Marcus Maye (yellow circle) is perfect position and him sitting there causes Owens to loft his throw instead of driving it.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Hargreaves does a great job of undercutting the route to record his first career interception.

This looks like another top-10 Gators defense, folks. This is going to be fun.