Florida Gators football (5-0, 4-0 SEC) came away with a signature win on Saturday afternoon at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL as they upended the LSU Tigers (5-1, 1-1 SEC) in a match-up of top-10 teams. It was the Gators’ first victory over the Tigers since 2009 and marked an important win in the young career of head coach Will Muschamp, who spoke with the media following the contest.
HISTORY / STREAKS / NOTES
» Florida is 2-0 against ranked opponents in 2012 after going 0-5 against such foes in 2011. UF has also improved 3-0 when trailing at the half in 2012 after going 0-5 in similar situations just one year ago.
» The Gators are 8-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 9-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points.
» Florida is outscoring opponents 78-13 in the second half and 41-0 in the fourth quarter through five games in 2012.
» The Gators have not allowed a touchdown in nine-straight quarters.
» Florida has started a season 5-0 for the first time since 2009.
» The Gators defeated a ranked opponent at home for the first time since Nov. 15, 2008.
» Florida defeated an SEC West team in Gainesville for the first time since Oct. 17, 2009.
» The Gators have held opponents to just 19-of-75 (25.3 percent) on third down conversion attempts.
» Florida won the time of possession battle by 14:52, nearly a full quarter. It is the second-straight week in which UF held a similar margin (15:22 vs. Kentucky).
» The Gators ran the ball on 25 consecutive plays to end the game.
» Florida has registered at least one interception per game this season.
Redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who returned to action Saturday with a cast on his hand after missing two full games with a broken thumb, barely got a chance to make an impact as he went down with a hamstring injury in the second quarter and did not return to the field. Muschamp said after the game that Jenkins likely just tweaked his hamstring and team doctors expect him to be able to return to practice in a few days.
Read the rest of what Muschamp and the players had to say…after the break!
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Muschamp on the hard-fought game: “We tackled well, we executed well. We certainly have come leaps and bounds in playing the run in a year against a very talented running football team. That was typical 1980 SEC right there today. It was a physical, physical match because both lines of scrimmage are going to put pressure on the quarterback. That’s the difference in playing in this league [as opposed to] these other leagues you watch on TV. I know y’all like all these points being scored, but a quarterback [like that] won’t make it through the game or the season in our league.”
» Muschamp on the significance of the victory: “This is one win. It doesn’t count for one-and-a-half, and it doesn’t count for two.”
» Muschamp on not hyping up the game too much beforehand: “You don’t want to put too much emphasis on one game, in my opinion, because then you start to have a lot of peaks and valleys with your football team. Your emphasis means, ‘This must be an important game because Coach Muschamp is really revved up this week.’ Well, I try to be revved up all the time so they understand they’re all important. The consistently in your play as a player is what makes you a good player.”
» Muschamp on if the second half success was just to adjustments or toughness and mental focus: “I would say both. I think that we have an outstanding staff. I think we have a staff that we get good information from the press box about what’s happening [in the game] and we’re continually coaching our players on the bench. When our offense is on the field, our defense is on the bench. We coach through every series. We coach for the next series. We’re making adjustments. We don’t wait until halftime. But, you know, I think we are a stronger team. I think we have a strong belief and are a more endurance team. I think we’re going to withstand in the second half. We’ve beat it in their heads in the offseason that last year in SEC games in the fourth quarter we were outscored 72-22. That’s something they know, and it’s been pounded into their head. As a competitor, you respond to those things. And we have a competitive bunch. And we have some guys that don’t like to hear that, and they’ve taken it personal. When you take something personal, sometimes you get pretty good results, and so far we have. We still got a long way to go.”
» Muschamp on winning a tough, low-scoring game: “I like winning. If we win 41-40, I’m going to be really, really happy because I like winning. When I was a coordinator, I would grab the stat sheet the first thing, look at it and say, ‘Man, we gave up this many yards rushing…’ I really care about winning. It’s really how we win. It’s gratifying to me because of the way we lost games last year, quite frankly. I know we’ve made improvements in the organization, and from my role where I sit, I got to see improvement. You’re either getting better or worse.”
» Muschamp on the talent of senior running back Mike Gillislee: “Mike Gillislee did a great job running the football, finding the holes, putting his pads down, gaining four yards. […] That’s what Gilly does – he just moves the chains. And then over and over again; you get kind of tired of tackling him. And then the fourth quarter, that’s when he starts wearing on people. I kept telling Brent, ‘Just stick with the run. We’re going to be fine.’”
» Gillislee on being doubted by outsiders: “We never lost ours. We had a lot of people keep on doubting us. I think the swag never left.”
» Junior safety Matt Elam on the defense stepping up: “We played great on D. We kept the offense in the game. We kept getting three-and-outs. And that’s what it is. Defense wins championships. Offense win games.”
» Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel on Florida coming together to win: “We had a couple turnovers in the first half but we never panicked. We know that we’ll be able to make plays in the second half and be able to make adjustments and pull it out.”
» Driskel on Gillislee’s ability: “Every play. Every play he can hit one for five or hit a home run. You just got to watch him go and hope for the best.”
» Driskel on the Gators being called “soft” last season*: “We’re not soft. No one can call us soft now. If we didn’t have people’s respect, we gained it today.”
» Senior safety Josh Evans on Elam’s strip: “That was probably the play of the game in my eyes. That was a big turnaround right there. They made a big play, and we made a big play right back. That was probably when the tempo of the game was switched.”
» Evans on how Elam played: “That guy even motivated me on certain plays. He was just relentless out there today, coming down not stopping his feet, running through guys. He was pretty much laying the wood on a lot of people.”
» Junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd on the team eyeing a trip to Atlanta*: “We all think about it. We all got that in the back of our head, but at the end of the day, it’s no Atlanta if we don’t play each week the way we know we can. In the back of my head, I’m thinking a little bit bigger but I’m not talking about that. We’re going to keep doing what we’ve got to do. All the offense needs to do is score and the defense is going to keep doing what we need to do. It’s just going to be a fight each week.”
* Marked quote courtesy of InsideTheGators.com‘s Bryan Holt.