Gators run over by Bulldogs, drop third straight

By Adam Silverstein
October 16, 2010

The No. 22/22 Florida Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC) missed a game-tying 42-yard field goal with only seconds remaining to lose their third straight game for the first time since 1999 as the Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-2, 2-2 SEC) defeated them 10-7 Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Florida’s loss was its first to Mississippi State at home since 1965 and its first defeat on homecoming in 22 years. It also marked the first time the Gators lost three regular season games since 1988. UF will be unranked when the new top 25 polls are released on Sunday for the first time under head coach Urban Meyer.

The Bulldogs’ win Saturday was a marquee victory for head coach Dan Mullen; it also gave Mississippi State its first four-game winning streak since 1999 (8-0).

After three consecutive three-and-outs to start the game, MSU took over from their own 32. They brought the ball downfield with a 30-yard pass completion from quarterback Chris Relf to wide receiver Chad Bumphis and a subsequent 16-yard gain up the middle on a keeper by Relf. Four plays later, the Bulldogs put the first points on the board with a 31-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

The Gators responded by moving the ball down the field with a few short passes and a 14-yard run by sophomore running back Mike Gillislee. Faced with 4th and 5 on Mississippi State’s 34, redshirt junior QB John Brantley threw an interception to cornerback Jonathan Banks, turning the ball over in what would have been a punt situation anyway.

It did not take long for the Bulldogs to capitalize as Mullen’s offense put together an 11-play, 64-yard drive that ended in a rushing touchdown for Relf from six yards out to go up 10-0 in the first quarter.

Florida looked anemic starting the second quarter, failing to convert a 4th and 1 from their own 39; freshman WR Robert Clark was dropped behind the line for a two-yard loss. Mississippi State was unable to capitalize, handing UF the ball back with 13:20 left.

That is when the Gators offense showed signs of life as Brantley led them down to MSU’s 20 with a 15-play, 59-yard drive that took 6:20 off the clock. UF was unable to capitalize, however, as senior punter Chas Henry missed a 38-yard field goal.

Going into the half, Florida was without redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose (ankle), redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins (head) and redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard (ankle), all of whom went down with injuries early.

The Gators finally got on the board with their first possession in the third quarter by utilizing freshman QB Trey Burton extensively on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that drew the Bulldogs’ lead closer at 10-7.

Hope was raised momentarily later in the third quarter when it appeared MSU had fumbled on UF’s side of the field. After a review the play was overturned, Mississippi State missed a 40-yard field goal to give the ball back to Florida once again.

Taking over from their own 23, the Gators appeared to move the ball with ease, gaining positive yardage on their first six plays of the series including a 31-yard run by sophomore WR Omarius Hines. On 2nd and 4 from the Bulldogs’ 17, junior RB Jeff Demps coughed the ball up by fumbling while attempting to spin out of a tackle.

MSU succeeded in milking the clock by running the ball nine-straight times on their next possession, getting it to midfield while wasting almost six minutes before punting. As a whole, the Bulldogs ran the ball on 27 of 28 plays in the second half gaining positive yardage all but once.

UF took over with 2:09 remaining from their own four with an opportunity to tie or win.

With time running out, Brantley engineered a 13-play passing drive in which he completed nine passes for 76 yards, getting the ball to Mississippi State’s 25 with nine seconds left. Henry came on to attempt a 42-yard field goal but kicked the ball wide right, crushing the hopes of Florida fans in The Swamp.

Brantley finished the night 24-of-39 for 210 yards and an interception. Hines led the Gators with 58 yards rushing on six carries, though Burton also ran eight times for 43 yards. Redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond led the way with five receptions for 69 yards, and Burton added five catches of his own for 37 yards. Relf and RB Vick Ballard were responsible for nearly all of Mississippi State’s offense, rushing a combined 22 times for 180 yards and a touchdown.

Florida will take a three-game losing streak into their bye before facing Georgia in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, FL, on Oct. 30. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m., and the game will air live on CBS. Even though the Gators have lost three straight, they still control their destiny in the Southeastern Conference as Eastern Division foe No. 10/12 South Carolina also fell Saturday.

Photo Credit: Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun

32 Comments

  1. jason says:

    addazio has got to go. firesteveaddazio.com

  2. vsherrel says:

    No one has brought up the TERRIBLE clock management. With 3 timeouts and 2:35 to go, call a timeout after 3rd down. 2:35 and two timeouts is a way better spot than two minutes with all three.

  3. GatorsFanLA says:

    What the Frak!

  4. John S says:

    Well we’re fundamentally not good. This one isn’t on the defense, the o-line still stinks, and the offense looks like a confused mess. This year will be ugly, prepare yourselves for 7 and 5. We’ll hope for a strong showing in 2011, with a real chance for a a championship in 2012. I feel bad for Chaz, he’s a great punter, we would have lost in OT anyway with no field goal kicker.

  5. zurbo says:

    yup, its a freakin joke. At this point I just want to hear honesty out of Urban. I am sick of the “we need to get better at this and that.” WE NEED TO GET BETTER AT COACHING AND NOT LOSE HOMECOMING!!!!

  6. Carlos says:

    I swear.. Finally good job on benching Moody… Next on the list is Brantley.. Jesus … Put Burton in there now… I saw him take down a safety for extra three yards that gave us a 1st down .. Clapped and gave a fist pump.. Little bit of Tebow on that play..

  7. Wal says:

    Adam,

    Can you please give us your criteria for “bad playcalling”? You keep repeating that the playcalling isn’t bad, so please explain a situation in which an oc can be accused of bad playcalling, or at least the criteria in which you grade playcalling.

    • Wal,

      I do not say the play calling is not bad. I repeatedly say it is not the team’s biggest problem. It is a serious issue, but… Offensive execution and offensive line play are much bigger problems. Also hurts when you fumble at end of long drives and can’t hit a field goal to save your life.

      Addazio is going to get fired or demoted either soon or at the end of the season. And deservedly so, though I think a change of job title is more appropriate considering how much he has done for this program.

      I don’t disagree that the playcalling is a big issue. I just think the execution is worse. Responsibility has to go on the players also.

  8. PLHU says:

    just got back from the swamp…and that offensive showing was atrocious…..fire Addazio now, the John Brantley era is a failure, and it’s not all John’s fault…square peg, round hole, and a bad O-line

  9. decagator says:

    I said it before, and i’ll say it again, the spread option is B.S.! Now are you all convinced when we score 7 friggin pts against Miss state?, And at HOME!

  10. Escambia94 says:

    How is it that Mullen was able to run 24 straight dive plays at us? We’ve been complaining about the playcalling, and our old OC proves us wrong. Execution is our problem, on both sides of the ball. Firing Addazio won’t fix the defense. Also, I noticed how lazy the warm-up drills were. I even saw in warm-up that snap to Burton that deflected to the RB. Bad practice = bad performance. What’s wrong in our locker room?

  11. JW says:

    I concur with the earlier comment about poor clock management. I thought we should have called timeout when the Gators stopped them on 3rd down, and not let the clock run down to 2 minutes.

  12. Mr2Bits says:

    What’s sad is that I don’t blame Henry for this. I know he is blaming himself but he really shouldn’t. Three things :

    1) We are the University of Freaking Florida and do not have a backup field goal kicker? I know Chaz put them through the uprights back in High School but he is bred differently now. We should have someone that can kick field goals and thats all they know how to do.

    2) When did we turn in Les Miles and LSU? 4 minutes left, 3 timeouts and we let MSU bleed off 40 seconds before having them punt? Really, did we just assume we didn’t need that time? It’s not like we don’t know how to run 3 yard outs. Terrible clock management on our part.

    3) I am unsure if our lack of down field plays is Adazzio’s fault. Watching Brantley last night, I believe he is afraid or too hesitant to go down field for the fear of turning the ball over. I watched him not even look at open receivers deep only to hit the check down or the receiver in the flat time and time again. Another thing he has a problem with is staring down the receiver he wants to hit. What I do blame Adazzio for is putting in Burton and not allowing him to change it up (pass the damn ball). ESPN showed Brantley(when he lines up as receiver for some odd reason) wide open standing there because MSU knew we would bring Burton in to run and he poses no threat to passing.

  13. Wal says:

    Adam,

    I hope my wording didnt portray the “you’re a stupid idiot” of many Internet posters, and thanks for the response, I was just more curious about your thoughts. On that front I have to respectfully disagree, with you a little. In the MSU game execution was terrible I agree, and the team made a lot of mental errors, but that was in an insanely pressure packed situation. In terms of the entire year though, the biggest problem to me looks to defensive recognition, they are throwing 15-20 plays a game away with plays that have absolutely no chance of success through the inability to read the opposing defenses alignment and personnel. The team has consistently run straight into eight and nine man fronts, failed to recognize and read presnap keys for blitzers, rarely uses any motion of receivers to setup desired matchups (aside from the typical motion of the running back into the back field), and failed to use overpersuit from the defense on repeat plays by using the counter play (not to be confused with the run play “counter”, I am talking about the opposite play from the same formation designed to fool the defense) from a formation. To me this has setup the offense to fail and is a huge issue that can easily be fixed by reading the D and can help immensly in getting the offense out of the funk that it is in. At some point you have to figure these kids are going to make mistakes, the thing you can’t do Is throw all these plays away and on top of that make a bunch of mistakes. Just my two cents.

  14. Gatorgrad79 says:

    The issues we have now are MULTIPLE, but they start at the top. It appears that we have recruited skill players to a scheme which is only viable with a kick-ass offensive line, and we have not succeeded at consistently recruiting there.
    THEN THERE IS THE WHOLE LACK OF RECEIVERS ISSUE. I object to the “our team is so young” mantra – alabama has the second youngest team in the sec , and they have O-line and D-line that can push people around. WE GOT BLOWN OFF THE LINE ALL NIGHT AND NO AMOUNT OF OFFENSIVE SPEED CAN OVERCOME THAT.
    Worst of all, our coaches CANNOT ADJUST mid-game apparently, as if they are afraid to throw the ball. I feel sorry for JB – when he was allowed to throw and his receivers had a few downs to find a rhythm, he had success. Our coaches will not do what works – they revert back to the stinkin dive play or lateral for a loss on first down every series. Our opponents know what is coming – makes it easy to defend.

  15. Gatorgrad79 says:

    John S,
    I disagree with you about 7 – 5. I will be very surprised if we are bowl eligible this year. We may only beat vandy and the pre-thanksgiving cupcake for the remainder of this season.

  16. travis ritch says:

    meyer just needs to do with addazio what spurrier did with zook. demote him.

  17. Tampa Gator Girl says:

    Adam,
    As I have watched these last games, it is obvious that our players are “shooting themselves in the foot” many times making dumb mistakes (hands are sloppy, timing is off, fumbles, interceptions, no blocking) and our coaches are not making adjustments.

    Also, what about our strengthening coaches? Our players appear to have speed but no strength. Why aren’t the strength and conditioning coaches making Brantley and other players pump up? They NEED to!! Brantley looks soooo fragile against the SEC teams we have played this year.

    We also appear to have no leader. I think Brantley is a nice guy, but he needs to step up to the plate and get these guys fired up! He needs to be a leader. Trey Burton appears to be more of a leader than Brantley, and he is just a freshman. We need leadership. Our guys look flat!

    I never thought I would say this…but I can’t wait for football season to be over with this year!!

  18. Luke says:

    Good points, Adam. The only other thing I’ll add is that the personnel doesn’t fit the play calling and the poor execution seems to breed worse play calling. Let’s see what changes we see after a bye week…

    Question on your statement on Addazio: is that based on opinion, rumor, or what you’re hearing? I think demotion is in order, but I question whether Meyer has the desire to do it with what Steve has done for the program and the fact that execution on several levels is likely the bigger problem. In turn, new coaches could be the biggest reason for the lack of execution and maybe that just takes some time to overcome? Your thoughts?

  19. Aligator says:

    exactly, he is ruining the offense and yes, JB is afraid to throw down field. he has no swagger and he has been beaten to death because of the offensive line that is getting no love from their position coach.

  20. zach says:

    what it comes down to is when the player gets his number called he has to step up and make a play and nobody is making plays right now. I think the loss of Rainey is killing them right now. But i dont understand why they didnt start Demps? if he was gonna play why not start him? he is the biggest homerun threat we have. Adam any news on the Debose injury?

  21. brlgator says:

    Not that we are a good team if we fix these problems BUT

    if deonte thompson doesnt drop 4 balls and our o line blocks better in the first half we atleast win

    I cant tell who the problem is on the o line but the that we cant knock the dline off the ball and get a consistent push is really really sad

    • All- Sorry it took me so long to approve these comments, I slept late.

      Escambia- Agree w/ everything you said except starting Burton over Brantley.

      Mr2Bits- Your point 3) is exactly what I’ve been saying. Haven’t seen Brantley throw a streak or true deep post all year long. And it is because he doesn’t have time in the pocket and may not have the confidence to do so.

      Wal- Your wording was fine, I understood where you were coming from. Not going to re-answer your whole comment, but even with big fronts sometimes you have to run into them to keep the defense honest and make them continue using those fronts so you can pass over them on other plays. Can’t throw away an entire playbook.

      Gatorgrad79- Great point w/ the entire offense revolving around a very strong and talented offensive line – it is true. It is needed for those dives and options to work along with giving Brantley time in the pocket for deep passes. Right now it is achieving NONE of those three duties. And that’s the No. 1 problem with the offense along with execution.

      Luke- My statement on Addazio was an opinion. No inside knowledge. I think the biggest thing wrong with Addazio right now is how his offensive line is playing, not his play calling. With a solid OL and less mistakes (back to execution), those plays work (or would at least work well enough to have won the last two games).

      Zach- Exactly. No news on the Debose injury.

  22. E-Pain says:

    Adam,

    Agreed. Dont fire the guy, he has done ALOT for this proram, and even if he is terrible, I feel he is trying hard. Just isn’t splitting his time well and does not have an OC pedigree to be the OC at FL. I say demote him and bring in someone to fire up our O a bit. I think some drastic changes need to happen and some LEADERSHIP and ACCOUNTABILITY would be great to see from players and coaches. Something soon, because everyone looks lost out there.

  23. E-Pain says:

    I’m tired of these “If’s” every game, it feels like if we just made a few more plays we would win these games. Execution is huge and we just are not doing it. That is equally the fault of the players and coaches. We should be 6-1 right now with our loss to Bama being expected. Instead we’re 4-3 staring at a game against a very good looking Georgia team all of a sudden.

  24. Escambia94 says:

    So, we have two weeks to right the ship. What can we do? Let’s assume Addazio is not fired Monday, Meyer does not have a heart attack, and JB remains the starter.

    First observation: attitude. Even in warmups we looked lackadaisical. MSU looked fired up, like they had swagger. With no quality wins to lean on, we still need to find some mojo or swagger.

    Second observation: execution. ‘Nuff said. Dead horse beaten.

    Third observation: leadership. Quick, name the true leaders of offense, defense, and special teams.

    The rest we cannot control or change in 2 weeks: injuries, coaching staff, playbook. As fans, all we can control is supporting the team. Let’s not boo our own team. We can boo the coaches.

    Now, what is going to change by the next game? My recommendation: watch the very end of the last two games plus most of the Kentucky game for hints on what we can fix in two weeks. The other ideas would take months to develop or decisions to be made at a high level.

  25. John S says:

    Good point from Tampa Gator Girl on the strength and conditioning. Unfortunately Balis went with Mullen to MSU. Meyer apparently told Mullen that the most critical position he should fill was S and C, and so Mullen took our guy. Then Piraino left for Marshal with Doc Holiday. Mickey Marotti is the current guy, based on the play of the line and the injuries, he should receive a lot of the blame. Not sure what they think of Meyer now, but Balis or Piraino would be great to have back.

  26. Gatorgrad79 says:

    What are the odds that Meyer can recruit QUALITY, EXPERIENCED assistants or coordinators?! Probably zero mid-season, but assuming we squeek out a bowl appearance, would quality guys leave a stable job to come to a school where the guy who hired them may have one season left ( depending on 2011 performance)?! I hear Mile Leitch is hanging loose down in Key west….

  27. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Leitch comment was a joke….

  28. Ahab says:

    Meyer is not going to be fired after this season or the next or the next after that.

  29. Escambia94 says:

    @Ahab: I don’t think the Gator Nation’s frustrations are aimed at Urban Meyer. Addazio will make a fine scapegoat for now. Demote him, and the Gator Nation will probably relax and give Loeffler his shot at OC. One year from now if we see the same, then I think Urban Meyer looks for a new job or does well enough in 2011 to hold on until 2012. After that, I have hope that we will be okay.

  30. HJUF79 says:

    The way I see things, the “Offensive Coordinator” is responsible for the offensive line, offensive play calling, quarterbacks growth and play, at practice and on the field. Now if any one or all of these listed begin to fail, or fail, the “Offensive Coordinator” is at fault. All said, the Head coach is responsible for the offensive coordinator. On the flip side, our defense is very young and should be much better next year. Like coach Addazio has had a few years to prove or disprove himself, coach Austin deserves his opportunity as well.
    Other thoughts I have,.. Coach Meyer looks and seems very lethargic, wonder if he will be with us next year, our offense as a whole is pathetic and something should already have been done to change things, (players are responsible for a portion of this). I have always been told if it aint workin, fix it !!

Top