No. 2 Florida Gators football (7-0, 6-0 SEC) earned one of their most decisive wins of the season Saturday with a 44-11 victory over the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2, 4-2 SEC) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. The Gators have now surpassed their 2011 regular season win total. Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media and provided some of his thoughts after the game.
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida ended a two-game losing skid against South Carolina and improved to 24-6-3 in the all-time series with a 13-1-0 advantage in Gainesville. The Gators are 18-3 against the Gamecocks since the teams began playing annually in 1992 and are now 5-3 since Steve Spurrier became head coach of USC.
» UF is 11-1 against unranked opponents and 3-5 against ranked teams since Muschamp took over the program in 2011. Florida has earned all three victories over ranked opponents this season, also defeating Tennessee on the road and LSU at home.
» After having not defeated a ranked opponent at home since Nov. 15, 2008, the Gators have done so in two of their last three games.
» Florida has started a season 7-0 for the fifth time in school history.
» The Gators have not allowed a touchdown to an SEC team in The Swamp this season.
» Florida, under Muschamp, is now 11-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 9-3 when scoring first and 11-1 when leading at the half.
» UF has started a season 7-0 for the fifth time in school history.
» The Gators out-possessed the Gamecocks by 10:56 in the game, the sixth time this season in which they won the time of possession battle.
» Florida won both halves, outscoring South Carolina 21-6 in the first half and 23-5 in the second half. The Gators are outscoring opponents 121-28 in the second half and 64-13 in the fourth quarter this season.
» UF is +11 in turnover margin thorough seven games after being -12 in 2011. Florida has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (333) since 2000.
» The Gators have registered an interception in six of seven games.
» Sophomore punter Kyle Christy averaged 54.3 yards per punt (50.4 net ypp) and hit a long of 62 during the game.
» Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel became the first signal caller since (at least) 1996 to throw for four touchdowns (a career-high) but register under 100 yards passing. He is also the first UF quarterback to score three touchdowns in consecutive games since Tim Tebow (Nov. 21 & 28, 2009) and the first to throw four touchdowns against an SEC opponent since Tebow (Oct. 20, 2007).
» Senior running back Mike Gillislee carried the ball 19 times for 37 yards, his lowest output of the season.
» Redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed caught two touchdowns, a career-high.
» Freshman Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr., sophomore cornerback Jabari Gorman and freshman RB Matt Jones registered their first career sack, interception and touchdown, respectively.
» Sophomore CB Loucheiz Purifoy forced two fumbles in the game, both of which were recovered by Florida.
“…AND OVERCOME THE ADVERSITY ON THE FIELD”
At halftime of the game, Muschamp voiced his displeasure at the officiating with the officials but was then stopped by Brady Ackerman of the Gator Radio Network for an interview. While providing his answer, Muschamp saw an official walking by and made sure to make it be known how upset he was at some of the calls in the first half. “Well, we just gotta continue to capitalize on what we’re doing and OVERCOME THE ADVERSITY ON THE FIELD!” Listen for yourself:
Video sync clip via CFBSection
Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say…after the break!
“It was a resilient team effort. Obviously the key to the game was turnovers. Four turnovers that go for 22 points, six times we’re in the red zone scoring touchdowns. They have two opportunities in the red zone and have to kick field goals. Kyle Christy seven punts over 50 yards. What a game-changer, what a field-position change to have a guy like that and a weapon like that. Also our coverage units are outstanding. Those guys – Loucheiz and all of those guys do an outstanding job. Offensively we were 7-and-16 on third down. We felt like we needed to maintain possession, especially after the first half. You got to give South Carolina’s defense a lot of credit. They did an outstanding job against us tonight, stalemated us at the line. You got to credit those guys. The third quarter was critical. They had zero first downs and we had 133 yards. We were able to move the ball, go to some things we saw at halftime that we felt like we could take advantage of offensively. It was another team win. We don’t have a lot of margin of error here. We’re a team that’s paying defense pretty decent at times and is pretty consistent offensively doing what we have to do to take advantage of the other team and give us an opportunity to win the game. We’ve played really well on special teams in controlling the vertical field position. That’s who we are right now.”
IMMENSE RESPECT FOR SPURRIER
“It has nothing to do with me being the Florida coach. It has to do with the respect I have for him as a football coach. And not necessarily what he did at Florida; what he did at Duke and what he’s done at South Carolina. I got tremendous respect for the guy, and the guy’s been good to me since I’ve been here, and I appreciate that. I’ve got as much respect for him as I do for anybody that has been a coach. What he’s accomplished and what he did for this university – I don’t ever like to use the word ‘easy’ – he’s made my job a lot more doable in recruiting because of what he’s created here and the tradition he’s created here. And I appreciate that.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On the team being much improved in forcing turnovers: “I don’t know anybody who does it better than Dan Quinn and our defensive staff [teaching the players to be] cognizant of taking the ball off people. Constantly in every meeting we spend a lot of time just talking about stripping the ball off people and knowing when they don’t have it high and tight.”
» On winning the turnover margin once again: “We need to be good in turnover margin. We’re not a good enough team to go out and turn the ball over, be careless with the ball and not gain some positive field position for our football team.”
» On the special teams having pride: “I think D.J. Durkin does a fantastic job. We put a lot of emphasis on it. We meet a lot. We spend, in every practice, a minimum of 25 minutes on special teams strictly. We usually concentrate on two units per day and the punt team every day. What you emphasize is what’s important.”
» On one of the keys to Florida’s success this year: “That’s what’s been good about this football team – we’re very hard self-evaluators.”
» On the crowd in The Swamp: “I want to credit our fans. We got the best crowd in ball. To go out in that environment, in that stadium and play and coach is a lot of fun. We’ve given them something to cheer about. We didn’t give them a whole lot to cheer about last year. That’s good to be able to go out and get them excited.”
» On player development: “You got to coach guys. You got to develop them. Regardless of what the recruiting sites say, everybody needs to develop in this game. Football is a developmental game.”
» On why sophomore QB Jacoby Brissett saw the field: “He deserved it. I thought the game was certainly in hand, but I would put him out there regardless of the situation. He deserved the opportunity to go in there and play. It was good to see him play.”
» On the talented defensive fronts the Gators have faced recently: “You look at two of the fronts we played in LSU and South Carolina. Those are first-round draft picks being drafted. They’re not good players; they’re really, really good players. Come April, they’ll be building houses for their parents.”
» On Christy and redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis: “There’s no question I’ve got tremendous confidence in both guys. I wouldn’t trade them for anybody.”
» On if he has spoken to the team about the high poll rankings: “I sat with them Monday and I said, ‘OK, let’s have a conversation about the BCS and the AP and the UPI and the USA Today and all the polls. Is that going to help us win against South Carolina? Is any of that information going to help us prepare for the game?’ They all agreed that it wasn’t going to help us. So we’re not going to sit here and talk about it. Let’s take one step at a time – the next game, the next approach. I know that’s not a fancy approach but that’s what we do here.”
» On if he is surprised at all that Florida has started 7-0: “No, I expect to win them all. I did last year [as well]. It’s just what you do as a coach. You find ways to get it done.”