No. 2 Florida Gators football (7-1, 6-1 SEC) dropped a sloppy game 17-6 to the No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 SEC) at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL. Georgia is now in the driver’s seat to win the SEC East while Florida is looking to regroup and still make something out of the 2012 season. Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media and provided some of his thoughts after the game.
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» The victory gave Georgia consecutive wins over Florida for the first time since the 1980s when the Bulldogs won three-straight over the Gators from 1987-89.
» Muschamp is now 0-6 all-time in the Florida-Georgia series, going 0-4 as a Bulldogs player and 0-2 as head coach of the Gators. He is the first UF head coach since Galen Hall to lose more than one game to UGA in his career.
» Florida lost for the first time this season when trailing at the half (3-1).
» The Gators are now 1-5 under Muschamp when rushing for fewer than 100 yards.
» Saturday was the first time in 2012 that UF was outscored in the second half (10-3).
» After starting the year +11 in turnover margin, Florida’s season-long number fell to +8 as the Gators coughed up six turnovers in the game, three more than the Bulldogs.
» Florida has registered at least one interception in seven-of-eight games and picked up three on Saturday alone. It is the second time this season that UF registered three interceptions in a single game.
» The Gators lost their third game under Muschamp when holding an opponent to under 21 points and are now 2-6 under Muschamp when being out-rushed by an opponent.
» Florida was held without a touchdown in a game for the first time since Oct. 15, 2011 (at Auburn) and for the first time against the Bulldogs since 1988.
» The Gators were more efficient on third down (7-of-16 vs. 1-of-10), held the ball longer (33:41-26:19) and passed for more yards (185-150) than the Bulldogs. Florida, however, was outrushed 81-123 and coughed up three more turnovers
» UF entered UGA’s red zone four times on Saturday but amassed just six points by kicking two field goals and giving up a pair of turnovers.
» Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis scored nine points on three field goals Saturday, making him one of three players in school history to register more than 300 career points. His 302 points are third behind Jeff Chandler (368) and Tim Tebow (342).
» Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel fumbled the ball thrice (lost two) and tossed two interceptions. He had only one interception on the season entering the game.
» Redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed tied a career-high with five receptions and set a career-best with 74 receiving yards, though his fumble late in the fourth quarter was a black eye on his performance.
Below is what Muschamp had to say at the beginning of the post-game press conference marking his first loss since Nov. 26, 2011.
“I’ve said all season long that we’re not a team that has a lot of margin of error. Six turnovers leads to 10 points – critical plays in the game. You got to rise up and those opportunities you have, you got to make those plays. You got to give [Georgia] credit; they did and we didn’t. Six turnovers. Wow. That’s tough to overcome.
“The turnover before half, we got to get points in that situation. We had a hard time establishing some things in the run game, and they’ve got some good players defensively. We’re just not quite there explosive enough-wise offensively to overcome…or any team…six turnovers, at the end of the day. That’s the end of the game, in my opinion, six turnovers. We got, I think, two field goals off two interceptions. We just can’t turn the ball over like that. That’s unfortunate.
“I felt like we did a nice job on the last drive. Jeff made some really outstanding throws and plays and gave us an opportunity to win the game. No one play loses a game. Great effort on Jordan’s part trying to get the ball in the end zone. We just got to do a better job with ball security. That’s really it. Ball security’s it.”
Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say…after the break!
Gators looked to be down on the field injured all game long. Though most eventually returned to the game, two never stepped back on the field on Saturday. Junior wide receiver Solomon Patton, who landed with his left arm trapped under his body when being tackled around the neck early in the game, is believed to have a broken arm and should be out the remainder of the season.
“That’s a guy that the defense has to account for on sweeps on end-around stuff like that. That’s a huge loss to us. That’s a guy who can make a big play at any time. We’re hoping he can recover from his injury,” Driskel said.
Redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins was forced out of a game for the third time this season after tweaking the injured hamstring that has already forced him to miss action. His status is currently unknown though the expectation is that he will be able to play sooner than later.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On if the defense did enough for Florida to win: “We were in position. The third-down throw [for a touchdown] was a heck of a throw and catch on their part. We were in position to make it, but they made the play and we didn’t. Frustrating, but at the end of the day we’ve got to make those plays.”
» On the Gators’ having the run game stifled in consecutive weeks: “[Opponents are] loading the box. We’ve got to win down the field. We’ve got to win down the field.”
» On bouncing back from the tough loss: “That’s what I told the team in the locker room: ‘You’ve won well together. We’re going to find out how we handle adversity as a football team.’ We’ve done that very well in my time. We’ve got a bunch of down guys in the locker room, and I totally understand that. We got to regroup here. Our staff will get back in the office tomorrow and work and get the players back at 3:00 p.m. on Monday. I think we have good leadership on our football team, and I think we’ll be fine in the long run. We just need to push through this. There’s no question there’ s a lot of football to play. Very disappointed with the outcome of the game, not disappointed with the effort but the ball security and some of the things we just got to move forward with.”
» On the holding penalty called on junior defensive end Dominique Easley that extended Georgia’s final touchdown drive: “I have zero comment on that one.”
» On how Florida has and can win football games this year: “I’ve said it through the entire year and I’ve preached it to our team constantly. We can’t go out and lay it on the ground six times. That’s to what we can do. We’ve got to take advantage of field position, which we didn’t. We’ve got to take advantage of turnovers, which we didn’t. We just got to go back and regroup. We’ve got a solid football team. We’re going to be fine. We just got to regroup and understand the things that we’ve got to do to be successful. We didn’t do that tonight. We didn’t do it.”
MUSCHAMP’s ANGER ON DISPLAY AGAIN
On Saturday, Muschamp was once again angry at the officials on occasion, but he was also furious over some questionable decisions that his players’ made over the course of the game. CBS slowed down his reaction to sophomore tight end Clay Burton either entering the game and being the 12th man on the field or forgetting to leave the field when a particular play was called. His presence drew an untimely penalty for Florida.