The Florida Gators (4-4, 3-3 SEC) fought back from a rough start but still fell 23-20 to the Georgia Bulldogs (5-3, 4-2 SEC) at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL. After the tough loss, Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media to provide some of his thoughts on his team and its defeat.
“Very proud of our players and the effort and the intensity and the fight and the resolve to battle back. We dug ourselves too big of a hole especially with the big plays on defense early in the game. … Field position got us a little bit. … Settled down in the second half. I think we had about 250 yards in the first quarter and 155 for the rest of the game. But we dug ourselves too big of a whole. We moved the ball offensively. I thought we did protect well for the most part. … We ran the ball effectively at times. We threw the ball well at times. We just go to somehow figure out a way to create some more explosive plays for our football team to gain momentum.
“I give our guys credit defensively. Third down was a killer obviously there at the end, not being able to get off the field. In those situations, we’ve got to be able to convert some third downs and force a punt in that situation, especially with that much time on the clock. Disappointed in that but very pleased in our players and how they continue to play hard.”
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Georgia holds a 49-40-2 all-time advantage over Florida in the series between the two teams. The Bulldogs also lead 32-37-1 for games played in Jacksonville.
» UGA has won three-straight games over UF for the first time since 1987-89.
» Neither Florida nor Georgia were ranked heading into the annual rivalry game for just the second time since 1980.
» Saturday was just the Gators’ second loss to an unranked opponent under Muschamp.
» Muschamp is still winless in the Florida-Georgia series as a player (0-4) and head coach (0-3).
» Muschamp is 5-7 against UF’s traditional rivals of Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami and Tennessee. Three of those victories have come against UT.
» The Gators have forced at least one turnover in 18-straight games.
» Florida is now 7-12 under Muschamp when rushing for fewer than 150 yards, 8-8 when an opponent scores first and 4-11 when tied or trailing at the half.
» The Gators forced a safety for the first time since Sept. 10, 2011 vs. UAB.
» Florida committed seven total personal fouls on Saturday though some were not counted due to offsetting penalties. The Gators still finished with seven penalties for 70 yards lost, slightly over their already-high average.
» Georgia went 7-for-12 on third down against the top-ranked third-down defense in the conference in Florida’s unit.
» The Bulldogs gained 335 yards of total offense in the first half but picked up just 79 in the second half.
» UF scored 17 unanswered points in the second half while holding UGA scoreless.
» Florida won the coin toss and chose to defer possession until the second half for the third-straight game. Georgia, like Missouri two weeks ago, scored on its opening possession, putting UF in a deficit right off the bat.
» The Bulldogs ran the final 8:17 off the clock with a three-point lead, putting together a 15-play, 67-yard drive that included four third-down conversions (one via penalty).
» Florida gained just 34 yards on 23 first-down snaps (1.47 yards per play).
» Redshirt junior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar has extended his stream of games with a reception to 24. His 83-yard catch in the first quarter was the longest for Florida since Sept. 17, 2011. It was also the longest completion of redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy’s career.
» The Gators registered a two-point conversion for the first time since Oct. 13, 2012. Murphy hit junior tight end Clay Burton in the end zone for the latter’s first reception of the season. (It will not count in the stat book, however.)
» Redshirt junior defensive tackle Leon Orr registered a fumble recovery for the second time this season on a heads-up play in which he jumped on top of a dropped lateral pass thrown by Aaron Murray.
» Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III picked up nine tackles, leading the team in that category for the first time in his career.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On the defense struggling early: “I don’t know. We’re going to go back and look. … But we need to get out of the gate quicker to create more momentum for our team.”
» On missing tow field goals: “The first drive we need to get points out of the drive. You hit the ball on the second play of the game. That’s what we wanted. We just got to convert those situation. We got to get some red zone touchdowns. Very disappointed we couldn’t get the field goal in either situation.”
» On Orr’s fumble recovery: “It was a great play by Leon. In that situation, we always talk about scooping and scoring, and it was an outstanding play.”
» On what Florida needs to do to win crucial games: “Have more points.”
» On how the players were reacting at halftime: “They were fine. Our guys are pretty technical about what was going on. you give up two big play sand a couple chunks defensively, frustrated with that. You hold them to field goals, which were lifesavers in the first half. We’ll just continue to battle and play. … We’ll rebound and we’ll be fine.”
» On the state of the Gators after the game: “We’ve improved. We got better from Missouri. That’s what we needed to do. We need to get a win. … We’ve certainly been inconsistent and that’s the frustrating part for me right now.”
» On the play of the offensive line: “I thought we blocked well. I thought we got a hat on a hat. I thought we got good movement. I think we had four sacks, one was on a seven-man protection and was on the tight end. A couple were scramble situations. We had time to throw the ball. … There was nothing that we felt like on the sideline that we were really struggling to handle.”
» On the hostility of Florida fans (Muschamp reportedly screamed at one that flashed him the middle finger after the game): “I don’t spend two seconds thinking about it, you know? I just move on. We got to coach the football team, control the things that you can control and we’re going to be fine, I can assure you of that.”
» On what the team has left to play for if not an SEC Championship appearance: “You rally around the fact that you play at the University of Florida. It’s a great place to play football. You got a lot of very close locker room and guys play for each other. That’s a lot for those guys. They understand that. It’s frustrating and they’re down and they’re hurt. At the end of the day, guys got a lot of pride and they’re competitors and they want to go out and compete. They want to play well.”
@ONLYGATORS TWEET OF THE GAME
So many ways this game could have unfolded differently. Missed FGs, coaching decisions, Gurley being ejected. But that's football. UF 4-4.
— OnlyGators.com (@onlygators) November 2, 2013