Quick hits: No. 8 Florida Gators survive FAU Owls 20-14 in overtime; McElwain makes more history

By Adam Silverstein
November 21, 2015

No. 8 Florida Gators football (10-1) survived a tough test from the Florida Atlantic Owls (2-9), eventually scoring a touchdown in the first overtime to pull off a 26-20 victory at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

With the victory, Jim McElwain became the winningest first-year head coach in program history, picking up his 10th win – one more than Urban Meyer (2005), Steve Spurrier (1990), Galen Hall (1985) and Ray Graves (1960).

Here are six immediate takeaways from the Gators’ latest victory.

Massive struggles: Aside from his 53-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Antonio Callaway (which ended a short four-play, 91-yard scoring drive that put Florida up 14-0), sophomore quarterback Treon Harris was dreadful Saturday. Aside from being inaccurate and ineffective most of the day, Harris also turned the ball over twice. First, he threw up a duck into the end zone that was intercepted, ruining a potential scoring drive. Then midway through the fourth quarter, Harris was strip sacked, fumbling the ball into the end zone and giving FAU a game-tying touchdown at 14-14. Harris did throw the game-winning touchdown, a 13-yard strike to redshirt senior tight end Jake McGee in the first overtime, but otherwise had a forgettable performance going 8-of-17 for 122 yards with 26 more on the ground.

Defense steps up: With the game scoreless, Florida’s defense made some noise when the team needed it to the most. Senior linebacker Antonio Morrison forced a fumble on a strip sack, and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Taven Bryan brought the ball back 48 yards down to FAU’s 2, which UF converted into a touchdown. Then again, with the game tied 14-14, the defense got the Gators out of what looked like another jam. The Owls carried the ball out to midfield when redshirt sophomore defensive back Nick Washington forced a fumble that was recovered by redshirt junior DB Marcus Maye with just over five minutes to play. UF’s defense also held on the final series of the game, suffocating FAU on four plays starting with 1st & Goal from the 9.

Stuntin’ like his daddy: Junior running back Kelvin Taylor scored his 13th rushing touchdown of the season following Bryan’s fumble return, tying his father Fred Taylor and Emmitt Smith for fifth-most in a single season in school history. Kelvin Taylor finished Saturday’s game with 98 yards on 25 touches with a long of 20.

First half failings: Florida was horrid in the first half of Saturday’s game; it got outgained 150-69 by FAU, and the Gators went 0-for-6 on third down attempts over the first 30 minutes. The Owls got the hosts to bite on a fake punt late in the first quarter, and UF was unable to capitalize on a 52-yard punt return by Callaway, only getting three yards of offense and seeing redshirt junior kicker Austin Hardin boot a 33-yard field goal off the left field goal post.

Up and down: Sophomore cornerback Jalen Tabor had a black-and-white day for the Gators, getting beat and stiff-armed on consecutive plays only to turn around with a clutch thieving interception later in the contest. Tabor also had a couple clutch pass breakups on the afternoon — five on the day total — and finished with four solo tackles.

Stars absent: In addition to the three defensive linemen the Gators had sidelined for the game, Florida saw senior Jonathan Bullard go down early with a knee injury on a chop block, only to return to the field after spending some time getting tested in the locker room. Florida did lose junior cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III for the majority of the contest, however. Hargreaves went into the locker room late in the second half and did not return; it was later revealed that he was dealing with an upset stomach and eating crackers given to him by trainers.


  1. scroud says:

    Up to now, I have been a Harris supporter, but he seems to have regressed. The coaches will have to go back to the drawing board. Harris is holding the ball too long. We need more quick outs and QB draws, otherwise we will lose our remaining games.
    The defense was spectacular and won us the game. Only because of them do I continue to have hope.
    No comment necessary about the kicking game, but will say on the blocked extra point, looked like the FAU guy was in the backfield and that shouldn’t have happened
    Wow. But is is a victory at the end of the day.

  2. SW FL Joe says:

    Outside of getting a win, not much to be proud of with that performance. Way too inept considering this was the 11th game of the season. Mac needs to sign the best Juco kicker in the country now and a good QB also since Treon is a complete liability and Will is gone until game 7. #DeadFishOnIce

  3. Dan says:

    Really don’t think it would have mattered who the QB was given that their DL was in our backfield all day.

  4. Matt Burris says:

    As horrible as Treon Harris looks behind center, it makes me wonder just how much worse Grady and Guy are. Why is it so difficult to find good passing QBs in the state of Florida? It’s games like this that really makes you shake your head at Grier taking those PEDs. It’s Cameron Newton all over again.

    • Matt Burris says:

      Also, it’s sad that FAU’s offense did better than the Gators’ and that’s against a much tougher defense. How that happened is beyond me. Back during the Spurrier days, even the practice squad would be better than the first string of these small-time schools.

  5. Spuntly says:

    We will find out next weekend if the Gators were just looking ahead or we have truly regressed to this level. Whichever it is, some of this has to be put on Coach Mac. He is coach of the year, but the Gators were not ready today. Same with the Vandy game.
    That looked exactly like a Muschamp coached Gator squad. Hopefully this scare wakes them up so we can beat that school out west.

  6. Ken (CA) says:

    10 wins? hmm….who ever would have guessed?

    Oh wait.. someone did! I was called some names when I did, but hmm.. It looks like maybe I wasn’t the idiot they called me to be.

    I still have no idea why Adam has blacklisted me as I have been a huge supporter for years, and he isn’t telling me why I was blacklisted, but if this isn’t deleted for whatever reason I was blacklisted, this will be my last post ever on this site. He said he would tell me why I was black listed, and never once told me, almost a month later.

    I think this is a great site for gators, and I think Adam has done a remarkable job being accurate and not posting until he was certain he had the facts, and I am very disappointed that he isn’t explaining to me what he has an issue with.

    • I have never blacklisted you. I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. You’ve said this three times. I keep approving your comments. You are NOT blacklisted.

    • Gatoralum88 says:

      Ken, congrats Nostradamus!…I was guessing either 7-6 or 8-5. I wonder what the Vegas odds were for Mac on 10 wins back in August. Back then though no one really knew Grier would start developing the way he would. It’s a shame he made the stupid mistakes he made. With him I think they could REALLY be contenders right now. Without him I’m fearing they may finish 10-4…which still exceeds all expectations.

      On a side note (literally), Adam, WHY are the 2014 SEC East standings STILL on the right side instead in this year’s standings? I’ve left it alone ALL SEASON because the last time I brought up updating the right side your response was “I’ve been busy”. Since it’s your site, obviously, you can do what you want when you want to do it. I just think it looks bad & that NO ONE wants a reminder of the Muschump error in place of what Mac is doing THIS YEAR.

      Go Gators!

  7. Mac_supporter says:

    Man, how can anyone be critical of Coach Mac or any of the coaches with the way this season has gone? This team is overachieving. That can only go so far. It would be great to win it all and Lord knows I hope we do, but this is still a group of players who are working to change the culture. Why does winning have to be pretty no matter who the opponent is? Just win! 10-1 is 10-1.

    By the way, this does not look like a Muschamp team because those teams would have found a way to lose!

    • G2 says:

      So true, but so easy to get spoiled as the wins keep a coming. We are 8 points from an undefeated season….who would have thunk it but Ken?

      This team has found ways to win instead of lose so there is some hope out there. I do think we get crushed the next 2 weeks, the D can only hold out for so long!

  8. Aligator says:

    10 Wins!! No need to complain!! We did much better than anyone thought!! Enjoy it!!

  9. Johnjd says:

    So when does Grier return to practice?

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