Gators run over by Bulldogs, drop third straight

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

Week 7: No. 22 Florida Gators vs. MSU Bulldogs

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 76°F, clear skies
Time: 7:00 p.m. (EST)

TV: ESPNU
Sirius/XM: 219/199
Online Video: N/A
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 22 FLORIDA GATORS MISS. STATE BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Dan Mullen
Record: 4-2 (2-2) Record: 4-2 (1-2)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -9; O/U 46

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida leads the all-time series 33-18-2 against Mississippi State, holding a 19-7-1 advantage in Gainesville. The Gators have won back-to-back games in the series, defeating the Bulldogs 35-9 in 2005 and 29-19 in Starkville, MS, last season.
» UF is 63-20-2 all-time in homecoming games and have won 21-straight on this occasion including 14 consecutive contests against conference opponents.
» Florida continues to lead the nation with 13 interceptions. Five have been returned for more than 30 yards – three for touchdowns.
» The Gators had gone 14-for-14 in the red zone over the previous two games with 13 touchdowns and a field goal. Against Alabama and LSU, UF went 4-8 in the same area. As a team they are now 21-for-27 in the red zone in 2010 with 19 touchdowns.
» Florida under Meyer is 40-0 when holding an opponent under 16 points, 29-2 when shutting an opponent out in the fourth quarter, 37-3 when holding an opponent to 35 percent or less on third down, 37-2 when giving up two or less big plays (15-yard run/25-yard pass) and 31-3 when the Gators defense scores or creates three turnovers.
» The Bulldogs are out-scoring opponents 58-17 in the first quarter while the Gators are being outscored 14-16 in the same period.
» Mississippi State has won three straight games for only the second time since 2000 and are looking for their first four-game winning streak since starting 8-0 in 1999. Florida is hoping to avoid its first three-game losing streak since 1999.
» MSU has only allowed seven touchdowns in 19 opponent trips to the red zone.
» The Bulldogs out-rank the Gators in four primary statistical averages going into the contest. Mississippi State is 72nd in passing yards (205), 24th in rushing yards (211.8), 45th in points scored (31.7) and 22nd in points against (17.5) compared to Florida being 87th in passing yards (183), 75th in rushing yards (140.7), 48th in points scored (31.0) and 37th in points against (20.2). Both lost to their common opponent, LSU, though MSU fell 29-7 on the road while UF lost 33-29 at home.
» Mississippi State’s Mullen was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Florida from 2005-08. Also on the staff at the same time was Bulldogs offensive line coach/running game coordinator John Hevsey. Mullen had coached under Meyer since 2001 (Bowling Green, Utah) before taking his first head coaching job and was also a graduate assistant at Syracuse where he worked with Gators offensive coordinator and OL coach Steve Addazio. The trio worked together from 1999-2000 at Notre Dame.
» Florida running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Stan Drayton coached at Mississippi State in 2004; Bulldogs’ head strength coach Matt Balis was on the Gators’ staff from 2005-06 and left with Mullen.
» No. 22 is the lowest Florida has been ranked in Meyer’s tenure. The Gators have been listed in every poll since he took over the team in 2005.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

FLORIDA
» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley…who had thrown 156 consecutive passes without an interception dating back to 2009, now has a 6-4 TD/INT ratio this season after throwing another pick last week. He has completed 105-of-169 passes (62.1 percent) for 1,056 yards and has a passer rating of 121.6.
» Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose…who has led UF in all-purpose yards each of the last two weeks posting 75 against Alabama and 163 against LSU including an 88-yard kickoff return touchdown.
» Freshman QB Trey Burton…who set a school record and SEC freshman record by scoring six touchdowns in a single game against Kentucky. He has nine scores on the season, has played five positions and may see more time behind center with the team wanting to run the ball better out of the option.
» Junior running back Jeff Demps…who has led the Gators in rushing in every game this season with totals of 98, 139, 73, 57 and 47 yards. He is averaging 6.5 yards per carry this year and is the nation’s active RB leader in yards per touch since 2008 (7.3).
» Redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson…who is averaging almost 60 yards per game this season. As Brantley’s primary pass catcher, 18 of Thompson’s 23 receptions this year have been for first downs.
» Redshirt senior WR Carl Moore…who continues to be clutch for the Gators each week. Eleven of Moore’s last 12 catches have been for first downs including two against Tennessee, four against Kentucky, two against Alabama and three against LSU.
» Florida’s secondary…which has intercepted eight balls this season but has been held without a pick for back-to-back contests. Senior safety Ahmad Black (three), redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (three) and junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins (two) and are leading the way for the unit. Brown returned one for a touchdown last week, and Black is tops on the team with 50 tackles on the year while also being the conference’s active leader in interceptions (11) and interception return yards (233).
» Redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins…who is coming on strong for the Gators with 35 tackles on the season. He intercepted his first pass last week against LSU, returning it 47 yards and setting up a touchdown for the offense, and had a career-high and team-leading eight tackles against Kentucky earlier in the year.
» Senior punter Chas Henry…who is the end-all be-all of Florida’s kicking game now that he has taken over for junior Caleb Sturgis (back) as the team’s field goal kicker. Henry missed two field goals on one drive (the first was negated by a penalty) last week after scoring all of his team’s points on two field goals against Alabama.

MISSISSIPPI STATE
» Junior RB Vick Ballard…who has already scored 12 touchdowns this year and has reached the end zone in every game while leading the SEC with a total of 72 points and 11 rushing scores. Ballard also has 58 carries for 418 yards (7.2 average) and three receptions for 50 yards.
» Junior QB Chris Relf…who leads his team in passing and rushing attempts. Relf completes 59.3 percent of his passes and has thrown for 675 yards and five touchdowns along with three interceptions. He has also rushed 65 times for 295 yards and a score.
» Sophomore WR Chad Bumphis…who has a team-high 32 receptions for 431 yards and four touchdowns on the season as MSU’s primary pass catcher.
» Senior LBs Chris White and K.J. Wright…who have been huge defensive playmakers for the Bulldogs. White leads the team with 7.5 tackles for loss and 46 total tackles, while Wright has 42 total tackles and seven pass break-ups (tops in the SEC).

INJURIES and INACTIVES
Injuries
Active – Redshirt junior QB John Brantley (ribs, thumb, shoulder), redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson (concussion), redshirt freshman right guard Jon Halapio (finger)
Questionable – Junior RB Jeff Demps (foot), sophomore RB Mike Gillislee (foot), freshman safety Matt Elam (concussion)

Inactives
Redshirt sophomore LT Matt Patchan (broken wrist), senior CB Moses Jenkins (hyperextended elbow), redshirt senior DT Brandon Antwine (shoulder), junior kicker Caleb Sturgis (back), sophomore linebacker Dee Finley (fractured collarbone), freshmen WRs Quinton Dunbar and Chris Dunkley (hamstrings)

FLORIDA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

The Gators are not set to be heavily featured in during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast beginning at 9 a.m. on ESPNU (hosted by Erin Andrews) and continuing from 10 a.m. until noon on ESPN. From what we hear ESPN is not planning to specifically talk about Florida other than during a “State of Florida” segment and when the analysts pick games at the end of the program.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. Miss. State Bulldogs preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » Week 7: No. 22 Florida Gators vs. MSU Bulldogs

Gators Gameday Grub: Bulldogs are Puppy Chow

Janah Adickman of Delish Your Dish is back with another Gators Gameday Grub segment here on OGGOA. A Florida-themed recipe that is easy to make, fun to create and absolutely delicious, this is perfect whether you are hosting a party, attending one or tailgating on-site at the big game. Remember: this grub is for Gators ONLY!

Be sure to check out Janah’s website – a one stop shop for vegetarian recipes (she breaks that rule for us), product and restaurant reviews. She creates simple recipes (appetizers, entrees, desserts) for the non-chef with simply delish results!

This week: Bulldogs are Puppy Chow (AKA muddy buddies)

What You Need:
9 cups Chex cereal (any flavor) – 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips – 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter – 1/4 cup butter or margarine – 1 tsp. vanilla – 1 1/2 cups powdered Sugar – 1 cup white and maroon M&Ms

Directions:
1. Measure the cereal and place into an extra-large bowl. Set aside.
2. In a microwavable dish, combine the butter, peanut butter and chocolate. Place the dish in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir, then place back in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla extract then stir the chocolate mixture well.
3. Pour the chocolate over the Chex and carefully combine so that the cereal is coated. Then pour the chocolate covered cereal into an extra-large plastic bag. Add the powdered sugar and seal bag. Shake the bag until the cereal is well coated in the powdered sugar. Add the M&Ms and shake again.
4. Pour into serving dish and enjoy chowing down on the Puppies!

Optional:
1. If allergic to peanuts, almond butter may be substituted.
2. Add orange and blue M&Ms as a side dish.

10/14: Florida Gators week seven practice notes

Updated Oct. 15, 1:45 a.m.

No. 22/22 Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media after practice on Thursday and divulged a few important notes about the team’s sixth game of the 2010-11 season on Saturday against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details which you can check out below.

INJURIES MOUNTING

Over the past two weeks Meyer and his coaches have been optimistic that the injury plague surrounding the program was lifting, especially when it came to Florida’s playmakers. Unfortunately the opposite seems to be the case as running backs junior Jeff Demps and sophomore Mike Gillislee have each been downgraded.

Called “Probable” by Meyer last week and this week, Demps (sprained foot) is now considered 50-50 (“Questionable”) for the Mississippi State game. Meyer slotted Gillislee (bruised foot) somewhere between the two designations, saying he has a 60 percent chance to play. Redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson and freshman safety Matt Elam, both of whom suffered concussions against LSU, practiced in full Thursday and will play Saturday. Also injured last week was redshirt freshman guard Jon Halapio (broken finger), but he had surgery Sunday and will be good to go.

Other injures Meyer updated the media on include the following:

» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley (ribs, thumb, shoulder) – will start
» Redshirt sophomore guard David Young (fractured kneecap) – out for season
» Senior cornerback Moses Jenkins (hyperextended elbow) – maybe vs. Georgia
» Redshirt sophomore left tackle Matt Patchan (broken wrist) – maybe vs. Georgia
» Sophomore linebacker Dee Finley (fractured collarbone) – out “a few weeks”
» Freshman WR Chris Dunkley (hamstring) – 80 percent healthy
» Freshman WR Quinton Dunbar (hamstring – on his way back

DEBOSE PRAISE BEGINS

Just two weeks ago Meyer was sending some not-so-subtle hints that redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose needed to step his game up in practice in order to see significant time on the field. But as Florida has struggled on offense and as Debose has made some athletic and dynamic plays (including a 88-yard kickoff return last week) in his limited game action, Meyer has begun to see him as a one of the Gators’ much-needed home run threats – especially while Demps is out of action.

“Debose keeps getting better and better,” he said Thursday. “He’s much bigger, stronger [than he was when he came in]. He’s a whole different player now. He still needs more, and strength. He’s a talented guy.”

Meyer added that some big plays must come from beyond the backfield in order for Florida to be successful in the near future. “[The threat will come] from the receivers and maybe some quarterback runs,” he said. “We’re real hamstrung right now. We just gotta get these guys healthy and get with it. […] Deonte Thompson has got to be a home run threat for us. And obviously Andre Debose.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 10/14: Florida Gators week seven practice notes

TWO BITS: Florida overrated, Andrews interview

1 » Ranking college football’s most overrated teams, FOX Sports listed the No. 22/22 Florida Gators at No. 1, noting offensive ineptitude while insulting how the team has been playing this season while comparing it to Air Force.

The Florida Gators have four wins over FBS unranked teams with a combined record of 11-12, a No. 96-ranked total offense, and are No. 22 in the AP poll. Air Force (5-1) has four wins over unranked FBS teams with a combined record of 8-15, the No. 21-ranked total offense in the country, and is ranked below Florida, at No. 23. True, the Gators have a good defense – ranked No. 37 in points allowed – but Air Force is ranked No. 25 in the same category. Perhaps what makes Florida such an obvious No. 1 on our list is simply watching them play. It’s actually painful.

2 » Taking a page out of OGGOA‘s playbook, AOL FanHouse‘s Brett McMurphy sat down with ESPN reporter and former Gators dazzler Erin Andrews for an in-depth interview about a wide variety of topics. Andrews was asked about the current Florida team and provided her opinion on how the Gators have looked this year.

It’s a transition year. (Tim) Tebow’s gone, Brandon Spikes is gone. Charlie Strong is gone. Dan Mullen is gone. I’m trying to say this so I don’t get in trouble because everything ends up on the internet … that’s a lot when you have the heart and soul of your offense, you have the heart and soul of your defense and your D-coordinator gone. That’s not just losing Tim Tebow as your quarterback. That’s losing a lot of people.

OGGOA Caption Contest Result: Evans/Trattou

We received 87 submissions for our second-ever ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive caption contest and a winner has been chosen to receive a FREE Turlington Scarf courtesy of the generous folks at Dunlop McCandless.

Reader Daryl H. sent in the winning entry which we felt was the most creative in utilizing all of the aspects of the picture. He is also one of a dozen of you who did not submit a form of “Run Forest, Run” or something referencing the bathroom.

Josh Evans to Justin Trattou: “Dude, Tebow is back and he’s signing footballs. Hurry up and get in line!”

OGGOA has given away Florida Gators DVDs, a Game Day purse, T Bow Towels, Gillette Pro Fusion razors and other goodies over the first 12 months of our existence; there are a number of other giveaways coming up in the near future, so stay tuned!

Thank you to everyone who participated!

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2010-11 Florida Media Day: Players speak, too

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan and a number of players represented the team at the 2010-11 Florida Media Day on Wednesday in Gainesville, FL. Read on for news and notes about the upcoming season, now from the players.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ON THEIR MINDS

Though Donovan is trying to keep egos in check, that does not mean he wants his team to lower their expectations for the year as a whole. In fact, if you ask senior forward Chandler Parsons and junior point guard Erving Walker, nothing less than a national title is unacceptable.

“They asked me today, ‘What’s your goal?’ I said, ‘National championship.’ I don’t expect anything less,” Parsons said. “We want to win the SEC Tournament championship. That’s our goal. We want to be the best possible team that we can be. If that’s us getting to the Final Four, if that’s winning the national championship, we just want to continue to work hard every day and improve. [...] I think we have what it takes. We’re experienced, we have good guards, we have size, a great coach. I don’t see why not.”

“We don’t really talk about it that much but everybody knows, a goal is everybody wants to compete in a national championship,” Walker added. “But we all know, and I know Chandler knows, it’s a process. We can’t just jump to that. I feel like we can get there. I’d be lying to you if I told you I didn’t. But I know we’re not there yet, there’s no need to jump to March when we’re in October. It’s definitely nice to hear [the talk].”

BOYNTON: THE SHOOTER

Sophomore shooting guard Kenny Boynton improved significantly toward the end of last season but an albatross around his neck all year was his poor shooting percentage. He made a concerted effort to work on that this offseason.

“Last year I never knew when it was going to go in, I was just shooting it,” Boynton said. “Now I know when it’s off and how long it’s going, and I think it’s just a better shot now. I feel like in workouts I’ve been knocking down my midrange shot a lot. That was definitely a big thing I wanted to work at.”

Boynton now releases the ball “more in front of my head”. He has seen an increase in control and accuracy.

“I learned that you gotta put a lot of work into this,” he said. “It’s not just going and taking shots. It’s watching film, it’s studying the guys that you’re playing against. It’s mentally going into the game and being prepared, knowing that it’s more than just basketball.”

Read the rest of this recap of the players’ media availabilities…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2010-11 Florida Media Day: Players speak, too

2010-11 Florida Media Day: Billy Donovan speaks

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan and a number of players represented the team at the 2010-11 Florida Media Day on Wednesday in Gainesville, FL. Read on for news and notes about the upcoming season, first from Donovan.

DEPTH MEANS LESS IS MORE

It was obvious listening to Donovan speak Wednesday that he is excited about his team going into the season. With just a handful of weeks to go before Florida plays its first meaningful game, it is the Gators’ depth that he thinks will be integral to the team’s success. And because the team is so deep, Donovan hopes it will also be molded into an unselfish group, similar to the teams that produced back-to-back National Championships for him in 2006 and 2007.

“Right now today we have depth. And when I say we have depth, we have bodies, we have numbers,” Donovan said. “Can [sophomore forward] Erik Murphy really carve out a role for himself? Can [senior F] Alex [Tyus]? Can our veteran guys? For us to be a better team, some of our veteran guys are gonna have to take less. And that’s what really made that 2006-2007 team special. Because you know what? [Joakim] Noah could’ve scored more points. [Al] Horford could’ve scored more points. [Corey] Brewer could’ve scored. They all could’ve scored more, but they understood that less was better for the team.

“We’re going to have to have some older guys understand that less is better for the team. It’s OK for them to have less provided that we can somehow find a way to utilize that depth. Who is going to emerge out of that younger group? Looking at it on paper, we have depth. But you don’t have depth if you don’t have guys that can get into a role.

“We had depth a couple years ago in our front court but none of those guys could emerge to take control of the role that was out there for them, and then we didn’t have depth. I’m hopeful these guys, just with their mentality and their attitude so far, will take that on and give us the depth that we think we have.”

TWO SENIORS STEPPING UP AS LEADERS

Florida brings back three seniors this year with Tyus, F Chandler Parsons and redshirt F/C Vernon Macklin all coming together to form as a solid frontcourt. However, Donovan expressed that it was Parsons and Macklin in particular who have really stepped up as leaders for this young team through the offseason.

“Verbally right now [Parsons] and Vern are doing a great job, but I think the verbal part only goes so far. When they get on the court their actions have got to back it up,” Donovan said. “Chandler and Vern in particular, those two guys, want kind of that responsibility. It’s good for both of those guys. Vernon probably in the beginning first half of the season was kinda feeling his way through and then he started to show signs of the reputation he had in high school. And then Chandler, coming off of his sophomore year, really felt like he had something to prove and kind of got through that a little bit.

“Both of those guys, to me, they’re in a little bit of a danger zone in the fact that they now gotta take that next step and not get complacent and get comfortable. They’re trying to do all the right things and I would say the best thing they’ve done is with some new faces in our program, they’ve really tried to incorporate the group and make it a team and they’re reaching out and doing some of that stuff. And up to this point in the time with Chandler and Vern I’ve been very, very happy with what they’re trying to do leadership-wise.”

Read the rest of this 3,000-word recap of Donovan’s presser…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2010-11 Florida Media Day: Billy Donovan speaks

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