Upsets rare in recent Florida-FSU series history

The Florida Gators will enter Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday afternoon looking to do something that has only been accomplished once in the last 11 years in their annual series with the in-state rival Florida State Seminoles.

Since 2003, the favorite and/or unanimously higher-ranked team entering the Florida-Florida State game has ultimately won the contest – in fact, it’s happened on 10-of-11 occasions – with the Gators being the only team to pull off an upset victory, which they did on the road in Tallahassee, Florida, in 2004.

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Gators DE Dante Fowler Jr. tweets that he will leave for the NFL, other juniors could follow

Updated on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

Florida Gators junior defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. announced Tuesday on Twitter that he will forgo his final season of college football and declare for the 2015 NFL Draft.

“I came in with champ. I’m leaving with Him,” Fowler wrote, referring to ousted Florida head coach Will Muschamp. “Simple as that.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Fowler met with the media and said that Muschamp would absolutely have an influence on his decision to leave school, though it appeared he meant that in more of an advisory role after the season.

“I’m going to approach that at the appropriate time. Definitely me and him are going to sit down and [he will] talk with me and my family,” Fowler said.

The Gators’ leader in sacks (4.5), tackles for loss (10.0) and quarterback hurries (15) this season, Fowler is also tied for second in total tackles with 49. He also has a team-high two forced fumbles.

Fowler flashed as a freshman and improved as a sophomore and was expected to have a breakout season in 2014, which came to fruition and led to this decision.

Continue Reading » Gators DE Dante Fowler Jr. tweets that he will leave for the NFL, other juniors could follow

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South Carolina fight back in The Swamp, defeats Florida 23-20 in overtime

Two blocked kicks – first on a field goal, then on a punt – kept the South Carolina Gamecocks (5-5, 3-5 SEC) alive, and a powerful running game allowed the visitors to pull out a 23-20 overtime victory over the Florida Gators (5-4, 4-4 SEC) on Saturday afternoon at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Florida spoke all week about its plans to “take back The Swamp,” and the Gators appeared to have the game well in hand until late, when after failing to gain a first down that would have run out the clock, UF had a punt blocked with 39 seconds remaining. USC rumbled into the end zone a couple plays later to force overtime and eventually outscored the home team 6-3 in the extra period to end the contest with a win.

The Gators dropped an overtime game for the first time in five tries and are now 4-3 all-time in such contests including 3-2 in The Swamp and 1-1 this season. UF is also now 22-7 against unranked opponentsa nd 13-5 against unranked Southeastern Conference teams under head coach Will Muschamp.

Muschamp falls to 1-3 against South Carolina and head coach Steve Spurrier, and his ability to keep his job is in serious question after another late meltdown cost UF another win at home.

Continue Reading » South Carolina fight back in The Swamp, defeats Florida 23-20 in overtime

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Florida-Vanderbilt post-game and Twitter Chatter: Gators take in a dominant road win

Looking to win consecutive league games for the first time in a year, the Florida Gators (5-3, 4-3 SEC) rolled into Nashville, Tennessee, and proved to be the dominant team from the third series onward, upending the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-7, 0-6 SEC) on Saturday night at Vanderbilt Stadium.

Muschamp met with the media after Florida’s 34-10 win to discuss his team’s latest victory. A number of former Gators also took to social media before, during and after the contest to provide there thoughts on the game.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is now 36-10-2 all-time against Vanderbilt; the series between UF and VU dates back to 1945 with games being played annually since 1992. The Gators are 17-7-1 when playing the Commodores in Nashville with 12-straight road wins since 1990.
» The Gators are now 22-6 against unranked opponents under Muschamp and 13-4 against unranked SEC teams during his tenure after losing to LSU and Missouri – at home – in consecutive weeks this season.
» UF is still just 5-10 since Oct. 6, 2013, sporting the worst win-loss record in the SEC during that period.
» The Gators are second nationally and first in the SEC in red zone scoring, converting 29-of-31 chances. However, only 62.1 percent of those scores are touchdowns (18).
» Florida is now +4 in turnover margin this season after being even entering the Vanderbilt game. The Gators are now +11 in their six wins and -7 in three losses. UF has a 23-4 record under Muschamp when winning the turnover battle in a game.
» Freshman quarterback Treon Harris averaged 16.5 yards per completion, third-most under Muschamp and the highest for Florida since Nov. 19, 2011 (vs. Furman).

Continue Reading » Florida-Vanderbilt post-game and Twitter Chatter: Gators take in a dominant road win

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Blue-collar Gators won Muschamp’s way: running

Though he will never purport to be an offensive-minded coach, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp has been consistent – from the day he was hired – in describing the type of team he wanted to have on both sides of the ball: blue-collar.

Muschamp has always favored a powerful, dominant running game that would succeed behind a powerful, dominant offensive line. Ideally, Florida would run play action off of its successful runs and take shots down the field when needed.

On Saturday, those shots were not needed, nor were any play action passes, nor was any passing in general. The Gators dominated on the ground to the tune of 418 rushing yards on 60 carries. Junior Matt Jones (192 yards) and sophomore Kelvin Taylor (197 yards) became the first UF teammates to each eclipse 120 rushing yards in the same game; the duo also combined for four touchdowns, two each.

“This is the kind of game that we envisioned when we came of the great camp that we had. We needed this game to kind of get us going with that 100-yard mark. We definitely feel good knowing that this was our first 100-yard game together,” explained Jones.

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While not perfect, a good-enough day for Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp

Every few moments while the clock was ticking down on Saturday, between hugs and smiles on the sideline, the expression on the face of Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp visibly changed. As excited he was to win his first Florida-Georgia rivalry game in eight tries (four as a Bulldogs player, four as the Gators’ coach), as revealed as he felt to not have to worry about his job status on Sunday, Muschamp knew deep down that something was missing from his team’s 38-20 victory.

“I’m just really happy,” he said in his post-game press conference. “I wish my father was here; that’s what I thought about late in the game.”

Larry Muschamp, who passed away in May, would have been proud of Will and his Florida football team on Saturday afternoon.

Continue Reading » While not perfect, a good-enough day for Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp

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The Silver Lining for Thursday, October 30, 2014: Gators confident, debunking Foley-Meyer myths

Yes, The Silver Lining is once again out on Thursday. It will return to its regular Wednesday afternoon slot…eventually.

Gators won’t stop believin’

This time last year, Florida was down in the dumps, sporting a 4-3 record after consecutive road losses to LSU (17-6) and Missouri (36-17). The Gators have one fewer win (due to the canceled Idaho game) but those same losses to the two groups of Tigers (30-27 and 42-13, respectively), despite the fact that UF was supposed to be improved in 2014 and played both of those contests at home.

Nevertheless, facing it’s last possible chance to salvage the season and somehow remain in the SEC East race, Florida is putting on a strong, confident face entering its rivalry game against the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs.

Numerous Gators expressed pure determination while meeting with the media this week. While they obviously chose not to guarantee a win against a program that has beat them three-straight years and proved to be the better team at the season’s halfway point, there were no heads down or shoulders slouched.

Here’s what a number of players had to say about the team’s current mindset…

Continue Reading » The Silver Lining for Thursday, October 30, 2014: Gators confident, debunking Foley-Meyer myths

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Gameday: Florida Gators at Tennessee Vols

Location: Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, Tennessee [Capacity: 102,455]
Weather: 55°F (feels like 52°F), mostly sunny, winds W at 10 mph
Time: 12:00 p.m. EDT

TV: SEC Network (Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer, Maria Taylor)

Streaming Video: SEC Network | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 93/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Butch Jones
Record: 2-1 (1-1 SEC) Record: 2-2 (0-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida EVEN | O/U 52

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you forgot to check out via the links below!

Notebook: Will Muschamp previews Tennessee, talks injuries and support
Notebook: Kurt Roper keeping Florida offense calm, focused
Story: With support, QB Jeff Driskel focused on improvement not criticism
The Silver Lining: QB Treon Harris not ready for prime time
Notebook: Muschamp, D.J. Durkin looking to fix Gators secondary
Friday Final: Florida confident, prepared for Tennessee

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