No. 4 Florida Gators chomp No. 10 Florida State as Mike Gillislee rumbles for two touchdowns

A 24-point fourth quarter for the No. 4 Florida Gators (11-1) turned around what looked to be an epic collapse and clinched a 37-26 win over the No. 10 Florida State Seminoles (10-2) at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL.

Florida senior running back Mike Gillislee led the way for the Gators offense, rumbling for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. That unit got plenty of support from the defense and special teams, which combined to recover five turnovers on the afternoon. Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis was also clutch for UF, making all three of his field goal attempts with a long of 45 yards.

Florida opened up the game throwing, completing two of its first three passes and tossing the ball eight times on a 14-play, 54-yard drive that lasted 5:47 and ended with a 39-yard field goal Sturgis. Florida State took the kickoff at the 35-yard line after Sturgis booted it out of bounds and got down to UF’s 27 in just two plays. However, a third-down interception thrown by FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel and caught by junior safety Matt Elam ended the possession without any points going on the board.

The Gators looked to be stalled at their own 34-yard line on their next drive, but a 31-yard scramble by sophomore QB Jeff Driskel extended the possession, which wound up going 62 total yards. Faced with 3rd-and-1 at the Seminoles’ 26, Driskel threw incomplete on a play action and junior running back Trey Burton missed brother and sophomore tight end Clay Burton on a muddle huddle play attempted on fourth down.

A few possessions later, Florida put together another long drive but stalled short of the end zone. The Gators converted two third-down tries but settled for a 45-yard field goal to take a 6-0 lead after gaining 54 yards in 10 plays.

Florida got another big play from its special teams on the ensuing kickoff as junior linebacker Darrin Kitchens forced a fumble that was recovered by sophomore defensive back Jabari Gorman at Florida State’s 21-yard line. Three plays later, Gillislee rumbled nine yards down the left sideline for a touchdown, giving UF a 13-0 lead with 5:26 left in the first half.

The Seminoles were able to hold on to the ball on the next kickoff, but Manuel threw his second interception of the game on the opening play from scrimmage, tossing a bullet right into the hands of redshirt junior Will LB Jelani Jenkins. The Gators would waste the possession by getting called for two penalties and suffering a big loss on third down.

Florida State finally made some offensive gains on its last possession of the first half as Manuel completed three passes and scrambled for 23 yards to put his team in field goal range. The Seminoles reduced its deficit to 13-3 at the half as K Dustin Hopkins knocked in a 50-yard field goal.

UF won the time of possession battle 21:58-8:02 in the first half and nearly doubled up FSU on offense but had a bigger advantage before the home team’s final possession as it sported a 192-53 advantage through the first 27:50 of the opening half.

Read the rest of the Florida-Florida State game story…after the break!
Continue Reading » No. 4 Florida Gators chomp No. 10 Florida State as Mike Gillislee rumbles for two touchdowns

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

11/20: Pease, Quinn talk UF’s preparations for FSU

With the team preparing for its final regular season game of the 2012 campaign, a road contest against the in-state rival No. 10 Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee, FL, No. 4 Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media Tuesday to discuss the upcoming game.

OFFENSE: WORK IN PROGRESS BY CIRCUMSTANCE, VANILLA ON PURPOSE

While Florida’s defense continues to improve with each passing week, the Gators’ offense seems to be regressing. Faced with a unit that is 104th in total offense and 79th in scoring offense (out of 120 FBS teams), Pease explained Tuesday that he understands the criticism but does not think that situation has been put in the proper perspective.

“I’ve got that side that I feel responsible at times. In the same sense, the bashing, so-called bashing…we are what we are right now. We tried to improve. Where we’re at, it’s still kind of a work in progress until we get everything totally in place,” he said.

“The kids have worked through it for a year. You hope you continually see some improvement. Experience has to go along with that. I don’t take the so-called critics part of it, because I think everybody has got to understand the circumstances around everything when things are new. I didn’t expect this thing to be a work of perfection or I would have come here for one year and left and that’s not my intention.”

Fans have especially become restless over the last few weeks as Florida has combined to score 50 points against Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State. In years past, the Gators would put up that total in each of those two games. Pease did not say outright that Florida has been purposely hiding things the last two weeks, though he did note that the team has been thoughtfully vanilla.

“When you go into the last few games, you hope you don’t have to use a whole lot because you feel the match-ups are probably in your favor. We didn’t show a lot the last game. We kept things pretty simple. I think that was our intention,” he said. “It worked out because of a new quarterback, because of what they were presenting to us defensively. We still had things in the game plan, but we didn’t get to a situation where we really had to use things that were quite exotic.”

Read the rest of this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » 11/20: Pease, Quinn talk UF’s preparations for FSU

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 69°F, mostly cloudy, winds ESE at 5 mph
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN2/ESPN2HD
SiriusXM: 219/199
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
Record: 6-5 (3-5) Record: 7-4 (5-3)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +3; O/U 45.5

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before week this week’s game? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m.

Story: Seniors can end Gators careers on high note
Story: Seniors talk about their careers, final home game

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Mid-week update

HISTORY and STREAKS
» Florida leads the all-time series against Florida State 33-20-2 and boasts a 20-8-1 record in games played in The Swamp. FSU ended UF’s six-game winning streak (the longest since 1981-96) with a 31-7 victory in 2010.
» The Gators have not lost at home to the Seminoles since 2003 and have not dropped consecutive games to their in-state rival since 2002-03.
» All five Florida’s losses this season have come to ranked opponents.
» Muschamp and Fisher were both coaches at LSU under Nick Saban from 2001-04. A number of assistants on each team have coaching relationships with one another from stints as players or coaches at Georgia, Auburn and LSU.
» UF is 5-0 when outrushing their opponent but 1-5 when being outrushed.
» The Gators are 6-1 this year when leading at the half but 0-4 when tied or trailing at the midway point in a ballgame.
» Florida became bowl eligible for the 21st season in a row with their victory over Furman last week. It is the longest streak in the SEC and second-longest in the nation.
» The Gators and Seminoles are tied for 118th (out of 120 teams) nationally in penalties, each committing 89 in 11 games. Florida has lost up 674 yards due to those miscues, while Florida State has given up 746 yards.
» UF’s offense has struggled as of late, and the Gators have had major problems putting the ball in the end zone. Florida has scored points in 32 of 44 quarters this season and touchdowns in only 24 of those quarters.
» The Gators have half as many upperclassmen (13 seniors, 12 juniors) as they do underclassmen (27 sophomores, 24 freshmen) seeing action this season. The roster is equally split with 19 seniors, 14 juniors, 33 sophomores and 33 freshmen.
» Florida is only converting 48 percent (16-of-33) of their red zone opportunities into touchdowns but has scored at least a field goal when the offense has a possession inside the 20-yard-line 88 percent of the time.
» The Gators’ defense is fourth in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 29.1 percent of those attempted to be successful. However, UF is 66th nationally in preventing fourth-down conversions, allowing a 52.2 percent success rate.
» Florida is No. 11 nationally and fifth in the SEC in total defense (318.2 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 25 nationally and fifth in the SEC in scoring defense (20.5 points per game).
» UF’s pass defense is allowing just 176.5 yards per game, good for fourth in the SEC and 11th nationally.
» Florida State is No. 7 nationally in total defense (282.8 yards per game) and scoring defense (15.9 points per game). The Seminoles are No. 30 nationally in pass defense, allowing 198.5 yards per game.
» The Gators’ defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (315) since 2000. UF also has the most interceptions in the nation (76) since 2008.
» Florida State leads Florida nationally in two of the three major offensive statistical categories this season. The Seminoles score more points 32.6-27.3 (31st-62nd) than the Gators and acquire more passing yards per game 275.2-195.6 (25th-87th), but UF outrushes FSU 152.2-126.1 (65th-86th) on average. The teams have not played a common opponent this season.

SENIOR DAY

The Gators’ 2011 senior class consists of 19 players who have either spent four or five seasons wearing the Orange and Blue. The true senior class heads into the game with a four-year record of 40-12 (22-5 in The Swamp) including four victories against Tennessee, three over Georgia and a 2-1 record against Florida State. It is 3-0 in bowl games including wins in the 2011 Outback Bowl (vs. Penn State), 2010 Sugar Bowl (vs. Cincinnati) and 2009 BCS National Championship (vs. Oklahoma).

* John Brantley – #12 – QB – Ocala, Fla. (redshirt)
* Jeff Demps – #28 – RB – Winter Garden, Fla.
* William Green – #96 – DE – Hoover, Ala.
* Jaye Howard – #6 – DT – Apopka, Fla. (redshirt)
* Moses Jenkins – #36 – CB – Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (redshirt)
* David Lerner – #40 – P – Gainesville, Fla.
* Chris Rainey – #1 – RB – Lakeland, Fla. (redshirt)
* Deonte Thompson – #6 – WR – Belle Glade, Fla. (redshirt)
* Dan Wenger – #56 – G – Coral Springs, Fla. (redshirt)
* James Wilson – #66 – G – St. Augustine, Fla. (redshirt)
————————————————————————
* Phillip Bellino – #38 – RB – Boca Raton, Fla.
* Brian Biada – #31 – CB – Naples, Fla.
* Zack Brust – #98 – K – Jacksonville, Fla.
* Cody Hampton – #50 – LS – St. Petersburg, Fla.
* Newton Lizima – #45 – DB – Plantation, Fla.
* Minch Minchin – #33 – LB – Gainesville, Fla.
* Solomon Schoonover – #29 – WR – Aventura, Fla.
* William Steinmann – #87 – TE – Daytona Beach, Fla.
* Jason Traylor – #34 – FB – Melbourne, Fla.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

» Probable/Questionable: Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey (ankle), redshirt senior guard/center Dan Wenger (ankle), redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed (ankle), redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray (shoulder), senior defensive end William Green (undisclosed)
» Inactive: Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee), freshman CB Marcus Roberson (neck)

LAST TIME OUT

Florida State ended its six-year losing streak to Florida by drubbing the Gators 31-7 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL. UF held an early 7-3 lead on FSU but was outscored 28-0 the rest of the way, allowing the No. 22 Seminoles to cap their regular season on a high note. Florida State wound up earning a spot in the ACC Championship game with the victory because Maryland defeated North Carolina the same day. Florida’s sole touchdown came on a 20-yard pass from John Brantley to Robert Clark early in the first quarter. Christian Ponder torched the Gators for 221 yards and three touchdowns through the air, though UF did hold FSU to just 2.7 yards per carry on the ground.

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (#12)…who has completed 58.9 percent of his passes (123-of-209) this season for 1,808 yards and 10 touchdowns but also threw three interceptions including one returned for a score. Brantley had missed 10 quarters of action after injuring his ankle against Alabama but returned with limited health and mobility against Georgia. He had a career-best game last week, throwing for 329 yards and four touchdowns against Furman. Brantley has thrown 114 passes without tossing an interception, the seventh-longest streak in school history (he also has the second-longest streak in UF history at 157 attempts without a pick).
» Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey (#1)…who has 1,093 yards of total offense this season with five touchdowns (including a punt block return). Rainey is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and 14.4 yards per reception and leads Florida in rushing this season. He became the first player in school history to have a rushing, receiving and return touchdown in the same game, achieved the school and SEC record for career punt blocks (five), and is the active leader in that category nationally. He also rushed for 100 yards or more in three-straight games, the first UF player to do so since Fred Taylor last accomplished that feat 14 years ago.
» Senior RB Jeff Demps (#2)…who is second on the Gators in carries (87) and rushing yards (547) this season but leads Florida in touchdowns scored (six). Injuries and poor run blocking have limited Demps’s effectiveness in 2011, but he continues to do whatever he can to help the team each week.
» Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose (#4)…who jumped to first on the Gators’ receiving list with a career-high 151 yards and two touchdowns last week against Furman. Debose had mirror image 65-yard touchdowns against Alabama and LSU earlier in the season. Fans have been waiting for Debose to emerge for some time, but his 423 receiving yards now lead the team. Additionally, his 28.2 yards per catch is the highest average in the SEC and second nationally.
» Redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed (#11)…who has vaulted up UF’s production chats with at least three receptions in four-straight weeks. Reed has also gone for 56 or more yards in three of the last four weeks and scored touchdowns against Georgia and Furman.
» Sophomore safety Matt Elam (#22)…who is the most valuable member of Florida’s secondary. He is second on the team in tackles (64) and at one point created turnovers in three-straight games (fumble-INT-INT). His 12 tackles against LSU a month ago marked a career high, and his 8.5 tackles for loss this season are a team-high.
» Defensive tackles sophomore Dominique Easley (#2) and redshirt senior Jaye Howard (#6)…who have solidified the interior of the Gators’ strongest unit. Howard is the team’s most experienced player on defense (28 starts), while Easley may be its most dynamic off the snap, with a first-step raved about by teammates and coaches alike. Howard and Easley have combined for 13.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.
» Linebackers junior Jon Bostic (#52) and redshirt sophomore will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (#3)…who are 1-3 on the team in tackles. Bostic (81) and Jenkins (60) have each excelled in different areas for Florida. The former has six tackles for a loss and three sacks while the latter has one sack, six pass breakups and a pick-six on the year.
» Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (#19)…who has returned for Florida after missing eight games one year ago with an injured back. He is 21-for-25 in field goal attempts on the season (long: 55) and is perfect with 27 extra points, leading the Gators with 90 points scored this season. Sturgis is second in the nation with 21 field goals made but tied for 14th in kicking points.

FLORIDA STATE
» QB E.J. Manuel (#3)…who has passed for 2,352 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. He has not thrown a pick since Oct. 29 and is completing 66.3 percent of his passes. Manuel can also make an impact on the ground and has rushed for 20 or more yards five times this season.
» RB Devonta Freeman (#8)…who is FSU’s leading rusher with 487 yards and six touchdowns on the year. He rushed for 100+ yards in consecutive games this year and at one point scored five touchdowns in four contests.
» WR Rashad Greene (#80)…who has more receptions (33) and yards (497) than any Florida player despite missing four games this season. He is complimented by WR Rodney Smith (#84), who has 511 receiving yards and four touchdowns of his own.
» LB Nigel Bradham (#13)…who leads the Seminoles defensively with 75 tackles (nine for loss), two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
» CB Greg Reid (#5)…who is also Florida State’s dynamic returner and can change a game on a dime.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tebow shines as Gators top ‘Noles on Senior Day

Senior quarterback Tim Tebow knew his farewell in The Swamp was going to be an emotional one. What he may not have known was that his sendoff would include a five-touchdown performance en route to a 37-10 No. 1 Florida Gators (12-0, 8-0 SEC) victory over the in-state rival Florida State Seminoles (6-6, 4-4 ACC). The win marked Florida’s sixth straight against Florida State, their 20th all-time in Gainesville, FL.

Tebow went 17-for-21 for 221 yards and three touchdowns through the air, also rushing 15 times for 90 yards and two TDs in front of a Ben Hill Griffin Stadium-record crowd of 90,907. His numbers moved him into sole possession of the Southeastern Conference and Florida records in total offense with 11,389 career yards. He, along with the 24 other seniors, won their 47th career game, extending their dominance as the winningest senior class in SEC history. The win was the Gators’ 22nd consecutive victory and 12th of the season, marking the first time that the Orange and Blue has posted a 12-0 regular season record.

Junior tight end Aaron Hernandez was Tebow’s favorite target on Saturday, registering five receptions for 83 yards and two TDs. His two scores came on pitches, one of which he took for 37 yards into the end zone. Hernandez then threw the ball into the stands, a common move by players who score in their final home game. Sophomore running back Jeff Demps shined in the backfield, totaling 106 yards on seven carries with a career-tying long of 62. Redshirt sophomore RB Chris Rainey was also impressive, earning 73 yards on eight carries with a long of 45. Tebow had a dynamic 47-yard run of his own, but fumbled the ball at the conclusion of the play, turning it over to Florida State.

The Gators took a 30-0 lead into the end of the third quarter, when Seminoles kicker Dustin Hopkins hit a 20-yard field goal to end the shutout. FSU also scored on a nine-yard pass from QB E.J. Manuel to wide receiver Jarmon Forston against Florida’s second-string defense with 6:03 left in the fourth. Aside from those scores, the Gators defense dominated the Seminoles. Senior linebacker Ryan Stamper and junior Brandon Hicks each registered seven tackles, though two of Hicks’ were for a loss. He also forced a fumble and had two sacks on the afternoon. Junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap had three tackles (one for a loss) and a sack, while junior cornerback Joe Haden and freshman Adrian Bushell each nabbed an interception.

Florida will take on the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0, 8-0 SEC) in the 2009 SEC Championship on Saturday at 4 p.m. from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.

Senior Day Celebration: Watch

Urban Meyer Postgame Press Conference: Watch

Tim Tebow Postgame Press Conference: Watch

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SIX BITS: Injury update, crowd noise, practice, Nelson honored, no Miami, Watkins signed

Senior quarterback Tim Tebow on his final home game »

1 » While speaking with the media on Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer updated the statuses of some of his injured players. Redshirt junior linebacker A.J. Jones, who sprained his MCL Saturday against the Florida International Golden Panthers, is officially out for the Florida State Seminoles game and will also miss the SEC Championship in two weeks. Junior Brandon Hicks will start in his place. Redshirt junior transfer running back Emmanuel Moody (ankle) is questionable while senior defensive end Jermaine Cunningham (shoulder) and redshirt junior defensive tackle Terron Sanders (rib) are probable.

2 » In order to get ready for the extreme volumes produced by the crowd in The Swamp, FSU coaches piped noise into Doak Campell Stadium during practice on Tuesday. Redshirt freshman quarterback E.J. Manuel, who is starting in place of the injured Christian Ponder, benefited from the move, which should allow him to feel slightly more comfortable on Saturday. “It’s something you have to learn,” head coach Bobby Bowden said. “He’s had experience playing away from home at Wake Forest with about 40,000 people, and he’s played here in front of our crowd. Now he’s going to play down there, where it’s probably as loud a noise as he’s ever heard.”

3 » Due to inclement weather in the Gainesville, FL, area, the football team has had its practice schedule shifted around. This should not be much of an issue overall, though anything that could possibly take a team out of rhythm should be noted. However, with this veteran group, an issue like this should be minor.

Three more BITS on David Nelson, the ‘Canes and Jason Watkins after the jump…
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Injury update, crowd noise, practice, Nelson honored, no Miami, Watkins signed

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,