FOUR BITS: soccer, Florida-Georgia, Donovan

1 » The 2014-15 athletic season officially kicks off for the Florida Gators on Friday at 7 p.m. when the No. 8 Florida soccer team hosts the Miami Hurricanes at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Gators soccer will be kicking off its 20th season, all of which have been led by head coach Becky Burleigh. Florida returns all 11 starters from 2013 with sophomore forward Savannah Jordan looking to build on her incredible freshman campaign. UF shared the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championship with Texas A&M and has been voted as the preseason favorite to repeat. Florida has won 13 SEC regular-season titles including seven of the last eight dating back to 2006.

2 » The school will be holding its first-ever Rally in the Swamp student pep rally on Sunday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m., six days before the Gators kick off their 2014 season against the Idaho Vandals on Saturday, Aug. 30. The event will include “Florida cheerleaders and dazzlers, mascots, head coach Will Muschamp and members of the Gator[s] football team.” While there, “students will learn some of the great traditions” of the program, distribute student section t-shirts, win prizes and eat pizza. As OnlyGators.com first reported on Wednesday, there are approximately 2,000 student tickets still remaining out of the school’s allotment of 21,500. According to executive associate athletics director Mike Hill, Florida has sold out its student section every season during his 21-year tenure with the program.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: soccer, Florida-Georgia, Donovan

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TWO BITS: Florida-Georgia, Billy Donovan

1 » Though the Jacksonville Jaguars decided to let the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs choose whether to offer EverBank Field‘s new cabana seating for the annual World’s Largest Cocktail Party, the schools have turned down the opportunity both for 2014 and the foreseeable future. The 17 cabanas, which according to the Associated Press can seat a maximum of 640 people, take up the space of 7,000 seats that Florida and Georgia would otherwise be able to sell for the game. The athletic directors for both schools prefer to have temporary seating added in that space rather than waste the real estate. “Our No. 1 priority is to have the same number of tickets available to our fans and we don’t have an interest in any scenario that reduces the number of tickets,” Gators AD Jeremy Foley told the AP’s Mark Long. Jacksonville removed 9,500 seats as part of its new renovation but should still come close to its capacity of 84,000 for the game.

2 » ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman, after speaking with personnel throughout the NBA, listed Florida head coach Billy Donovan as the coach in the college ranks who best prepares his players to be professionals. “He runs a lot of pro stuff and integrates a lot of wrinkles,” a league executive told Goodman. “He has an innovative playbook. … He just gets it.” The rest of the 12-person list, in order: Ben Howland (unemployed), John Beilein (Michigan), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Bill Self (Kansas), Buzz Williams (Virginia Tech), Rick Pitino (Louisville), John Calipari (Kentucky), Sean Miller (Arizona), Tony Bennett (Virginia).

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Breaking down Florida’s blunders vs. Georgia

Outcomes of football games often swing based on a player’s action, coaching decision or officiating call, but the Florida Gators on Saturday seemed to waste more than the normal amount of opportunities before eventually falling 23-20 to the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL.

FIRST QUARTER

Opportunity: Establish momentum at the start of the game with a scoring drive.
Result: Georgia leads 7-0 after a seven-play, 75-yard drive that lasted 2:45

Breakdown: Florida won the coin toss, and head coach Will Muschamp deferred possession until the second half for the third-straight game. For the second consecutive game, UF’s opponent took that opportunity to march right down the field and score a touchdown. Though the Gators’ defense has played its worst at the start of games all season – and the team is just 8-7 under Muschamp when an opponent scores first – Florida still gave its opponent the chance to establish momentum rather than keeping that team’s strength off the field to start the game.

Opportunity: Negate UGA’s touchdown by answering immediately after reaching the red zone following an 83-yard completion from redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy to redshirt junior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar – UF’s longest offensive play since 2011.
Result: Florida does not score

Breakdown: Down at the Bulldogs’ 10-yard line, the Gators ran the ball, threw incomplete on a short pass and ran the option on 3rd-and-Goal from the 10 instead of at least trying to throw into the end zone. At the end of the failed option run, which only gained two yards, redshirt senior WR Solomon Patton picked up a personal foul that pushed Florida back to the Georgia 23. A more manageable 25-yard field goal became a 40-yard try that redshirt junior walk-on kicker Frankie Velez shanked right.

Continue Reading » Breaking down Florida’s blunders vs. Georgia

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Resilient Gators fall short against Bulldogs; Georgia wins third-straight over Florida 23-20

The Florida Gators nearly fought all the way back following their worst half of the season but fell just short of a come-from-behind victory on Saturday with the Georgia Bulldogs pulling off a 23-20 victory at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL.

Florida (4-4, 3-3 SEC) has now been defeated by Georgia (5-3, 4-2 SEC) in three-straight seasons for the first time since 1987-89. Gators head coach Will Muschamp fell to 0-7 all time in the Florida-Georgia series, losing thrice as a coach and four times as a former Bulldogs player.

After allowing Georgia to score the first 20 points of the game, Florida buckled down and outscored its rival 17-0 in the second half via a mixture of impressive defensive plays and effective offense. Unfortunately for UF, many mistakes were made in both halves and it was too much of a burden for it to overcome.

The Bulldogs bit the Gators early after Florida won the toss and deferred to the second half. Georgia put together a seven-play, 75-yard drive out of the gate including a 25-yard rush and five-yard touchdown run by running back Todd Gurley.

It looked like the Gators were primed to answer back immediately as redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy hit redshirt junior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar for a 83-yard reception on UF’s second play. However, Florida stalled and was pushed back on 3rd-and-Goal from the UGA eight after senior WR Solomon Patton committed a personal foul.

The Gators were forced to settle for a 40-yard field goal, but kicker Frankie Velez missed his attempt wide right.

Continue Reading » Resilient Gators fall short against Bulldogs; Georgia wins third-straight over Florida 23-20

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Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 82,000]
Weather: 73°F (feels like 73°F), mostly cloudy, winds NW at 9 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 4-2 (3-2 SEC) Record: 4-2 (3-2 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +3.5 | O/U: 47

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 missed via the links below!

Notebook: Will Muschamp previews Georgia, updates injuries, talks new starters | Notebook: Brent Pease talks changes to the offensive line and overall scheme | Notebook: LT D.J. Humphries out 2-4 weeks, Florida-Georgia updates | Notebook: Overcoming embarrassment, can Gators’ defense return to form? | Friday Final: Major changes for Florida heading into the game

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Georgia holds a 48-40-2 all-time advantage over Florida in the series between the two teams. The Bulldogs also lead 42-37-1 for games played in Jacksonville. The Gators, however, are 18-5 against their rivals since 1990 and have the best stretch in the series, going 15-2 from 1990-2006.
» UF and UGA are both coming off bye weeks after suffering SEC road losses.
» Neither Florida nor Georgia are ranked entering the game for just the second time since 1980.
» All three of the Gators’ losses are to ranked opponents, while the Bulldogs dropped a game two weeks ago 31-27 to unranked Vanderbilt.
» Muschamp is winless in the Florida-Georgia series as a player (0-4) and head coach (0-2). (He has beaten UGA as an assistant at other schools.)
» Muschamp is 5-6 against UF’s traditional rivals of Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami and Tennessee. Three of those victories have come against UT.
» Two weeks ago, the Gators fell to a top 25-ranked opponent for the fifth time in their last six opportunities dating back to Oct. 27, 2012.
» The Bulldogs have already defeated two top 25-ranked opponents this season.
» Florida is 15-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards (7-11 when rushing for fewer than 150 yards). The Gators are also 18-4 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 13-3 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 14-4 when scoring first (8-7 when an opponent scores first) and 18-1 when leading at the half (4-10 when tied or trailing at the break).
» UF has registered a nation-leading 104 interceptions since 2008. Florida is also first in interceptions returned for touchdowns (17) and interception return yards (1,830).
» The Gators have forced the most turnovers among SEC teams this century (362).
» Florida has at least one turnover in 18-straight games.
» Despite giving up 36 points and 500 yards two weeks ago, the Gators still lead the SEC in total defense (273.1 yards), yards allowed per play (4.64), passing defense (172.4 yards), passing efficiency defense (91.6) and third down conversion defense (.274). UF is also second in the league in scoring defense (16.3 points), rushing defense (100.7 yards) and first downs allowed per game (15.4).
» Florida averaged 393.4 yards of offense in each of its first five games but have racked up just 195.5 yards on average in its last two games.

Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

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10/27: Florida vs. Georgia post-game report

No. 2 Florida Gators football (7-1, 6-1 SEC) dropped a sloppy game 17-6 to the No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 SEC) at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL. Georgia is now in the driver’s seat to win the SEC East while Florida is looking to regroup and still make something out of the 2012 season. Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media and provided some of his thoughts after the game.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» The victory gave Georgia consecutive wins over Florida for the first time since the 1980s when the Bulldogs won three-straight over the Gators from 1987-89.
» Muschamp is now 0-6 all-time in the Florida-Georgia series, going 0-4 as a Bulldogs player and 0-2 as head coach of the Gators. He is the first UF head coach since Galen Hall to lose more than one game to UGA in his career.
» Florida lost for the first time this season when trailing at the half (3-1).
» The Gators are now 1-5 under Muschamp when rushing for fewer than 100 yards.
» Saturday was the first time in 2012 that UF was outscored in the second half (10-3).
» After starting the year +11 in turnover margin, Florida’s season-long number fell to +8 as the Gators coughed up six turnovers in the game, three more than the Bulldogs.
» Florida has registered at least one interception in seven-of-eight games and picked up three on Saturday alone. It is the second time this season that UF registered three interceptions in a single game.
» The Gators lost their third game under Muschamp when holding an opponent to under 21 points and are now 2-6 under Muschamp when being out-rushed by an opponent.
» Florida was held without a touchdown in a game for the first time since Oct. 15, 2011 (at Auburn) and for the first time against the Bulldogs since 1988.
» The Gators were more efficient on third down (7-of-16 vs. 1-of-10), held the ball longer (33:41-26:19) and passed for more yards (185-150) than the Bulldogs. Florida, however, was outrushed 81-123 and coughed up three more turnovers
» UF entered UGA’s red zone four times on Saturday but amassed just six points by kicking two field goals and giving up a pair of turnovers.

PLAYER NOTES

» Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis scored nine points on three field goals Saturday, making him one of three players in school history to register more than 300 career points. His 302 points are third behind Jeff Chandler (368) and Tim Tebow (342).
» Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel fumbled the ball thrice (lost two) and tossed two interceptions. He had only one interception on the season entering the game.
» Redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed tied a career-high with five receptions and set a career-best with 74 receiving yards, though his fumble late in the fourth quarter was a black eye on his performance.

OPENING STATEMENT

Below is what Muschamp had to say at the beginning of the post-game press conference marking his first loss since Nov. 26, 2011.

“I’ve said all season long that we’re not a team that has a lot of margin of error. Six turnovers leads to 10 points – critical plays in the game. You got to rise up and those opportunities you have, you got to make those plays. You got to give [Georgia] credit; they did and we didn’t. Six turnovers. Wow. That’s tough to overcome.

“The turnover before half, we got to get points in that situation. We had a hard time establishing some things in the run game, and they’ve got some good players defensively. We’re just not quite there explosive enough-wise offensively to overcome…or any team…six turnovers, at the end of the day. That’s the end of the game, in my opinion, six turnovers. We got, I think, two field goals off two interceptions. We just can’t turn the ball over like that. That’s unfortunate.

“I felt like we did a nice job on the last drive. Jeff made some really outstanding throws and plays and gave us an opportunity to win the game. No one play loses a game. Great effort on Jordan’s part trying to get the ball in the end zone. We just got to do a better job with ball security. That’s really it. Ball security’s it.”

Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say…after the break!
Continue Reading » 10/27: Florida vs. Georgia post-game report

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No. 10 Georgia outsts No. 2 Florida 17-9 in hard-hitting, turnover-filled rivalry game

With an opportunity to clinch the Southeastern Conference East division for the first time since 2009, the No. 2 Florida Gators put together their worst game of the season, turning the ball over six times and failing to score a single touchdown as the No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs outplayed them and completed a 17-9 upset victory.

Georgia (7-1, 5-1 SEC) now controls its SEC East destiny after taking down Florida (7-1, 6-1 SEC) in consecutive years for the first time since 1987-89. The Gators were held without a touchdown for the first time since Oct. 15, 2011 (at Auburn) and the first time against the Bulldogs since 1988.

Florida got off to a rough start on its first possession as sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel fumbled on the first play of the game when handing the ball off to senior running back Mike Gillislee. Driskel would recover his fumble but coughed the ball up again just two plays later, handing it over to Georgia on the 20-yard line. A pair of 10-yard gains resulted in a touchdown for Bulldogs freshman RB Todd Gurley and a 7-0 lead.

Things did not get any better for the Gators when they got the ball back as Florida converted a first down before turning it over on downs at the Georgia 36. Junior wide receiver Solomon Patton tried to convert a 4th-and-1 on a jet sweep but was taken down by his neck and seriously injured his arm on the play.

UF redshirt junior WR Andre Debose fumbled the ensuing punt return though redshirt senior WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. was able to recover it. The Gators then forced their first turnover of the game as redshirt sophomore linebacker Neiron Ball intercepted QB Aaron Murray but coughed the ball up again when Driskel fumbled three plays later.

With UGA on the nine-yard line and about to score, Florida senior safety Josh Evans intercepted Murray to begin UF’s best possession of the first half. The Gators used 15 plays to drive 70 yards and reduced their deficit to 7-3 after redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis connected on a 38-yard field goal.

Read the rest of this Florida-Georgia game story…after the break!
Continue Reading » No. 10 Georgia outsts No. 2 Florida 17-9 in hard-hitting, turnover-filled rivalry game

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Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators vs. No. 10 Georgia

Location: EverBank Field – Jacksonville, FL [Capacity: 84,000]
Weather Forecast: 75°F, few showers (30% precipitation), winds NNW at 20 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

Tickets: Starting at $98 on TiqIQ

TV: CBS/CBSHD (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper

No. 2 FLORIDA GATORS No. 10 GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Mark Richt
Record: 7-0 (6-0 SEC) Record: 6-1 (4-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -6.5, O/U 45

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on what has been going on with the Gators over the last week? No problem. OGGOA has been here the whole time posting a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam on Saturday.

Muschamp has managed expectations, set team intensity level | Florida running Boise State’s offense, SEC-style | No special approach for UF-UGA game says Muschamp | Dan Quinn talks defense

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Georgia leads Florida 47-40-2 in the all-time series and boasts a 42-38-2 advantage in neutral sites. The two teams have played annually since 1944 with the Gators holding a 36-31-1 advantage in those 68 games. UF is also 18-4 in the last 22 meetings with UGA and has not dropped consecutive games to the Bulldogs since 1987-89.
» Muschamp, who played college football for Georgia, will be facing his alma mater for the ninth time in his coaching career; he is 3-5 in the prior eight contests. He is also 0-5 all-time in the UF-UGA series as a player and head coach, going 0-4 as a player and losing his sole game as a head coach in 2011.
» Richt is 3-8 against Florida since taking over as head coach.
» The Gators can clinch the SEC East for the first time since 2009 with a victory on Saturday. The Bulldogs cannot clinch the division but can put themselves in a prime position to win it with a victory.
» The Okefenokee Oar is up for grabs on Saturday and has been a trophy awarded to the game’s victor since 2009. It was fashioned from a 1,000-year-old cypress tree and represents the Okefenokee Swamp, which separates the states and was once part of a border dispute. The Oar is awarded to the student body president of the winning university and is not presented on the field.
» Florida is one of two teams nationally (Notre Dame) with three victories over ranked opponents this season. UF is the only team in the country with a pair of top-10 wins and earned them in consecutive home victories for the first time in school history.
» The Gators are 11-1 against unranked opponents and 3-5 against ranked teams under Muschamp since he took over in 2011. Florida earned all three victories over ranked opponents this season, defeating Tennessee, LSU and South Carolina.
» UF has started the season 7-0 for the first time since 2009 and sixth time in history.
» Florida was 0-5 when trailing at the half in 2011 but have started the 2012 season 3-0 in that category with all three victories vs. SEC opponents (two ranked).
» The Gators are 9-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 1-4 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards. UF is also 11-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 9-3 when scoring first and 11-1 when leading at the half.
» Florida has scored on 25-of-27 red zone trips (92.6 percent) but have only converted 17 of those possessions (63 percent) into touchdowns.
» UF has converted 39-of-99 of its third-down attempts (39.3 percent) this season.
» The Gators have held their opponents to 29-of-106 on third down conversions (27.4 percent), which is good for fifth-best in the nation. UF was second nationally in third-down defense (27.3 percent) last season.
» Florida is averaging 34:07 in time of possession through seven games, a margin that ranks third nationally and just 25 seconds behind the country’s leader.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 121-28 in the second half and 61-13 in the fourth quarter. UF was the only team in the nation that had not allowed a fourth-quarter point until two weeks ago.
» Florida had a stretch of not allowing a touchdown in nine-straight quarters and is fourth in scoring defense nationally (12.14 points per game).
» The Gators are +11 in turnover margin through seven games after being -12 in 2011. UF has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (333) since 2000.
» Florida has grabbed eight interceptions so far in 2012 (three games with two each) and has already tied its 2011 total of eight picks. UF has registered at least one pick in six-of-seven games and has also forced seven fumbles.
» The Gators are third nationally in pass efficiency defense (90.60), seventh in total defense (282.0 yards per game) and 10th in rushing defense (97.29 yards per game).
» Florida has at least two kickoff returns for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons after never having more than one in a single season before 2010. UF has not yet registered a kick return (or punt return) in 2012.
» The Gators are first nationally in net punt average (44.24 yards per punt).
» Georgia has an even turnover margin this season (10 gained, 10 lost).
» The Bulldogs have scored on 23-of-27 red zone trips (85.2 percent) and have converted 21 of those possessions (77.8 percent) into touchdowns.
» Georgia leads the nation in plays of 20+ yards this season with 45.
» Richt is the fourth-winningest active head coach (minimum 100 games) having been victorious in 74.1 percent of his games with the Bulldogs. He is 8-of-21 (29.6 percent) against top 10 opponents.
» Georgia is ranked anywhere from 47th to 75th nationally in every major defensive category except pass defense, in which UGA is 28th in the country.
» The Bulldogs have allowed 40-of-110 third-down attempts to be converted this season (36.36 percent), which is 49th nationally, 44 spots behind the Gators.
» Georgia is 109th nationally in net punt average (33.82 yards per punt), 108 spots behind Florida in the same category.

Read the rest of the Florida-Georgia preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both sidelines.
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators vs. No. 10 Georgia

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