Fastbreak: No. 1 Florida cruises past LSU 79-61

After being involved in three-straight nail-biters – two away from home – the No. 1 Florida Gators (27-2, 16-0 SEC) were able to take a breath and cruise to a wire-to-wire 79-61 victory on Saturday afternoon, taking down the LSU Tigers (17-11, 8-8 SEC) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Florida clinched the outright 2014 SEC regular-season title with Kentucky’s loss on Thursday but celebrated in style Saturday as it extended its school-record winning streak to 21 games and continued a number of other program-best marks including winning 16 SEC games in a single season.

OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: With under 12 minutes left in the game, Florida senior forward Will Yeguete found senior F Casey Prather cutting to the hoop for an impressive one-handed jam. Less than one minute later, Prather had another impressive finish when he corralled a left-handed alley-oop pass from senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin on the fastbreak for a highlight layup. The Gators increased their lead to 24 points with the basket making it near-impossible for the Tigers to fight back over the duration of the contest. Wilbekin scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep, dished four assists and registered two steals. Yeguete had four points and five boards.

Prominent players: Neither player led UF in scoring on Saturday, but Prather and sophomore guard Michael Frazier II each took over the game in a half to help Florida to victory. Frazier went 4-for-6 from downtown in the first half to spot the Gators an early double-digit lead; he only scored once in the second half, finishing with 14 points and four boards, but was undoubtedly his team’s catalyst. Prather wrapped things up nicely for UF in the latter 20 minutes, finishing 6-for-7 for 14 points with a steal and a block.

Significant stretches: Florida achieved an 18-point lead with four minutes left until the break with a trio of long runs in the first-half. The Gators opened up the game 8-0, compiled an 8-2 stretch midway through the period and used an 11-0 run including three-straight bombs from downtown – two from Frazier – to jump way ahead of the Tigers in the early going. UF’s lead did not dip below 13 points for the remainder of the contest and eventually stretched to as high as 27 points with 6:14 left in the game.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: No. 1 Florida cruises past LSU 79-61

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Gameday: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. LSU Tigers

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery)
SiriusXM: 113/200 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(1) FLORIDA GATORS LSU TIGERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Johnny Jones
Record: 26-2 (15-0 SEC) Record: 17-10 (8-7 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -11.5 | O/U: 137.5

HISTORY, STATS AND STREAKS

» The Gators won the outright 2014 SEC regular-season title and clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the SEC Tournament on Thursday after Kentucky lost and gave UF a four-game lead in the league standings with three contests left to play.
» LSU leads Florida 42-60 in the all-time series between the two programs with the Gators holding a 13-8 edge over the Tigers under Donovan. UF is 26-19 all-time at home against LSU (5-3 under Donovan) and has won five-straight games against their league rivals.
» The Gators enter Saturday’s game on a program-record 20-game winning streak and at 15-0 have set a UF mark for most conference wins in a single season. Its 26 wins are also the most the Gators have captured in a single season.
» Florida is also on two school-record home winning streaks – 30-straight overall and 15-in-a-row against league opponents.
» The Gators at 26-2 (15-0 SEC) have set a program mark for best overall start to a season. UF has also won 25 of its last 26 games.
» Florida has won eight-straight SEC road games, also a program record.
» The Gators are 77-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF is 13-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. Florida is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» The Gators are 10-2 in true road games this season with both losses coming against ranked opponents during the first month of the season. UF lost those contests by a combined seven points.
» March 1 is the latest in a season that Florida has been ranked No. 1 nationally.
» The Gators’ senior class is the first in school history to win three SEC championships.

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2/28: Florida Gators ready for final SEC stretch

No. 1 Florida Gators basketball (26-2, 15-0 SEC) concluded its stretch of playing four road contests in a five-game span last week and returns home Saturday to host the LSU Tigers (17-10, 8-7 SEC) at 4 p.m. on CBS. Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Friday to discuss the game ahead as well as winning the outright regular-season 2014 SEC Championship on Thursday evening.

THEY ARE THE CHAMPIONS

The Gators were able to clinch the 2014 SEC regular-season title without even stepping foot on the court Thursday night thanks to Kentucky dropping its fourth league game of the season with only three contests remaining. As per usual, Donovan was happy to praise his team for winning the title but cautioned that it was not the ultimate goal this season.

“The league is not over. We still have three games remaining,” he said. “I think our guys certainly set out to compete for an SEC championship in early January but at the same point, the season’s not over. We’ve got three games left to be played.

“Our guys have done a good job up to this point in time of staying focused and going through the process of getting prepared for each game and I don’t think this game is any different for us in terms of you want to continue playing well. The season’s not going to be over with. In a week or maybe a little bit longer the SEC Tournament will start, the postseason will start, so this is something where we’re playing against some good teams and we have an opportunity to keep moving in that direction. I still think there is a lot out there in front of our team.”

INJURY UPDATES

Donovan confirmed Florida’s Thursday announcement that freshman point guard Kasey Hill, who missed three-straight games with a groin injury, practiced in full that day and has been cleared to play on Saturday against LSU.

Continue Reading » 2/28: Florida Gators ready for final SEC stretch

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Gators out of top 25 polls for first time since 2011

The eighth regular season editions of the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and Associated Press Top 25, along with the first edition of the BCS standings for the 2013 season, were released on Sunday with the Florida Gators nowhere to be found for the first time since the conclusion of the 2011 campaign.

Florida (4-3, 3-2 SEC) was knocked out of the rankings after being defeated for the second time in as many weeks and falling 36-17 to the Missouri Tigers, which moved up to No. 7 in the USA Today poll and No. 5 in the AP top 25 before being listed No. 5 in the BCS on Sunday night.

The Gators’ other two losses this season also came to ranked opponents. The Miami Hurricanes are listed at No. 7 in the BCS, No. 6 by USA today and No. 7 by the AP, and the LSU Tigers checked in at No. 13 in all three rankings.

The Alabama Crimson Tide remain the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation.

WeekResultBCSUSA TodayAssociated Press
Preseason--No. 10 (930)No. 10 (894)
2W 24-6 vs. Toledo-No. 9 (974)No. 12 (875)
3L 16-21 at Miami-No. 20 (410)No. 18 (405)
4Open-No. 18 (398)No. 19 (412)
5W 31-17 vs. Tennessee-No. 19 (449)No. 20 (414)
6W 24-7 at Kentucky-No. 19 (515)No. 18 (481)
7W 30-10 vs. Arkansas-No. 17 (574)No. 17 (536)
8L 6-17 at LSU-No. 22 (240)No. 22 (249)
9L 17-36 at Missouri-NR (4)NR (17)

UF’s 2013 opponents in italics.

BCS STANDINGS
This Week 1-5: Alabama, Florida State, Oregon, Ohio State, Missouri
6-10: Stanford, Miami, Baylor, Clemson, Texas Tech
11-15: Auburn, UCLA, LSU, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma
16-20: Texas A&M, Fresno State, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Louisville
21-25: South Carolina, Michigan, UCF, Nebraska, Oregon State

Check out the rest of the polls after the break!
Continue Reading » Gators out of top 25 polls for first time since 2011

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Snell’s Slant: Gators got destroyed in the trenches

A three-year starter for the Florida Gators who played under Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, former guard Shannon Snell joined OnlyGators.com in 2012 as a football columnist to provide his unique perspective on the team. He has returned to continue sharing his musings through the 2013 season. Snell, who played in 46 games over four seasons and started 36 of those contests, was named a First Team All-American by Sporting News in 2003 and spent two seasons in the NFL.

The final result of Saturday’s Florida-LSU game, on a personal note, was one of the most disappointing I have experienced since my freshman year with the Gators. It was not the fact that Florida lost yet another game to a highly ranked opponent that disappointed me but rather how the Gators dropped that contest.

As a former offensive lineman, I can be and have been exceptionally critical of UF’s offensive and defensive lines. Anyone that reads these columns or follows me on Twitter knows I am quite opinionated about players along the line of scrimmage.

Simply put, Florida was destroyed in the trenches on Saturday.

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10/14: Muschamp recaps Florida’s loss, updates Powell, Taylor, changes at kicker and punter

No. 22/22 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss Saturday’s 17-6 defeat at the hands of the No. 6/8 LSU Tigers and his team’s upcoming road contest against the No. 14/14 Missouri Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 19. The contest will kick off at 12:21 p.m. and air live on SEC Network affiliates.

OPENING STATEMENT

“We got beat on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Any time that happens, it makes it difficult to win football games. Didn’t run it consistently enough. … Against a defense like that, you got to be balanced. You can’t get in situations that are obvious passing situations. … We got to improve in the run game. Obviously protection was not as good as we’ve been. We gave up four sacks and that falls on the offensive line, the running backs, tight ends, the quarterback. As far as the protection is concerned, too many negative plays offensively. We got to create more explosives on the road in that situation to create more positive momentum for our football team. We had them against Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, had 11 against Miami and didn’t take care of the football. But we’ve got to create more explosive plays offensively both running and throwing the ball.

“Defensively, we lost it on the line of scrimmage. When you get behind the down and distance against a team like that, especially on first and 10, it becomes difficult to call the game from the standpoint of they’re able to create balance eon you running and throwing it. … Overall, I thought our effort was good. Physicality was just not what it needs to be.”

(OTHER) INJURY UPDATES

In addition to the season-ending torn meniscus suffered by sophomore running back Matt Jones, Muschamp announced Monday that redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell injured his ankle during the game. Though he did provide specifics on the injury, it appears that Powell sprained his ankle.

Muschamp said the Gators will know more about his status for Saturday at in the “next 72 hours” depending on how much the swelling goes down. “I hope to get him back on Wednesday,” he added.

Continue Reading » 10/14: Muschamp recaps Florida’s loss, updates Powell, Taylor, changes at kicker and punter

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Gators RB Matt Jones out for the season

Florida Gators sophomore running back Matt Jones was officially ruled out for the remainder of the 2013 season on Monday after tearing his meniscus early in the first half of his team’s 17-6 loss to the LSU Tigers on Saturday afternoon.

“Very disappointed that Matt Jones will be out for the season. He’s having surgery as we speak,” head coach Will Muschamp announced during his weekly press conference on Monday. “We thought it was a sprain in the knee. Turns out it was a torn meniscus. He definitely will be out.”

Muschamp said after Saturday’s game that trainers did not think the injury to Jones’s left knee was serious but would evaluate it further after returning to Gainesville, FL.

“Very unfortunate. I hate it for Matt,” he added. “He’s a great young man. And to go through what he’s been through this fall, missing most of fall camp, working his way back in shape, starting to feel good about himself as far as how he felt physically, mentally. And then to have this setback is just disheartening for all of us.”

Jones sat out nearly all of fall camp while recovering from a serious viral infection and missed the first game of the season against Toledo as a precaution.

He returned at Miami but struggled in his first action back, fumbling the ball and picking up just 47 yards on 18 carries.

Jones finally broke out three weeks later at Kentucky, taking a career-high 28 touches for a career-high 176 yards while scoring a touchdown for the second-straight week.

He totaled 339 yards and two touchdowns in just over four full games.

Redshirt junior Mack Brown will step in for Jones as Florida’s primary running back. As the starter against Toledo, Brown had a career game by rushing for 112 yards and two touchdowns on 25 touches.

He is averaging 3.7 yards per carry in 2013.

Freshman Kelvin Taylor will also see his workload increase. He is averaging 6.1 yards per carry this season and was second on the Gators with 52 yards on Saturday at LSU.

Jones is the fifth starter Florida has lost for the season joining junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley, redshirt junior right tackle Chaz Green and redshirt senior kick returner Andre Debose on the mend.

A surgically-repaired torn meniscus usually requires at least two months of recovery before rehabilitation. The Gators did not provide a specific timetable for Jones but should have one after the surgery is completed.

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10/12: Florida at LSU post-game report

The No. 17/17 Florida Gators (4-2, 3-1 SEC) got manhandled by the more physical No. 10/11 LSU Tigers (6-1, 3-1 SEC), falling 17-6 on the road at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, FL. After the tough loss, Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media to provide some of his thoughts on his team and its defeat.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» LSU improved to 4-1 against Florida at Tiger Stadium since Les Miles took over the program and is now 15-16 at home all-time against UF
» The Gators are 1-4 in their last five games against ranked opponents, beating Florida State in 2012 but falling to Georgia, Louisville, Miami and LSU all since Oct. 27, 2012.
» Florida fell to 7-10 under Muschamp when rushing for fewer than 150 yards and 4-9 when tied or trailing at the half.
» The Tigers posted 327 yards of offense against the Gators’ top-ranked defense, the most UF has allowed in a single game yet in 2013. LSU was held to fewer than 400 yards and less than 30 points, both for the first time this season.
» Florida has held 13-straight SEC opponents under 20 points.
» The Gators have forced at least one turnover in 17-straight games.
» Florida failed to score a touchdown in an entire game for the first time since falling 17-9 to Georgia on Oct. 27, 2012.
» UF once again won the time of possession battle (34:11-25:49) and have done so in all six games this season.
» The Gators did not sack the opposing quarterback once, the first time that has happened in 2013.
» Florida committed at least eight penalties in a game for the fourth time this season. It’s also the fourth time the Gators lost 70+ yards in a game due to penalties. Two of those four contests ended as losses.
» UF was held to 2.8 yards per carry and under 150 team rushing yards for the second-straight game and third time overall this season (two losses).
» The Gators have not turned the ball over in back-to-back games.

» Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor registered career-highs of 10 carries and 52 rushing yards. He was a breath of fresh air in the Gators’ backfield but also missed a key block late in the game that resulted in a sack.
» Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy completed just 55.6 percent of his passes, registered 115 passing yards and a QB rating of 91.3, all career lows. He also rushed for -13 yards (due to sacks), another career low mark. Murphy succeeded on a pooch punt attempt, booting the ball 36 yards and pinning LSU at its own one-yard line.
» Redshirt junior walk-on kicker Frankie Valez handled field goals for Florida on Saturday. He went 2-for-2, making the first two attempts of his career. His long of 44 was also a season-long for UF.
» Junior punter Kyle Christy struggled mightily in his primary role but completed a 14-yard pass to redshirt junior linebacker Neiron Ball on a fake punt. It was the first pass of his career and Ball’s first reception.
» The Gators did not register a sack on the evening, but Florida’s offensive line and allowed Murphy to be taken down four times and hurried on five more occasions.
» Redshirt junior nose tackle Leon Orr recovered the first fumble of his career.

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