Saturday’s huge 14-6 win over the No. 4/3 LSU Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was a signature moment in Will Muschamp’s short career as head coach of the No. 10/11 Florida Gators. Courtesy of GatorVision, Florida’s multimedia outfit, check out the video below which includes the Gators’ raucous celebration after the game.
Saturday in The Swamp was a coming out party for the No. 10/11 Florida Gators (5-0, 4-0 SEC), which earned the team’s biggest win under head coach Will Muschamp to date with a 14-6 come-from-behind victory over the No. 4/3 LSU Tigers (5-1, 1-1 SEC) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.
Senior running back Mike Gillislee was nearly the entire offensive attack for the Gators as he carried the ball a career-high 34 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns, most of which occurred in the second half of the game.
Florida’s victory over LSU is the team’s first at home against a ranked opponent since 2008. The Gators are now 3-0 when trailing at the half in 2012 and have started the season 5-0 for the first time since 2009. UF is 8-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and continued their dominance in the second half, holding LSU scoreless over the final 30 minutes of the game.
Despite each team being flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct personal foul on the opening drive, LSU was successful in marching down the field on Florida right out of the gate. The Tigers moved 64 yards in 10 plays but were stalled inside the red zone and settled for a 31-yard field goal just minutes into the first quarter.
A pair of big punts by Gators sophomore Kyle Christy kept the visitors at bay as Florida struggled to get anything going offensively even though the team started near midfield on consecutive possessions.
With LSU backed up once again, UF junior cornerback Jaylen Watkins intercepted quarterback Zach Mettenberger and handed his offense the ball at the 38-yard line. The Gators were unable to capitalize on the field position, however, as Florida’s offensive line was exposed and sophomore QB Jeff Driskel was sacked on consecutive snaps.
The Gators began making some progress one possession later with a seven-play, 49-yard drive, but it was halted when redshirt senior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. fumbled the ball away on 2nd-and-10 at the Tigers’ 22-yard line.
After another defensive stand, Florida wasted little time turning the ball back over to LSU. Driskel was sacked for an 11-yard loss and fumbled the ball, which the Tigers recovered at the Gators’ seven-yard line. UF was able to hold strong, however, and forced LSU to kick another field goal and take a 6-0 lead into the half.
Read the rest of the Florida-LSU game story…after the break!
Continue Reading » Mike Gillislee, Florida Gators run over LSU 14-6
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 85°F, scattererd T-storms (45% chance of rain), WNW at 4 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT
Tickets: Starting at $58 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
|(10/11) FLORIDA GATORS||(4/3) LSU TIGERS|
|Head Coach: Will Muschamp||Head Coach: Les Miles|
|Record: 4-0 (3-0 SEC)||Record: 5-0 (1-0 SEC)|
|Conference: Southeastern||Conference: Southeastern|
|Roster | Schedule||Roster | Schedule|
Odds: Florida +2.5, O/U 42
Need to catch up on what happened with the Gators over the last two weeks? 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.
HISTORY / STREAKS
» Florida leads LSU 30-25-3 in the all-time series between the two teams and holds a 14-11-3 advantage in Gainesville. The teams have squared off every year since 1971. The Tigers have won consecutive games in the series but have split the last 12 contests with the Gators 6-6 dating back to 2000. UF is the last team to have won more than two-straight games in the series, capturing four contests in a row from 1998-2001.
» It is just the fourth time in the series that Florida and LSU enter the game both ranked in the top 10. It is just the fifth time that the Gators and Tigers are both undefeated when going head-to-head on the gridiron.
» Florida is 10-1 against unranked opponents and 1-5 against ranked teams since Muschamp took over the program in 2011.
» Muschamp spent four years at LSU as an assistant coach under Nick Saban. He is 1-2 all-time as a coach against the Tigers (0-1 at UF, 1-1 at Auburn).
» Since 1990, the Gators are 28-9 overall and 8-2 in The Swamp when playing a game after being afforded a bye week.
» Florida has started the season 4-0 for the fourth-straight year but is looking to improve to 5-0 for the first time since the 2009 season. LSU is 5-0 for the fourth year in a row.
» The Gators have not defeated a ranked opponent at home since Nov. 15, 2008.
» Florida has not defeated an SEC West team in Gainesville since Oct. 17, 2009. LSU has won seven-straight games against SEC East opponents overall with its last loss coming to UF in 2009.
» The Gators were 0-5 when trailing at the half in 2011 but has started the 2012 season 2-0 in that category with both victories coming against league opponents.
» Florida is 7-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 0-4 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards. The Gators are also 8-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points and 8-3 when scoring first.
» UF has scored in all but one quarter (15-of-16) so far in 2012.
» The Gators have scored on 13-of-14 red zone trips (92.9 percent) but have only converted 8-of-14 possessions (57.1 percent) into touchdowns.
» Florida has converted just 23-of-58 third-down attempts (39.7 percent) this season.
» The Gators have held their opponents to 18-of-62 on third down (29.0 percent); UF was second nationally in third-down defense (27.3 percent) last season.
» 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.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 64-13 in the second half and 34-0 in the fourth quarter through four games this season. UF is the only team in the SEC to not allow a fourth-quarter point to be scored.
» Florida is out-possessing opponents by an average of 9:34 through four games, a margin that ranks eighth nationally.
» The Gators are +5 in turnover margin through four games after being -12 in 2011. UF has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (325) since 2000, while LSU has forced the second-most turnovers (316) in that span of time.
» Florida has grabbed six interceptions so far in 2012 (three games with two each) and is already closing in on its 2011 total of eight picks.
» The Tigers are riding an 18-game regular season winning streak into The Swamp on Saturday. It is the longest such streak in the nation.
» LSU will play its 20th straight game as a top-five ranked team.
» The Tigers are ranked in the top 10 nationally in rush defense (ninth), total defense (fourth), scoring defense (ninth) and pass defense (sixth).
» A total of 20 players on LSU’s roster have recorded an impact defensive play (sack, tackle for loss, interception, forced/recovered fumble).
» The Tigers under Miles are 12-10 vs. top 10 opponents and 4-3 against the Gators.
LAST TIME OUT
After dropping a heartbreaker at home to LSU in 2010, Florida entered Tiger Stadium looking for some revenge against their annual SEC West rivals. Instead the Gators were dished a harsh dose of reality by the Tigers, which outscored them 14-0 in the first quarter, led 24-3 at the half and went on to wipe out the visitors 41-11 in Baton Rouge, LA. Florida was forced to start freshman Jacoby Brissett at quarterback for the second-straight game, and he was held to just 94 yards passing, which included a 65-yard touchdown throw. LSU outgained UF 253-124 on the ground, and the Tigers’ defense dominated the Gators’ offense, registering four tackles for loss (one sack), a forced fumble and two interceptions.
Read the rest of the Florida-LSU preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both sides of the field.
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 10/11 Florida vs. No. 4/3 LSU
No. 10/11 Florida Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media on Wednesday to discuss a number of topics concerning his unit including its personnel as well as how it is preparing for Saturday’s game against the No. 4/3 LSU Tigers.
IT CAN ALWAYS GET BETTER
Florida may be rolling into Saturday’s showdown ranked No. 17 nationally in total defense (305.00 yards per game) and No. 10 in scoring defense (12.75 points per game), but the team is bested by LSU in both categories (fourth at 217.80 YPG and ninth at 12.60 points per game, respectively).
As far as Quinn is concerned, the Gators have plenty of room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball. And on Wednesday he detailed the areas in which he thinks the unit can improve.
“From a coverage standpoint, I think there’s been some good matchups in terms of how the guys are playing routes and that way. From a communications standpoint on the back end, we would like to still see that improve where you play some no-huddle teams that move fast and that type of thing,” he explained. “In the run game, I’d like to see that area squared up at the line of scrimmage where we just didn’t maybe fit a run exactly like we needed to. And then the final phase for our area of improvement is getting the ball back.”
Florida’s 1.25 turnover margin (seven gained, two lost) is 18th best nationally. UF being able to take the ball away from LSU, which has coughed up the ball eight times already this season, could go a long way in helping fuel the upset.
THUMBS UP AT LINEBACKER
As head coach Will Muschamp announced during the weekly SEC teleconference on Wednesday, redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins returned to practice and has been cleared for game action on Saturday. Quinn said that Jenkins is already relatively comfortable with the cast he is wearing on his thumb (some of his other fingers are free) and is once again bringing experience and talent to the defense.
“I think the more they have it on, you kind of get used to it. It might be harder the first time you go out and practice. I think he would absolutely take it over not playing, so it’s good to have him back,” he said. “Through practice this week I’ve been pleased with what we’ve seen from him.”
Jenkins returning to the lineup means that linebackers redshirt sophomore Michael Taylor and freshman Antonio Morrison will see fewer reps than they have been used to over the last two-plus games. Quinn is still confident that they will be able to contribute plenty this week.
“With the other guys who backed him up, I really have a lot of trust in those guys, in Mike an Antonio. In that way, no differentiation for us with whose in the game,” he said. “I think what Jelani adds in experience and playmaking ability, he adds value for us and we certainly need to get him in there. But we’ll certainly still play Mike and Antonio in the ball game.”
STEPPING UP AT THE RIGHT TIME
Redshirt senior defensive tackle Omar Hunter claimed on Tuesday that winning SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week following the Kentucky game was not a big deal for him. However, the award was indicative of the vast improvement he has made this season, going from underperforming reserve to the fourth-leading tackler on the team. Quinn said Wednesday that Hunter’s improved strength and pop off the ball has made a major difference this season.
“His practice preparation leading up into Kentucky, into the bye week and going into LSU week – he’s been really practicing well. His pad level, his hand placement, all the things you’re looking for in a defensive tackle he’s been doing in practice. And that’s why, for him, it’s carried over into the game,” he noted.
No. 10/11 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp made an appearance Wednesday during the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference and touched on a number of topics surrounding his team and its upcoming game against the No. 4/3 LSU Tigers on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. live on CBS.
VETERAN LINEBACKER RETURNS
After sitting out two games and three total weeks with a broken thumb he suffered in the first quarter against Texas A&M during the second week of the season, redshirt junior linebacker Jelani Jenkins has been cleared to play on Saturday.
“I feel very comfortable that he’ll be able to go and how much will sort of depend as we progress from here to Saturday,’’ Muschamp said. “We’ll still determine that through the week, but he’ll be able to play in all situations. We wouldn’t necessarily limit it right now in my eyes as we move forward. If he can play, he can play. That means he can play on 1st-and-10 and he can play on third down.”
Jenkins, who has notched 25 career starts and is one of the defense’s main leaders, will be a welcome addition back to a unit that has been relying on underclassmen to fill the void over the last two games.
FLORIDA: IMPROVED IN EVERY WAY
It is tough to find an area in which the Gators are not better than they were one year ago. Florida has a healthy starting quarterback, more effective running game, stronger offensive and defensive linemen, and a defense that is starting to come away with the turnovers that Muschamp has been demanding since he took over the program.
LSU head coach Les Miles, who also spoke with the media Wednesday, admitted as much when asked if he has seen UF take a step in the right direction.
“This team is more prepared, more competitive. They look like a very, very quality Florida team,” he said. “I don’t want to bemoan the other two teams because, to me, those guys were pretty good, too. I think they’re certainly very representative of some of the best teams that Florida’s had.”
He continued, “I think they have a nice tailback, guy that’s averaging 100 yards a game. I think they’ve been physical, and I think that they’ve demonstrated that not only this year but in each of the years that we’ve played. I think [Muschamp is] well down the road, in my opinion. I think he’s improving the team.”
The Gators will try to do that with their increased physicality at the line of scrimmage, something Muschamp once again admitted was not a characteristic the team could boast in 2011.
“We weren’t physical enough on the line of scrimmage to compete and play in this league. Our depth was part of that issue because of the way we practiced,” he said. “Some of the things I wanted to do, and I felt like we needed to do, we couldn’t do because of numbers and attrition. We didn’t practice the way we always wanted to practice. And then as we went through the season, my realization of where we were sort of came to a head. We weren’t physical enough on either side of the line of scrimmage.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Muschamp on the skill of tackling being down overall in college football and what he does to combat that with his team: “We tackle every day defensively. You can’t be a good defensive football team if you can’t tackle and learn how to leverage the ball. So we tackle every day. Now we may not take a guy to the ground, but we do what we call ‘thud tackling.’”
» Muschamp on the impact Florida-LSU can have on recruiting: “I’ve never felt like one game impacts recruiting at all. It’s over a test of time. Recruiting is building relationships with people and building trust with people. One game will not determine, hopefully, where a young man goes. If a young man is being determined off of one game, I don’t know if you want him on your roster.”
» Miles on the key to making fake kicks and punts work when other teams know you call those plays often: “To be honest with you, trying them a lot is not something I want to do, I promise you. I don’t really know exactly. I think it’s more of our kids accepting a part of the game plan and making it work. […] It’s more about the skill of the player and what he sees he can do. Many times we go into game weeks without a plan [to run those plays]. It’s kind of specific to each year.”
The No. 4/3 LSU Tigers are undefeated on the 2012 campaign, hold a two-game winning streak in the annual series and boast an 18-game regular season winning streak, all of which will be on the line Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium when they are visit the No. 10/11 Florida Gators.
Yet while LSU has gotten the best of Florida in each of the last two meetings – fighting hard for a 33-29 victory in The Swamp in 2010 before thrashing UF 41-11 in Baton Rouge, LA last season – Gators head coach Will Muschamp still sees Saturday’s showdown as simply his team’s next against a Southeastern Conference opponent.
“This counts as one game,” he said Monday during his weekly press conference. “It doesn’t count any more than that. They’ve got a good football team, certainly a team that we’re looking forward to playing. We got a great opportunity sitting in front of us here at our home stadium at 3:30 p.m. That’s the way I look at it.”
The opportunities Florida is faced with include legitimizing its top-10 national ranking, earning the team’s first victory against a top-five team in the regular season since Oct. 10, 2009, and taking back The Swamp by defeating a rival with an above- .500 record at home for the first time since Nov. 28, 2009 (Florida State).
Accomplishing those feats on Saturday will be a tough task for the Gators, especially considering how talented the Tigers are on offense, defense and special teams.
“The thing that jumps off the film at you, as every year with LSU, is the physicality of their football team in all three phases and how they play the game,” Muschamp said. “They’ve got an outstanding staff and some really good football players.”
Read the rest of this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » LSU a big test and great opportunity for Florida
Despite falling short of the 2012 BCS National Championship, the LSU Tigers earned the No. 1 spot in the USA Today preseason coaches’ top 25 poll released Thursday, which has the Florida Gators slotted in the bottom fifth of the rankings at No. 23.
LSU received 18 of 57 possible first-place votes with Alabama (20), USC (19), Oklahoma and Oregon rounding out the top five.
Other Southeastern Conference teams ranked by USA Today this preseason include 2011 SEC East champion Georgia (No. 6), South Carolina (No. 9), Arkansas (No. 10) and Auburn (No. 25). UF’s in-state rival Florida State came in at No. 7.
Florida also began 2011 at No. 23 in the USA Today poll (No. 22 in the Associated Press top 25) but concluded the season unranked after finishing 7-6 (3-5 SEC).
The Gators are one of five unranked teams to receive recognition in the poll this preseason, joining USC (sanctioned), Texas, Notre Dame and Auburn.
Concluding the 2012 Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings in Destin, FL on Friday, the league announced that an agreement has been reached on new football and basketball schedule formats beginning in the 2013 and 2012-13 seasons, respectively.
The SEC will continue playing eight conference games in football but will shift from a 5-1-2 format to a 6-1-1 format now that two additional teams have been added to the league and each division has expanded to seven teams.
Under this format, each conference team will play all six of their divisional opponents, one permanent cross-division rival and one cross-division opponent on an annual rotation. The previous rotation consisted of two teams on a home-and-home series.
The Florida Gators and LSU Tigers will continue being cross-division rivals in football and extend a consecutive games streak that dates back 41 years to 1971. UF is 30-25-3 all-time against LSU (23-16-2 since the teams restarted their annual game).
The other six permanent cross-division rivalries (West-East) include: Alabama-Tennessee, Arkansas-Missouri, Auburn-Georgia, Mississippi-Vanderbilt, Mississippi State-Kentucky and Texas A&M-South Carolina. Arkansas and South Carolina were paired before Texas A&M and Missouri joined the conference.
Conference basketball schedules will expand to 18 games and also feature a permanent opponent with Florida taking on the Kentucky Wildcats twice each year. Teams will play eight of the 12 remaining SEC schools once and four others twice in home-and-home series on a rotating basis each year.
UK leads the all-time series against UF 93-33; the two teams have played a home-and-home series for 48 consecutive seasons dating back to 1965.
The other six permanent rivalries in basketball include: Alabama-Auburn, Arkansas-Missouri, Georgia-South Carolina, LSU-Texas A&M, Mississippi-Mississippi State and Tennessee-Vanderbilt.
An adjustment was also made to the SEC Tournament in basketball which will now feature double byes for the top four seeds and begin one day earlier on Wednesday. The opening round will consist of two “play-in” games between the four teams with the worst league records (No. 11 vs. No. 14, No. 12 vs. No. 13).