Florida-EKU post-game report: Durkin to coach bowl, Muschamp’s final lesson, Bullard’s decision

The Florida Gators (6-4) took care of business, routing the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (9-3) on Senior Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida’s 52-3 victory on Saturday got the Gators bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012 and also marked the second-largest win margin in any game under head coach Will Muschamp, who was able to leave The Swamp with his head held high.

BOWL GAME COACH CHOSEN

Moments after Florida’s win was finalized, the school announced that defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin would serve as interim head coach for the Gators’ bowl game this year. Durkin, the second-longest tenured member of the staff (five years) behind running backs coach Brian White (six years), will take the reigns of the program once Muschamp’s dismissal is finalized next Saturday, Nov. 29.

FINAL LESSON: A TOUGH WEEK, ROAD AHEAD

There should be no doubt that the entire Florida football team took Muschamp’s dismissal hard. Gators players spoke of him fondly on Monday after his press conference and were obviously playing with an extra gear on Saturday. Junior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard even went so far as to write his coach’s last name on his eyeblack.

“I’ve just been through a lot and he’s been there for me,” Bullard said. “When I lost my grandmother, he was a big supporter; he let me go home as long as I needed. Just little things he did helping me through that whole situation, he’s just been a real good person to me. I respect him a lot, and actually, I love him. I just wanted to show some respect for him, everything he’s done for me, and show him that I appreciate it.”

Muschamp admitted Saturday that it took a while for Florida to get back in the swing of things this week. Monday’s practice was thwarted due to the weather; Tuesday the team looked “just OK” and did not show “great effort” on the field; and Wednesday was just “a little bit better.”

So Muschamp spent the Gators’ regularly-scheduled Thursday meeting speaking about much more than just the upcoming game but rather how Florida’s players need to deal with his dismissal and their futures going forward.

Continue Reading » Florida-EKU post-game report: Durkin to coach bowl, Muschamp’s final lesson, Bullard’s decision

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Florida airs it out, tops EKU 52-3 on Senior Day; Gators become bowl-eligible

The Florida Gators (6-4) rolled to a 52-3 win over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (9-3) on Senior Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, subsequently becoming bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012.

Florida quarterbacks freshman Treon Harris and redshirt junior Jeff Driskel combined for six total touchdowns, as wide receivers sophomore Demarcus Robinson and redshirt senior Quinton Dunbar each eclipsed 100 yards and hauled in two scores.

Harris completed just 4-of-12 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, while Driskel was 9-for-11 for 164 yards with three passing touchdowns as well as a rushing score.

For Dunbar, who was playing his last game in The Swamp, the performance was the best of his Gators career. He registered a career-high 107 yards, caught his first touchdown since Nov. 24, 2012, and scored twice for the first time in his career.

Continue Reading » Florida airs it out, tops EKU 52-3 on Senior Day; Gators become bowl-eligible

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Friday Final: Florida Gators prepare for emotional Senior Day in The Swamp

In this week’s edition of Florida Football Friday Final, OnlyGators.com takes a look at the Florida Gators (5-4) as they prepare to play their second-to-last game under head coach Will Muschamp against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (9-2) on Senior Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday. The game will kick off at noon and air live on the SEC Network.

THIS WEEK ON ONLYGATORS.COM

Story: Will Muschamp earns praise, talks dismissal with class
Story: Dante Fowler Jr. declares for NFL Draft on Twitter
Story/Notebook: Gators lose two linebackers for season; two defensive backs return for Saturday’s game
Story: Florida coordinators talk Muschamp firing, EKU, future
The Silver Lining: Answering reader questions about the Gators’ future

SENIOR DAY IN THE SWAMP

Lost among the firing of a head coach and subsequent start of a search for a new one are two simple facts: the Gators are one victory away from bowl game eligibility, and Muschamp will not be the only one who spending his last Saturday on Florida Field.

Continue Reading » Friday Final: Florida Gators prepare for emotional Senior Day in The Swamp

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11/3: Two Florida starters out for Vanderbilt, Muschamp provides other updates on Gators

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators (4-3, 3-3 SEC) met with the media on Monday as his team looks to rebound from a signature win while preparing for the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-6, 0-5 SEC) on Saturday evening in Nashville, Tennessee.

HOUSEKEEPING

» The Southeastern Conference announced Monday that the Florida-South Carolina game on Saturday, Nov. 15 will be played at noon and air live nationally on the SEC Network. The game is already the Gators’ sixth of 10 scheduled contests to be broadcast by the network this season, and UF will likely have a seventh before the year is out as it hosts Eastern Kentucky the next weekend.

» Redshirt seniors center Max Garcia and wide receiver Michael McNeely were both honored with league awards on Monday. Garcia was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, and McNeely earned SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his fake field goal touchdown against Georgia.

INJURY UPDATES

Florida will be without two starters this week at Vanderbilt as sophomore safety Keanu Neal (high-ankle sprain) and senior right guard Trenton Brown (knee) have already been ruled out for the game.

Neal and Brown, who was diagnosed with a bone bruise, will both be reevaluated next Monday after a full week of rest. The former will be replaced by a combination of players led by redshirt sophomore Marcus Maye, while the latter will see redshirt junior Tyler Moore take his place.

Also potentially out Saturday is freshman defensive lineman Gerald Willis, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in practice and did not make the trip to Jacksonville, Florida. Willis is currently questionable to play but will be reevaluated by the trainers on Wednesday.

Continue Reading » 11/3: Two Florida starters out for Vanderbilt, Muschamp provides other updates on Gators

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C Max Garcia gets emotional over Mike McNeely, shoots selfie with Florida Gators WR at Publix

During the Florida Gators‘s weekly Monday afternoon media availability, redshirt senior center Max Garcia got emotional and shed some tears while discussing redshirt senior wide receiver Michael McNeely, whose fake field goal touchdown swung the momentum in his team’s favor on Saturday against the rival Georgia Bulldogs.

McNeely, a walk-on who was expected to play at wideout in 2013 had it not been for an injury, received a scholarship from head coach Will Muschamp ahead of the 2014 season and has seen action mostly on special teams this year.

On Saturday, McNeely entered the game as a holder and turned a 39-yard field goal attempt into a 21-yard rushing touchdown, picking up the snap and running past some superior blocking into the end zone.

Garcia discussed the play – and more importantly, the player – on Monday.

Continue Reading » C Max Garcia gets emotional over Mike McNeely, shoots selfie with Florida Gators WR at Publix

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Florida-Georgia post-game report: Gators celebrate dominant win over Bulldogs

A 38-20 win over the then-No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 4-2 SEC), which was more dominant than the score indicates, has given the Florida Gators (4-3, 3-3 SEC) and head coach Will Muschamp new life.

Muschamp met with the media after the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Saturday to discuss Florida breaking its three-game losing streak at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Gators hoping to turn a page this season.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Despite the Gators’ victory, the Bulldogs still hold a 49-41-2 all-time advantage over their border rivals in the Florida-Georgia game. UGA also leads 43-38-1 for games played in Jacksonville. UF, however, is 19-6 against its rival since 1990.
» By locking up a victory, the Gators avoided four-straight losses to the Bulldogs, which would’ve occurred for the first time since dropping six in a row from 1978-83.
» It was the third time in the series that an unranked UF defeated a ranked UGA.
» Florida was an 11.5-point underdog entering the game despite Georgia not winning a game in the series by more than eight points since 1997.
» The victory ensured that UF’s senior class would not be the first since 1983 to go winless against UGA in their collegiate careers.
» Muschamp won his first-ever Florida-Georgia game after going 0-4 as a UGA player and starting 0-3 as a UF coach.
» The Gators had lost six-straight games against top 25 opponents before defeating the Bulldogs. UF is now 5-13 against ranked opponents under Muschamp.
» This was just Florida’s third game this season not decided by six points or fewer.
» The Gators (blue) and Bulldogs (red) each wore their respective team-color jersey. It is the first time this happened in the Florida-Georgia game since 1970.
» Treon Harris was the first true freshman quarterback to start a game for UF since 2011 (Jacoby Brissett) and the first to start a Florida-Georgia game since 2003 (Chris Leak).
» Running backs junior Matt Jones (192 yards) and sophomore Kelvin Taylor (197 yards) each set career-highs on Saturday. The rushers also had two touchdowns apiece.
» It was the first time in school history that UF had two backs each eclipse 120 yards in the same game.
» It was the first time since 2011 (Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey) that the Gators had two running backs eclipse 100 yards in the same game.
» The 418 rushing yards on Saturday were a season-high for the Gators (most since 1989) and most allowed by the Bulldogs since 1978 (second-most ever). Florida also had three runs (65 yards, 44 yards [twice]) that were the longest given up by Georgia this season. UF’s 418 rushing yards were also the most by a Muschamp team (second time over 400 in a single game).
» The Gators are 5-0 under Muschamp when rushing 50+ times and 9-0 when scoring three or more rushing touchdowns in a game.
» Florida only completed three passes in the game, its fewest in records dating back to 1996 (UF is 6-5 in 11 games with 10 or fewer completions).

Continue Reading » Florida-Georgia post-game report: Gators celebrate dominant win over Bulldogs

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Florida Gators run wild in dominant 38-20 victory over No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville

With their backs against the wall, the Florida Gators (4-3, 3-3 SEC) came through for their fans, their embattled head coach and each other, ending a three-game losing streak to their long-time rivals, the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 4-2 SEC), by racking up 418 rushing yards on the way to a dominant 38-20 victory on Saturday afternoon at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

Running backs junior Matt Jones and sophomore Kelvin Taylor each registered career-highs on the afternoon. Jones carried the ball 25 times for 192 yards and two touchdowns, and Taylor toted the rock 25 times for 197 yards and two scores of his own.

The duo combined for 50 carries, 389 yards and four touchdown on the afternoon, each setting career-highs for yards in a game while becoming the first pair of Gators to each rush for 120 yards or more in a single contest. Florida as a team gained 418 yards on the ground, the fifth-highest total in program history.

The victory was head coach Will Muschamp‘s first in the UF-UGA rivalry game. He entered the contest 0-7, 0-4 as a Bulldogs player and 0-3 as UF’s coach.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators run wild in dominant 38-20 victory over No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville

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Instant Replay: Florida flashes new-look offense in 65-0 rout of Eastern Michigan

One week later than initially scheduled, the Florida Gators (1-0) kicked off their 2014 season on Saturday with a 65-0 trouncing of the Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-1) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida extended its winning streak in season-opening contests to 25 games while starting the campaign with the exact type of blowout victory that fans hoped for all offseason. OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with eight quick-hitters:

Deciding drive: Starting on its own 23-yard line after receiving an Eagles punt late in the first quarter, the Gators traveled 77 yards in 10 plays to take a 24-0 lead and put the game out of reach early for Eastern Michigan. Florida entered the red zone on a 42-yard deep vertical throw from redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel to redshirt senior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar and crossed the goal line two plays later when freshman running back Brandon Powell rumbled into the end zone from 12 yards out. Driskel went 31-for-45 for 248 yards with a touchdown on the afternoon, while Dunbar hauled in five receptions for 81 yards. Powell had three catches for 24 yards including his score.

Important injuries: Midway through the second quarter, redshirt senior tight end Jake McGee got his left leg rolled up on by senior right guard Trenton Brown. McGee had his left ankle placed in an air cast before a stretcher cart was brought out to drive him off the field. Earlier in the first quarter, junior left tackle D.J. Humphries was brought to the locker room after injuring his ankle following UF’s first touchdown of the game. He did not return. In a post-game interview on SEC Network, head coach Will Muschamp noted that the team has lost McGee “probably for the season.”

Check out the second half of The Quick Slant…after the break.
Continue Reading » Instant Replay: Florida flashes new-look offense in 65-0 rout of Eastern Michigan

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