Florida flops in Miami as Canes top Gators 21-16

By Adam Silverstein
September 7, 2013

The No. 9/12 Florida Gators led the No. 24 Miami Hurricanes in nearly every major statistical category on Saturday afternoon, but Florida’s massive amount of turnovers – especially in the red zone – became the stat that really counted as Miami took an early lead and never lost it in a 21-16 victory in Sun Life Stadium.

In what was the last time the Gators and Hurricanes will square off in the regular season for the foreseeable future, Florida committed six turnovers including one on downs and four in the red zone. Miami improved to 29-26 in the all-time series.

Junior quarterback Jeff Driskel threw two interceptions – one on 3rd-and-Goal at the Miami 11-yard line early in the second quarter and another on 3rd-and-3 at the UM 17-yard line with less than seven minutes to play. He also fumbled the ball on UF’s ensuing possession when he was left unprotected and rocked for a nine-yard sack.

Sophomore running back Matt Jones, playing his first game of the season after recovering from a serious viral illness that forced him to miss multiple weeks of fall practice, fumbled on his third carry of the game during the opening possession.

The Hurricanes responded to Jones’ miscue, completing a nine-play, 50-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass from QB Stephen Morris to WR Herb Waters.

The tide appeared to turn in favor of the Gators late in the first quarter when junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, returning to the field from a one-game suspension, blocked a punt that Florida recovered at Miami’s nine-yard line. Driskel ran in untouched for a touchdown two plays later, but a failed two-point conversion attempt by redshirt junior back-up QB Tyler Murphy left Florida trailing 7-6.

Unfortunately for UF (1-1), its defense remained unglued on UM’s next possession, giving up positive yardage on five of the next six snaps including a 52-yard touchdown pass from Morris to WR Phillip Dorsett.

Driskel moved the Gators down the field, hitting senior WR Solomon Patton for 46 yards, but threw his first interception of the game in the red zone. Following a three-and-out, Florida found itself in the red zone again, faced with a 4th-and-1 on Miami’s 16-yard line after three-straight runs by Jones. A keeper was called for Driskel, who was stuffed at the line of scrimmage for no gain.

The Gators returned to the red zone for a third-straight possession as Driskel hit Patton on receptions of 17 and 18 yards during the 12-play drive. However, Florida coughed up the ball once again as senior WR Trey Burton fumbled after a short reception.

Spanning the half, UF’s defense forced UM (2-0) into five-straight three-and-outs.

The Gators took their first possession of the second half 44 yards and settled for a 33-yard field goal by redshirt senior kicker Austin Hardin, reducing their deficit to 14-9.

Though Florida was successful in getting Miami off the field, it began struggling to move the ball on offense and continued to fail in the red zone.

Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III picked off Morris with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, but Driskel threw his second interception five plays later on the opposing 17-yard line.

Following a directional punt that forced the Gators to start from their 14-yard line with 5:28 remaining, Driskel coughed up the ball, a turnover that led to a two-yard touchdown by Hurricanes RB Duke Johnson.

Trailing 21-9 with the clock ticking away, Florida suddenly found its throwing game as Driskel chucked a 32-yard lofted pass to redshirt junior WR Quinton Dunbar and tossed a 21-yard strike to Patton for his first career touchdown.

The Gators’ on-side kick attempt was unsuccessful. Florida did force a punt and touchback, but Driskel was sacked on the ensuing play with 28 seconds remaining.

UF outgained UM 413-212 in total offense including 122-50 on the ground and 291-162 through the air. The Gators bested the Canes 22-10 on first downs and held Miami to 1-of-11 on third down. Florida also won the time of possession battle 38:20-21:40.

None of that mattered, however, because of UF’s five turnovers and inability to convert long offense drives into points. The Gators were just 2-of-6 on red zone opportunities and coughed up the ball four times in five red zone trips, earning just three points.

Penalties – 10 for 70 yards – contributed to Florida’s ineptitude. Many came at inopportune times, either stalling drives or changing momentum.

Driskel finished 22-of-33 for a career-high 291 yards with his two leading receivers – Patton and Dunbar – also setting career-highs in receptions and yardage. Patton caught six balls for 118 yards, and Dunbar – a South Florida native – hauled in seven passes for 98 yards while in front of friends and family.

It was the first time since Jan. 1, 2010 that two Gators pass catchers finished with more than 98 receiving yards in the same game.

Redshirt junior Sam linebacker Ronald Powell showed out with one sack and three tackles for loss on the afternoon. Sophomore Mike LB Antonio Morrison, back from a one-game suspension, led Florida’s defense with seven tackles (five solo).

The Gators finished with nine tackles for loss, a sack, interception and blocked punt.

Florida will now return to Gainesville, FL, in hopes of regrouping during the bye week. UF is set to host Tennessee at a yet-to-be-determined time on Sept. 21.


  1. gatorboi352 says:

    Driskel costed us this game.

  2. joe says:

    Jeff may have all the physical tools to play QB but not the mental ones. He struggles to read defenses and continues to make horrible decisions especially at the absolute worst possible time. He has made no progress over the summer in these areas at all. Unfortunately plan B transferred out and we are stuck until Garcia gets here.

  3. ziggy says:

    All I can say is wow.

  4. Ted says:

    1. No need to worry about Pease taking a head coaching job. We’re stuck with him.
    2.On the + side he did not lie to us. The offense last week wasn’t vanilla.
    3. Wander how many Miami-Dade boys are lined up to talk to the Champ?
    4.Is it too early to talk about the o-line?

  5. Frank says:

    Big Fat Hairy Deal…Bring on ut!

  6. G8TRKYLE says:

    Jeff is not the answer, held the ball too long on way too many possessions, looked down primary receivers on every passing possession. He is a junior? Next please….

  7. GatorGrad98 says:

    The same thing happened to Georgia last week!!! We still have the whole SEC in front of us, hopefully our offense will be living in the film room the rest of the season & not repeat the same mistakes! And Jeff made some bad decisions but he wasn’t the only one to make mistakes! We need to support Jeff, not tear him down, he’s still just a kid trying to do his best for this team & his coaches!!!

  8. one says:

    Yeah, maybe it’s the anger talking but I’m just tired of the offense. Besides Driskel’s reported laziness with practice, the slippery fingers and dumb decisions in the RZ are tiring.

  9. Oldflyer says:

    I just don’t understand with Jeff. Can’t the coaches get it through his head to throw the ball into the stands when there is nothing there? If he had done that, well, it might be a different story now. He made about three bad throws, unfortunately every one hurt. The overthrow in the endzone, the two interceptions. The fumble I can’t fault him; in fact that call could have gone either way IMO.

    The OLine is a problem again. Injuries. At crunch time there were three pre-season starters on the sideline. I am afraid that Moore just insn’t everything folks hoped he was; and Garcia is not a tackle. I do hope that Humphries is back for UT.

    Have to scratch my head at play calling every now and then. Fourth and one, they were absolutely packed in there; and the oline had already proved they were not going to move the LOS. If you are going up the gut, at least use one of the big backs. Inside screen when Burton fumbled? Why? Everything that worked went to the edges.

    Like all Gator fans; I am sick. However, if they limit it to one game like this each year, I guess I can live with it. Let’s hope that is it for this year.

    UGA is looking good. Damn.

    • obgator says:

      I disagree about the fumble, his arm was not moving forward before the ball came out. However, the Oline played relatively well, except in the power run game. Jeff has to get rid of the ball faster, and have a better pocket presence.

      I agree on the suspect playcalling at crucial times. We keep pretending we are something we’re not and try to run against 8 or 9 in the box instead of keeping a defense guessing. We should just let Pease take over the offense with his own philosophy so he can do what he was brought to do.

      I think we have major issues at TE. Clay cannot catch, and we have no one behind him who can block and catch.

  10. DJ says:

    Driskel is almost as bad as Brantley. Stares down his receivers, hangs on to the ball forever, and is the absolute worst at hanging on to the ball! And Muschamp MUST go!

    • ziggy says:

      The only thing Muschamp is guilty of is hiring the wrong offensive coordinators.

    • Danthefan says:

      The turnovers hurt us. Penalties were bad as well.

      Defense played great, even after loosing all starting linebackers and safeties from last season.

      Offense had its moments, moved the ball well on a few drives. Driskel dropped a beauty into Patton’s hands. Can’t remember the last time we hit that type of pass.

      No doubt, it was the turnovers that was the reason we lost this one.

      Muschamp is a great coach. He recruits hard, will not allow players to have their way (see suspensions and J. Jenkins removal), and takes care to select high character student-athletes as potentials. I will stand by Coach Boom through many down times. Winning isn’t everything, but it is very nice.

      DJ, I find what you said about Coach Boom offensive.

      The Team will learn from this loss, and make adjustments.

      GO GATORS!!!

  11. Frank says:

    I repeat: BIG FAT HAIRY DEAL…Let’s get SEC play started. Enough of these meaningless encounters with um. We had nothing to gain. They had nothing to lose. They had the acc refs and home crowd juiced with piped-in noise. If we never play them again…cool. Move on Gators.

  12. ziggy says:

    Everyone who says that Muschamp is an undisciplined coach because of all the penalties must not remember all the penalties with Urban Meyer’s teams and Steve Spurrier’s teams. I’m not sure what it is but it’s more than a coaching problem.

  13. Gator man says:

    Frank, with the kill. The play calling was suspect, but guys, this is one game! We win out the season, go to the SEC Championship game and win it, we’re in the NC. Stop being so negative. Five turnovers ain’t gonna happen again. Whoever said Muschamp should go, should go themselves. I like his style. Yes, maybe he should let Pease do his thing a little more, but our defense, looked absolutely nasty. Seriously, one game. UM is just a fart in the wind. The fan base is a bunch of lowlifes that never stepped foot on campus, and Golden looks like a douche

    • ziggy says:

      I agree with all that

    • Frank says:

      Let me add this little tidbit. My senior year was the winless team of 1979. Now THAT was a tough season! In my 33 years as a Gator alumnus, I’ve shared this declaration with any opposing fan who dared to listen: “I’d rather be a GATOR and lose every game than pull for any other team and win every game.” In all kinds of weather, we all stick together for F-L-O-R-I-D-A!!!

    • Mr2Bits says:

      I think this is the wrong approach looking at this season and really the reason all of the craziness has come out from this loss. A realistic expectation is to get to Atlanta. We are not NC ready yet and setting sights that high, will continue to hurt more with a bigger fall. We are a 2-3 loss team this year, albeit Miami was not one most of us expected to drop, but don’t really see it as being too far fetched that it happened.

      2014 and really 2015 is the year we go all in.

  14. SJ210 says:

    Four straight years of inept offense. I can hardly stand to watch anymore. Defense was outstanding. As others have said, Driskel just doesn’t seem to have it upstairs. I’d like to see some of the freshmen like Taylor, Robinson, and Fulwood involved going forward. And our lack of a threat at TE is killing us. That was a hard loss to swallow because we gave the game away.

  15. Oscar says:

    You can’t just dismiss this as only one game. The mistakes Driskel and the rest of the offense made are not a one game ocurrence, its been going on for a while. Holding on to the ball to long, not understanding when to throw it away, going for the heroic play and throwing into coverage, fumbles, etc. You can dismiss it all you want but he is not improving. Muschamp is doing a good job, he needs to get a better QB next recruiting class and hope he turns out better than Driskel.

    • Mr2Bits says:

      Its actually better this happened now. This might actually breath some intensity into the team that was clearly lacking in the first half and the Tulane game. You saw what the Georgia game did for us last year and I think this is the wake-up call we needed before the real season actually begins.

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