Florida coach Dan Mullen fined for role in brawl, two Gators suspended first half vs. Georgia

By Adam Silverstein
November 2, 2020
Florida coach Dan Mullen fined for role in brawl, two Gators suspended first half vs. Georgia
Football

Image Credit: ESPN Images

It was clear that the Southeastern Conference would hand down some punishment for a brawl that erupted at halftime Saturday between the No. 8 Florida Gators and Missouri Tigers, and that is exactly what the league did on Monday. Luckily for Florida, no additional players were struck with punishments ahead of the team’s crucial SEC East tilt with No. 5 Georgia on Saturday, but there will be two out of action for at least a portion of the game.

‚ÄúThere is no place in college football for the kind of incident that took place at halftime of the Missouri at Florida game Saturday night.  Everyone involved is responsible for meeting sportsmanship standards throughout each game. Running on the field to confront a game official, the gathering of teams in an on-field confrontation and student-athletes throwing punches are all disappointing at any time, but even more so as we work to support healthy competition during a pandemic,” said SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.

The SEC announced Monday that Gators head coach Dan Mullen has been fined $25,000 for “violating SEC Bylaws governing sportsmanship.” Additionally, defensive lineman Zachary Carter and linebacker Antwaun Powell — who were ejected at halftime — were suspended for the first half of the Florida-Georgia game.

“I respect the decision from the conference office,” Mullen said. “As the head coach, it is my responsibility to defuse these types of situations, and I didn’t live up to that standard.”

“I want to apologize for getting out of character before halftime,” Carter wrote on his Instagram account Saturday night. “Do not disrespect my QB or my head coach. Im riding for my squad anyday.”

Florida redshirt junior quarterback Kyle Trask was hit late after dropping back to throw a bomb into the end zone on the final play of the first half, and his offensive linemen took exception. After some jawing back and forth between players, Mullen ran on the field as the benches emptied and the Gators and Tigers began to fight.

Mizzou LB Tre Williams was ejected during the game; however, the SEC has added half-game suspensions for LB Chad Bailey, OL Dylan Spencer and DL Markell Utsey, even though they were allowed to play the second half.

Every player on both teams was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, meaning a second such penalty in the game would result in further ejections. No other penalty was called in the second half.

Mullen said after the game that he was proud the Gators and Tigers did not allow the halftime skirmish to carry over either into the second half or the postgame. Florida and Mizzou played clean football over the final two quarters despite the incident, which Mullen said was heavily circumstantial because it occurred on an untimed down with both teams heading into the locker room on a play that the Gators thought should have been a penalty for a late hit on their star player.

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