Miscues doom Florida as No. 3 FSU prevails 24-19

By Adam Silverstein
November 29, 2014

Miscues, penalties and questionable coaching decisions doomed the Florida Gators, which failed to take advantage of a career-high four interceptions and career-low 125 yards thrown by No. 3 Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston and ultimately fell 24-19 on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida.

Florida State (12-0) won its 28th consecutive game, going undefeated in back-to-back regular seasons for the first time in school history; the Seminoles will next play in the ACC Championship Game and then possibly the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Florida (6-5), which is bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012, will play in its postseason game without head coach Will Muschamp, who was dismissed two weeks ago and coached his last game with the Gators on Saturday.

Florida opened the game by scoring nine-straight points on a trio of field goals.

FSU got a second chance on its opening possession after going three-and-out, but Gators senior safety Jabari Gorman intercepted Winston on the very next play. UF was unable to move the ball, however, and redshirt sophomore kicker Austin Hardin connected on a career-long 52-yard field goal.

A second Winston interception – this one picked off by freshman cornerback Quincy Wilson at midfield – also resulted in a field goal for Florida, which settled for a 39-yard kick off the foot of Hardin to take a 6-0 lead. When the Gators next touched the ball, freshman QB Treon Harris connected with freshman running back Brandon Powell 42 yards down the field, and Hardin came on three plays later to convert a 43-yard field goal.

Florida looked poised to poor it on Florida State moments later as the Seminoles downed the ensuing kickoff inside their own five-yard line. Backed up against his own end zone, Winston threw a third interception – grabbed by redshirt sophomore defensive back Brian Poole – and the Gators suddenly had the ball inside the FSU 10. Rather than take advantage of the opportunity, UF threw on first down and Harris’s pass was bobbled by senior tight end Tevin Westbrook; it was intercepted by Terrance Smith, who returned it 94 yards down the field for a touchdown.

A huge punt down to Florida State’s seven-yard line by Florida senior punter Kyle Christy once again backed the home team up, but FSU responded with a 12-play, 93-yard touchdown drive lasting 5:03. Karlos Williams gained 27 yards on a run, and Winston completed passes of 29 yards to Rashad Greene and 10 yards to Nick O’Leary, who hauled in the score.

Harris tried to go deep on the next drive but was intercepted by Lamarcus Brutus at the Seminoles’ 20-yard line. FSU responded with another huge drive – 8 plays, 83 yards – and found the end zone on another Winston touchdown pass to O’Leary. During the drive, Gators freshman defensive lineman Gerald Willis was penalized for a late hit on Winston; Willis was standing on the sideline when Winston ran out of bounds, and the player was subsequently sent to the locker room by his own team.

Florida looked poised to run out the clock and end the half, but Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher called a timeout to get his team the ball back. FSU was unable to gain a first down, however, and punted, only for its punter to fumble the ball and allow UF to take over possession with 53 seconds until the break. On the next play, Harris hit senior Clay Burton on a wheel route, and the tight end hauled in his first career touchdown.

Redshirt senior kick returner Andre Debose brought back the opening kick to Florida’s 40-yard line, jump-starting a scoring drive for UF. The Gators achieved three first downs due in large part to Harris but ultimately stalled, settling for a 32-yard field goal that cut their deficit to 21-19.

Florida two other scoring opportunities negated due to mistakes and bad plays. The second chance came after Florida State made some big gains down the field but turned the ball over as Winston tossed his career-high fourth interception of the game; Poole nabbed the ball with one hand and returned it 27 yards. The Gators got pushed back as junior wide receiver Latroy Pittman got called for holding and unsportsmanlike conduct (for which he was flummoxed) on the same play, but Harris still found a way to get UF into field goal range with his legs. Hardin came on to attempt his second 52-yard field goal of the game, a potential go-ahead try, but missed wide right.

Stalling after moving the ball out past midfield on their next possession, the Seminoles decided to run a fake punt that was ultimately snuffed out by Gators freshman linebacker Alex Anzalone. Harris completed a 41-yard pass to sophomore WR Demarcus Robinson with Florida continuing its drive at the Florida State 25-yard line. UF was unable to make any gains from there, and Hardin missed a 42-yard field goal to keep FSU in the lead with 9:42 to play.

Aided on by more Gators miscues, the Noles increased their lead to five on a 37-yard field goal by Robert Aguayo, giving the ball back to Florida up 24-19 with 3:25 remaining in the contest.

The Gators had one last chance to score on the ensuing possession and converted one fourth down thanks to a pass interference penalty but ultimately stalled at midfield and turned the ball over to the home team on downs.

Photo Credit: Associated Press


  1. Gatoralum88 says:

    What else is new? UF doing just enough to lose…FSU doing just enough to win. Great effort by the D. Pick 6 was a game changer. Maybe Poole could have scored had he gone down the sideline on his 2nd pick. Woulda, coulda, shoulda…no excuses…they lost. So much for karma finally biting Jamies. ACC sweeps SEC today. Also, another negative 1st for Muschamp on his way out…first FBS team to make 4 picks & lose. Again, what else is new? Goodbye Will.

  2. SW Fl Joe says:

    Hallelujah the Muschamp error is finally OVER. Rejoice Gator Nation we are on the road to recovery. Good times are on the way.

  3. Michael Jones says:

    First of all, Dante Fowler is a MAN. If he wasn’t a 1st round draft choice before tonight, he’s one now.

    The thing that cost Muschamp his job is the same thing that cost him this game. Although our defense was lights out, the ridiculously conservative play calling, dive play up the middle on 3-and-23 (not even a draw? A screen? A short pass?), dive plays up the middle on almost every 1st and 2nd down, playing for a field goal after Robinson’s big catch down the sideline . . the same mentality that doomed us most of the year doomed us again tonight. Not to mention a sadly inept, disorganized, and poorly strategized (if there was one at all) 2 minute drill with poor clock management as we asked a kid with poor accuracy and below average arm strength to beat FSU’s two deep coverage over and over when that wasn’t necessary.

    There is no question that we have the studs. Now we need a HC to lead us. One with a little imagination and creativity that attacks opposing defenses and plays to win.

    We also need a QB who can stand tall in the pocket and throw the ball with authority and accuracy. I believe he’s on the roster.

    My hat’s off to our kids. They all played their hearts out and they deserved to win.

    • Oldflyer says:

      Ah Crap! The fan base has been calling to throw the ball down field. They tried to throw the ball down field. The fan base called for a QB change, and got what they want.

      The fan base called to fire the Coach, he is fired.

      Next year the fan base will be squealing like spoiled children over something else.

      Muschamp did not call the plays today; he did not constantly miss open receivers; he did not whiff on blocks; he did not coach the team to shoot itself in the ass every time they had a chance to take over the game. (Well to be honest, it was the officials who shot them in the ass on many of those missed opportunities–but, after all, it was FSU and ACC shysters)

      • Michael Jones says:

        The HC job at UF is considered by some to be the best job in the country. We make the HC’s we hire millionaires. We are patient with them to a point. But, yes, Oldflyer, we do treasure our recent history of excellence and we expect a head coach to continue that tradition. . . and we make no apologies for that. . . and we’re not about to let Muschamp homers who call us “spoiled children” cause us to waiver from our convictions, expectations, or standards of excellence.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        Yep, you are right, the coaches weren’t the one executing on the field. Kudos for them!

        I don’t suppose it ever occurred to you that the coaches were the ones who did or did not prepare them properly for the opponent, and I don’t just mean today? Football is a game of repetition, execution is based on repeating the same things over and over in practice and executing them in the game. If the players are consistently not executing who do you blame, the players for not executing, or the coaches for not teaching correctly? I know who you blame, but the rest of the world knows the truth and will face it. This is yet another game we should have won and could have won big, but the coaches didn’t prepare our players well, as always on this staff. Imagine a 24-0 or 28-0 lead? Aside from the fact that would have won the game out right, that would have just been in the first quarter alone.

        You make no sense to constantly support what is clearly a poor fit, not that he is bad, he is just wrong for the Gators, and you keep thinking he is the best coach ever, I simply don’t get it when all of the facts point otherwise

    • Gatoralum88 says:

      They got what they “deserved”.

  4. Michael Jones says:

    P.S. Kudos to Adam Lane for making this a night that Carlos Williams will not remember.

  5. Jesse Ven-Johnson says:

    Treon is a terrible passer. Now, what?

    • Ben says:

      Finally some sensible comment. Treon sucks. The guy who took us to the sugar bowl with a 11-1 reg season should be calling the shots. Not some misguided inexperienced freshman. Driskel might have made mistakes but has never cost us a single game in 3 yrs (except against mighty Bama)

      • GatorGrad98 says:

        Wait a second, did I just miss something? What do you call the Mizzou game?

      • 305Gator says:

        Slow down Ben and think before you post. First it is too early too say Treon sucks, I know he missed a bunch of throws but he is a true freshman with only 4 starts . Let’s give him the benefit of a full offseason and hopefully a competent QB coach, OC and HC before we decide he sucks.
        The other guy has had 3 years and countless starts and he is no better, in fact he is worse.
        As for how many games Jeff Driskel was costs us I would say this year alone Mizzou and LSU. Last year Louisville and Miami. The year before Georgia. That is quite a few. On top of that he was on the way to losing several more before being replaced. Tennessee this year and last year as well.
        With the right preparation, coaching and game calling we will be fine at QB with Treon and Grier.

    • 305Gator says:

      Maybe give him a full offseason to prepare
      Maybe give him a competent QB coach
      Maybe get a competent OC who can call a better game plan
      Maybe get a competent HC who plays to win instead of playing scared and not to lose

  6. G2 says:

    Typical of the Muschamp era, couple of bonehead plays or breaks here and there from a victory. Our guys came to play today, took it to them. You knew when we were kicking all those field goals what was going to happen, close but no cigar!

    • Oldflyer says:

      You have a wire crossed in your logic circuitry. Muschamp did not make a single bone headed play. He wasn’t even in pads.

  7. BIGGATOR says:

    I think the Defense played great! Treon did a good job overall,for a freshman he played really great. the Achilles heal for Florida all year(past 4 years) has been the offense,4 turnovers and only 19 points to show for it! that about sums it up in a nutshell. on to next year and hopefully a brighter future! GO GATORS!

  8. Ken (CA) says:

    Thanks WM for fixing the integrity of our program, but don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Imagine being up 17-0 21-0 24-0 28-0 in the first quarter if the offense wasn’t so atrocious. So many different ways we found to lose a game that was winnable. Sadly, I hoped WM would get out of his own way and find a way to beat a team that isn’t nearly as good as it’s record and very beatable, and yet even in his last game he couldn’t find a way to do it and open it up. Harris played very poorly, but the offensive line was exactly that, offensive. These guys will sadly think for the rest of their lives all of the missed opportunities they had to not only win, but win decisively. They didn’t execute well, but then, that comes to preparation, and while some blame falls on the players, that is mostly on coaching preparation.

    Kudos to M however for booting the stupid sideline pusher that committed the person foul for no reason

  9. Sharon M says:

    Gators could have won but not under Muschamp. Goodbye Will!

  10. SJ210 says:

    Four INTs in your opponent’s territory AND a blocked punt and you still can’t score 20 points?! Are you kidding me?? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, this offense is the same putrid garbage we’ve seen for 4 years. Once again we find ways to lose a game in the most mind-numbing ways possible. The Noles were who we thought they were and we let em off the hook!

  11. Mike the Red says:

    Old flyer, he had the program for 4 years. He recruited them. He coached them. He lives with the results. Someday he maybe s good head coach. Not today.

    Yes… I am concerned about the future. He is leaving this program a mess.

    • Michael Jones says:

      I disagree with your last statement, Mike the Red. I don’t think the program is in a mess at all. I think we’re in pretty good shape moving forward. We have tremendous athletes on this team. We need to do a better job recruiting the OL, DL, and RB position (IMO), but we are far from “a mess.”

      A decent coach can start winning right now.

      • 305Gator says:

        Agree with you The Red is way off in saying our program is a mess and that with the right coach we can win right away.
        Disagree with you on the recruiting. DL and RB are positions of strength. We are sorely lacking at TE, WR and OL.

        • Michael Jones says:

          We have a bunch of talent at WR, a lot of which hasn’t even gotten to play yet. We’ve recruited really well at that position. Until we get a QB in there who can hit them with regularity, there is no way that you can assess the WR position.

          I know you’re a big fan of Treon’s but he throws a lot like a sandlot QB and I’m not sure you can fix accuracy and arm strength. Let’s see what happens over the summer with the QB’s. Maybe somebody can come in and teach Driskel how to play QB. Maybe Treon will improve. Maybe Will Grier will establish himself as the best QB on the roster. All of that remains to be seen.

          As for RB, you and others have us overrated there, I’m afraid. Right now we’re about average, although I would love to see Adam Lane get more carries. We need to get the next Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, or Alex Collins that becomes available. The next stud RB that comes along in Fla, we need to get him. We had Cook but a 4-8 season ran him off.

          You might be right about the DL recruiting and we agree on the OL recruiting. You can just never have too many hosses in the trenches in the SEC.

          • 305Gator says:

            Of the WRs that Muschamp plays only D Rob is any good. Pittman is OK as a 3rd or 4th option and Dunbar is bad, and he starts.
            It’s not that I am a Treon fan, it’s that I have had it with Driskel. And when you say that maybe someone can teach him how to play QB it just gets old. That is what was said when Roper was hired and Driskel just got worse.
            Just like we moved on form Muschamp we must move on form Driskel.
            Hopefully Treon can be taught to play better, and Grier can make a big splash. Those 2 have upside and potential, Driskel has had his many chances already. Enough is enough.

  12. Phil McCracken says:

    Poole should be investigated for point shaving or maybe even throwing the game. He clearly wanted to get tackled instead of scoring on his second pick. I demand the authorities look into this and will use my connections with state law enforcement.

  13. Sroode21 says:

    What a bunch of cry babies, so the 2 missed FG’s.. Have nothing to do with the loss? Let me guess it was the coaches fault that he missed those kicks!!!! Shut up and quit complaining!!!

    • Michael Jones says:

      It’s the fact that Muschamp is always playing to win by a field goal that makes missed field goals so huge for the Gators.

    • 305Gator says:

      Yes the 2 missed FGs were huge. First the play calling and execution tha led to us having to attempt those FGsrather than sustain a drive fora TD.
      Second why attempt a long FG when are the underdog wth nothin to lose? Especially after Hardin missed the first one, for sure we shold have ither goe for it the second time or attempted some sot of fake. Even Jimbo was calling fake punts, but our coach was too scared totry somehing aggresive.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      it’s not just the 2 missed field goals, it is the 6 attempted FG in general because no matter how close to their end zone we started, we couldn’t push it across. Like I said earlier, if we took advantage of that first quarter and were up 21-0 or 28-0 with a real offense, this game would have been over almost before it began.

  14. Michael Jones says:

    The problem with the positions that Sroode21 and Oldflyer are taking is that–since no coach ever actually plays in the game itself–no coach can ever be at fault for his team’s crappy performance. Just like no coach can ever be complimented for his team’s excellent performance.

    Apparently, according to Sroode21 and Oldflyer, since coaches don’t actually play in the game itself, they have absolutely no impact or influence on its outcome.

  15. Sroode21 says:

    Michael Jones, your a fool. That’s not true. The coaches can’t catch the ball for the players, kick the ball, throw the ball. It comes down to execution by the players, the coaches put players in these situations and the players have to deliver. Not every play call maybe the correct call, but it’s not like the coaches were asking to make a kick 60 yard FG, both kicks were makeable.

    • Michael Jones says:

      lol. . dude, I’m just going to have to write you off to the “consider the source” category. You don’t even get the points that people are trying to make so your responses are nonsensical.

      Yes, I’m a fool and you’re a genius. Coaches have nothing to do with the outcome of the game. It is always the players who decide it. Some coaches, like Saban, are just really really lucky, uncannily lucky, and some coaches, like Muschamp, are not. Coaching ability has no effect whatsoever on the outcomes of games.

      Got it.

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