This is Will Muschamp’s football team. This is the team he recruited. This is the team that he has developed. This is the team that he has coached.
For the second year in a row the Florida Gators (3-3, 2-3 SEC) lost their homecoming game in devastating fashion, with the latest embarrassment coming in the form of a 42-13 blowout to Missouri (5-2, 2-1 SEC) on Saturday night.
The Gators were outclassed, out-played and out-coached on their way to a humiliating loss — their second in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in as many weeks.
Florida entered the game this Saturday saying that their goals were all still in front of them — they were.
They aren’t any more.
Missouri was far from impressive. Quarterback Maty Mauk threw for just 20 yards, completing only six-of-18 pass attempts. As a whole, the offense amassed just 119 yards. They didn’t need the offense because as they do week in and week out, the Florida Gators found a new, creative and interesting way to lose a football game. In fact, according to ESPN, in the past 10 years teams that have held their opponents to under 120 yards are 147-2. Those two teams were both coached by Will Muschamp (2011 FSU/ 2014 Missouri).
“Well, you don’t give yourself a chance to win when you turn the ball over six times,” head coach Will Muschamp said after the game. “You have two special teams touchdowns.”
The first play of the game was a hint of things to come. Marcus Murphy received the opening kickoff of the game and went largely untouched 96-yards into the end zone. It was a school record sixth return touchdown for Murphy, who would extend his own record with a punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter as well.
With the tone of the game set, Florida responded like you knew that would. Jeff Driskel and Matt Jones fumbled a handoff, giving the Tigers possession at midfield. They would score their second touchdown of the game six plays and 1:58 minutes later.
You knew it at the time. You felt it. Those 14 points were going to be enough to win the game and they were.
Florida’s offense continued to be inept, despite getting Treon Harris into the game on the third possession.
“Offensively, just abysmal,” said Muschamp. “No rhythm and we’ve got to figure out what we can do to try and move the football.”
How do you move the football? What is Florida doing offensively that inspires any confidence in the fan base, the coaching staff or even the players themselves? “We just gotta nail it down to some things that we do well, which, right now, is not that much,” said Muschamp.
Missouri saw the look in Florida’s eye. They knew the Gators didn’t have the horses to come back from a 14-point deficit. A 14-point deficit isn’t much in college football but to Florida it’s like ascending Mount Everest in a storm.
“They didn’t have to do much, and they figured that out pretty quickly after it got to be about 28-0,” Muschamp said. “They weren’t going to have to do much in the game, so very disappointed in the performance.”
It’s the same words. We’ve been hearing them for two years. “We’ll get it fixed” and “that’s on me.” How many times can you say that you’re going to fix something and still whiff? How many times can you hear those words before they become hollow? When Will Muschamp says “that’s on me, we’ll fix it”, do you even believe him any more?
The Gators are 3-3 on the season and are staring at a bye week before Georgia. Right now, the way that Florida has played the past three games, that game is not winnable. South Carolina isn’t winnable and Florida State is going to take a victory lap around the Gators on their way to the college football playoff.
Last year Jeremy Foley said that Will Muschamp had this football program headed in the right direction. He said that he had faith in Muschamp — that the Gators would be back contending for SEC Championships soon.
This loss on Saturday has relegated the Gators to an afterthought — once again — in the SEC.
The team you watched on the field Saturday night is Will Muschamp’s. This is year four, these are his players, he has recruited all of them developed and coached them.
The direction that Florida is headed is clear and it’s the opposite direction of Atlanta and relevancy.