Auburn upends Florida in 17-6 win
AUBURN, Ala. – Points were at a premium Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium, as both Florida and Auburn struggled to move the ball behind inept offenses.
Both teams made quarterback changes in the second half, and Auburn’s simply worked better than the Florida’s, as Clint Moseley led the Tigers (5-2, 3-1 SEC) to a 17-6 win over the Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC) with a crucial fourth-quarter touchdown drive to take control.
Florida had a chance to answer on its ensuing possession but opted to go for a 4th and 4 with kicker Caleb Sturgis out with an injury. The Gators failed to convert from the Tigers’ 16-yard line as quarterback Jeff Driskel overthrew Deonte Thompson.
“We had not moved the ball extremely well at that point, you kick a field goal it’s still a five-point game (and) you need a touchdown,” head coach Will Muschamp said. “You score then you go for two, it’s a tie ball game. That was the reason.”
Muffed punts were extremely costly for the Gators, as Chris Rainey dropped one late in the first quarter that Auburn eventually turned into a 25-yard touchdown pass from Barrett Trotter to DeAngelo Benton to take a 7-0 lead.
Robert Clark came in to field a punt with about three minutes remaining in the game, but he also muffed it to allow Auburn to take over and kick a field goal to extend the lead to 17-6, putting the game out of reach.
“Chris was gassed a little bit and was tired and had a hard time fielding a couple,” Muschamp said. “We put [Clark] back there. [Clark’s] been doing it all year for us and been very effective.”
Florida’s defense played well throughout the night, but seemed to tire late in the third quarter as the crowd of 87,451 roared to life.
Moseley completed a string of passes to help the Tigers march down the field, and Auburn scored the crucial touchdown on a 14-yard touchdown run by Onterrio McCaleb.
McCaleb darted around the left side of the line on the first play of the fourth quarter and outraced Florida’s safeties to the edge, toe-tapping the sideline as he raced in for the score that put Auburn up by eight points.
“They executed a nice pass versus quarters coverage,” Muschamp said. “Good execution on their part. We lost the edge, we didn’t crack replace outside on the touchdown run.”
Auburn managed to convert just 1-of-13 third-down attempts and threw for 123 yards on just seven completions. The Tigers were mostly kept in check on the ground, too, with leading rusher Michael Dyer finishing with a game-high 73 yards on 23 carries.
“We came out today, everybody was on their stuff,” said linebacker Jon Bostic, who finished with a game-high nine tackles and two tackles for a loss.
“Basically our thing all week was just line up and play,” Bostic said. “Everybody’s got to play their gap, because they do a lot of stuff. Pretty much everybody was on their assignments. We were pretty sound on defense.”
Florida was hampered by injuries offensively, though, and couldn’t generate anything consistently to put points on the board.
With starting quarterback John Brantley out for the second straight game with a lower leg injury, true freshman Jacoby Brissett picked up his second straight start.
Brissett played the first half and went 5-of-10 passing for 45 yards and one interception, before fellow true freshman Jeff Driskel took over in the second half. Driskel finished 9-of-18 passing for 75 yards. Both quarterbacks were sacked twice.
“We didn’t do enough to help our football team,” Muschamp said. “The more reps and the more turns those young [quarterbacks] get, they’re going to be really good football players. I’m excited about both of them. We need to continue to move forward.”
Florida was extremely banged up on the offensive side of the ball. Starting running back Jeff Demps didn’t dress for the game after playing in a limited capacity against LSU with an ankle injury.
Redshirt sophomore Andre Debose had his right ankle taped after Florida’s first series on offense and played sparingly through the rest of the game.
Left guard Dan Wenger left the game with an injury and returned to the sidelines on crutches and wearing a boot on his left foot.
Even running back Mike Gillislee, who Florida’s coaches said would get more carries in the run game this week, left the game limping at one point. He finished with just three carries for 16 yards, playing almost exclusively when the Gators ran the Wildcat.
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore defensive end Ronald Powell didn’t make the trip after suffering an undisclosed injury against LSU.
Florida will have a chance to get some of those guys healthy with a bye next weekend before the Gators’ annual showdown with the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville.
“The bye week I think will be beneficial for us,” wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. said. “We can get guys that we have banged up, get those guys back. We’ve got two weeks to prepare for Georgia.”
3 Comments so far
At this point in the season all that is left is a question that demands an answer: is Charlie Weis the answer to the Florida Offense?
Something is amiss; something just doesn’t gel between Charlie and the team. Is Charlie the man for the job?
In a few ways I feel the Athletic Department has duped the Alumnus, the Booster Clubs and the general ticket holders. This has to be addressed appropriately and in a sincere and honest fashion.
Is the Pro Staffers the answer? Can this staff ‘dummy-down’ and take high school athletes and bring them up to the collegiate level?
Remember, Pro Coaches deal with the ‘cream of the crop’ and College Coaches have to deal with kids right out of high school - raw unrefined talent; the immaturity of being 18 or 19 years of age; the ability of a high school student to absorb new concepts in his sport. All these are issues that may overwhelm Pro Staffers who typically only work with athletes with 4-5 years of top notch collegiate experience.
I am beginning to question whether or not Coaches from the NFL are really capable of taking a high school graduate and truly explain the concepts of ‘fundamentals’ as it pertains to the collegiate level of play, NOT the pro level of play.
Regardless, the results to date prove one major observation: Whatever the Coaching Staff at the University of Florida is doing...it is lacking… drastically lacking. Wil, Charlie, Dan and the entire staff swear we have the talent needed to win SEC ballgames. If this is accurate, that is, it’s not the student talent, then there is only one other option remaining: it has to be the inability of the Coaching Staff and how they gel as a team.
But this is where Jeremy Foley steps in I do believe. Surely Jeremy has a few questions and comments of his very own to add to this dialog. We, the Gator Nation, await his inputs with great patience and anticipation.
The Gators are SO committed to playing true freshmen QBs that they throw away what the o-line is built for.
When Burton is in the backfield with Rainey and Gilislee, the Gators are much more productive. They actually drive - managing some first downs and good yardage. This serves 2 purposes - resting our defense and punishing their defense.
What happens when you continue to run 180lb backs? They get gassed or get hurt a la Rainey and Demps. Gilislee is a good enough back to run more than he has been. And what of Mack Brown? Can’t he carry the ball a few times. If the Gators are insisting on playing two freshmen QBs, can’t we let other players in the game?
I am NOT smarter than Weis and company. However, it seems that some things have worked but not been used enough. The coaches said we WOULD see more of Gilislee this week. Did we? NO. Was he injured, sick, tired? I thought he had earned runs. I would like to see some other runners. Next year, we have NO speedsters. Can we prepare for it?
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2014 Football Commits
|Davidson (NC) Day|
|Columbia (SC) Spring Valley|
|Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar|
|Cross City (Fla.) Dixie County|
|Jacksonville (Fla). Raines|
|Deland (Fla.) High|
|New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine|
|Miami (Fla.) Central|
|Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas|
2013 Basketball Commits
|Clermont (Fla.) Montverde Academy|
|Bonifay (Fla) Holmes County|
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