The stats may not back it up, but Saturday’s contest against Georgia was Florida’s for the taking.
Sure, the Gators offense didn’t do much to help itself out. However, the team’s defense did more than enough in the second half to get Florida back in it.
In fact, the Bulldogs should consider themselves lucky for escaping Jacksonville with a 23-20 win.
That’s because Georgia had the game completely in its hands, racking up 335 total yards of offense and holding a 23-3 lead heading into the locker room. Not to mention, the return of running back Todd Gurley was already paying dividends—the sophomore took a dump off 73 yards for a touchdown.
Unfortunately, the second half was another story.
Florida’s defense—which entered Week 10 allowing just 273.1 yards per game—finally started playing like itself. The unit stifled the Bulldogs offense, holding it scoreless and to just 79 total yards in the second half.
Furthermore, the Gators recorded a safety and a fumble recovery deep in Georgia territory.
But while the defense did all it could to put the game on a platter, quarterback Tyler Murphy and the Gators offense just couldn’t capitalize.
Florida held Georgia scoreless in the second half, outscored them 17-0 and lost. Too many miscues & coaching mistakes.— OnlyGators.com (@onlygators) November 2, 2013
Florida blew a perfect opportunity to score at the beginning the third quarter. The offense held the ball for a little over seven minutes, marching down to the Bulldogs 29-yard line. However, kicker Austin Hardin wasn’t able to convert on a 49-yard field goal.
Later in the period, a 3rd-and-10 quickly became 3rd-and-20 following two boneheaded penalties, a false start and an illegal formation penalty
But the biggest mistake came in the fourth quarter. Right after the Gators defense stopped Gurley on fourth down at the Georgia 39. Nerion Ball was called for a post-possession personal foul on the fourth-down stop. Florida would get the ball but immediately faced a 1st-and-25. The penalty also meant that the Gator offense started outside of field-goal position.
Florida wound up punting and never got the ball back again.
It’s a pity the offense couldn’t get the job done. The Bulldogs offense looked inept, and the Gators had several opportunities to take the lead or tie the game.
In the end, the team was its own worse enemy. On the other hand, Georgia head coach Mark Richt was just happy to get the win:
UGA coach Mark Richt on surviving close wins: "It makes you wonder if this is a good way to make a living."
—Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) November 3, 2013
It’s also a way that will eventually catch up to you if you keep it up.