Sunday, November 2, 2014

UF Football: Florida Gators Stun #11 Georgia Bulldogs

Well isn't this something. For the first time in three years, the Florida Gators have defeated the Georgia Bulldogs after winning today's contest 38-20. I had confidence the Gators would play well but I did not think they would run all over #11 Georgia.

Led by Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor, the Gators gashed the Bulldogs defense with 418 total rushing yards in the game. Jones had 192 yards and two touchdowns and Taylor had 197 yards and two touchdowns as well.

The passing game was nonexistent today as true freshman Treon Harris only threw the ball SIX times. As a guy who has criticized Jeff Driskel the whole year, I feel like this is a slap in the face to him. As if benching Jeff for a true freshman was not bad enough, the coaching staff also felt the need to never throw the ball.

If a coach is going to devise a game plan that is heavily run-oriented, then really anybody should be able to play QB. Sure Treon ran for 37 yards, but that's all he did with his legs. He completed just three passes for 27 yards. Do you really expect me to believe that Jeff, AT THE LEAST, cannot do that? It is coaching decisions like this that reinforce my theory from another article of mine that poor coaching destroyed all of Jeff Driskel's football potential.

Like always, the Gators defense played a huge role in the victory despite forcing just one turnover. Linebacker Antonio Morrison had a great game as he racked up 15 tackles. The defensive line got after Georgia QB Hutson Mason as they sacked him three times. Dante Fowler, Darious Cummings, and Bryan Cox get credit for each of these sacks. Vernon Hargreaves III and his secondary blew no coverages today while successfully breaking up seven passes.

The highlight of this game came from special teams. Trailing in the second quarter by a touchdown, it looked like Florida was going to attempt a field goal on fourth down and nine. As the ball was hiked, holder Michael McNeely tucked the ball and made a mad dash for the end zone. He ran in untouched and Georgia had no idea what had just hit them.

This play sparked the Gators as they went on a 31-0 run before Georgia scored again. This was indeed a special moment for the redshirt senior McNeely, who walked on to the team in 2011. In the actual kicking portion of special teams, kicker Frankie Velez made his only a kick of the day for 21 yards. Kyle Christy, as usual, balled out as he punted five times for 230 yards. He averaged 46.0 yards per punt and pinned Georgia inside the 20-yard line twice!

This is a great win for the Florida Gators! Anytime a team ends a losing streak against a rival, it is a rewarding feeling for both the team and its fan base. However, this win does not change my views on Will Muschamp. His victory over Georgia today now puts him at just 1-3 against the Bulldogs. Even Ron Zook, one of the worst coaches in Gator history, found a way to muster a 2-1 record against Georgia.

I have always been a person who thinks about the long-term. Yes, this victory against Georgia is awesome and I am happy they defeated one of their arch rivals, but that still does not mean Muschamp's job is any safer than it was after the Missouri debacle. The Gators cannot expect to keep winning games by relying solely on the ground game and defense.

At some point they are going to need their quarterback, whether it's Jeff or Treon, to step up and lead a drive down the field in crunch time. If anyone can recall the South Carolina game from last year, the Gators ran a gimmick offense all game so that Skyler Mornhinweg would not have to throw the ball too much in his first start.

When the Gators went down late in that game and needed a fourth quarter drive that could have potentially won the game, Mornhinweg threw an interception. I do not fault him at all for this because the offense took on a conservative/do not throw the ball unless absolutely necessary approach. The Gators can get away with this style of play against Vanderbilt, Eastern Kentucky, and maybe even South Carolina in The Swamp.

Against FSU in Tallahassee though, some type of passing better game better exist because I can promise you FSU WILL shut down the running game. I may dislike the Seminoles with a burning passion, but I know a great team when I see it. They always seem to be ripping off 15+ yards per pass play.

I would kill to have an offense capable of throwing the ball deep! It seems when I watch literally any other team in college football, they can throw the ball with ease. Heck, even true freshman Brad Kaaya for the Miami Hurricanes is able to complete some deep passes here and there!

Will Muschamp is being heralded as a hero now by the same people who were booing him and chanting "Fire Muschamp" in The Swamp just two weeks earlier. I am not saying everyone is doing this, but there are definitely people who are being fair weather.

People can call me what they want. They can say I am negative and a downer because I am more concerned about Florida's future than their win over the hated Georgia Bulldogs. They can call me a fair weather fan because I left games early last year and left the Missouri game early this year to watch Notre Dame/FSU (and also do laundry).

I may seem fair weather, but I am also a realist. I want what is best for the team moving forward and I strongly believe that Will Muschamp is not the best option as a head coach. I think he is a great individual off the field who makes sure that his athletes are staying out of trouble. If possible, I would love for Florida to keep him around as the team's defensive coordinator. As it stands now though, I do not think he has the mindset or attributes to be a successful head coach, especially in a division as touch as the SEC.

The Gators brought it today because they were playing a rival. They also had two weeks to prepare and did not have to deal with Georgia's star running back Todd Gurley, who was suspended for this game because of his autograph situation. I did say I believed the Gators would compete and I stand by that. In rivalry games, anything can happen. It's just the aura that comes with them.

We will find out how many steps this now 4-3 Gator team has taken forward when they head to Nashville, Tennessee, next Saturday to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-6, 0-5 in SEC play). This game can be seen on the SEC Network at 7 p.m.

The Georgia Bulldogs, still recovering from the shockwave delivered to them in this game, should expect to fall quite a ways in the polls after their loss today. Once the initial hurt wears off, the Bulldogs will focus on their road game against the Kentucky Wildcats (5-4, 2-4 in SEC play). Game time is at 12 p.m. and this will be the last game that Todd Gurley has to sit out.

*All stats accredited to

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