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Mullen coached despite emergency surgery

GAINESVILLE -- Before we take a closer look at Auburn 20, Florida 17, Gator Clause must first address more important things than winning and losing. Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen should be commended for his dedication to Florida football. The 36-year-old assistant called plays from the Gators' coaching booth on Saturday night despite undergoing an emergency appendectomy around 2 a.m. on Saturday. Mullen had a quite a scare but he is doing fine. What a trooper, right?

-Florida is probably wishing it had recruited Auburn kicker Wes Byrum right about now. Byrum, a Fort Lauderdale native who attended St. Thomas Aquinas, kicked the Tigers' game-winning field goal to end the game. Those Gator chomps Byrum offered a shocked Ben Hill Griffin Stadium probably weren't necessary. Each of the last four meetings between Florida and Auburn have been decided in the games' final minutes. Byrum was asked after the game if his dream was to kick a game-winning field goal against Florida, Florida State or Miami. Byrum said no. His dream was to kick a game-winning field goal against Lakeland. St. Thomas lost to Lakeland in three consecutive Class 5A state championships.

-Florida freshman free safety Major Wright (also a St. Thomas alum) made his first career start on Saturday. For a few minutes in the second half it appeared that his forced fumble was going to be the play of the game.

-Auburn held Florida scoreless in the first half. The last time that happened was way back in 1992 against South Carolina. Florida trailed the Gamecocks 3-0 at the break but won the game 14-9.

-Tim Tebow's rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter was his eighth of the season. That ties a school record for rushing touchdowns by a Florida quarterback in a single season.

-Tebow passed for 201 yards. He has now passed for at least 200 yards in every game this season. The sophomore quarterback rushed for 75 yards. He has now rushed for at least 60 yards in his last four games.

-Anyone expect Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox to throw for more yards than Tebow? Not me. Cox had 227 passing yards.

-Penalties continue to be a problem for Florida. The Gators were flagged seven times on Saturday for 44 yards. The worst mistakes came on special teams. Jamar Hornsby ran into Auburn's punter in the first quarter, extending the Tigers' drive. Auburn then marched down the field for its first touchdown. A procedural penalty (not enough players on the line of scrimmage) ruined the Gators' fake punt attempt in the third quarter. Of course, Wright's forced fumble two plays later canceled out that mistake.

-Florida's defense did well for most the third and fourth quarters but couldn't stop Auburn when it mattered most. The Tigers gained three crucial first downs to set up Byrum's 43-yard field goal.

-Was anyone other than me surprised on the option call to Kestahn Moore on second down of the Gators' final drive?

-You've got to feel bad for Florida receiver Andre Caldwell. After missing two weeks with a sprained knee, Caldwell returned to action on Saturday only to pull a hamstring. Florida coach Urban Meyer hopes to have Caldwell back for next week's visit to Baton Rouge, La.

-Percy Harvin had another impressive game. Harvin caught seven passes for 119 yards, including an amazing catch in the fourth quarter than set up Florida's game-trying score (two-yard run by Tebow). (In case you haven't caught on, I've been kidding about Harvin being weak. He might be Florida's toughest player.)

-Florida has plenty of work to do this week in preparation for LSU. Getting more offensive skill players involved seems like a high priority.



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