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Notebook: Slim hopes alive

GAINESVILLE -- Late Saturday night, Gators safety Cody Riggs went wild with newfound optimism.

No. 10 Missouri’s shocking overtime loss to 14 South Carolina opened the door for the Gators to (technically) reenter the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division race as a longshot to reach Atlanta. 

“I went crazy. I was jumping around the house,” Riggs said. “I actually called [teammate] Jaylen Watkins and was like, ‘We’re back in it. We’re back. We still have a chance.’ So, thanks South Carolina, but we have to have to handle our business first. A couple of things have to go right, but we still have hope.”

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(Cody Riggs | courtsey isportsweb.com)

Florida must win out (vs. Georgia in Jacksonville, home against Vanderbilt and at South Carolina) and have Missouri lose two of its remaining conference games (vs. Tennessee, at Ole Miss and vs. Texas A&M).  

“We never really lost belief,” quarterback Tyler Murphy said. “[Missouri’s loss] Worked out in our favor, but at the same time we’re kind of just really focused on beating Georgia.  

“If we win out and things play out where we can win the East, you know, we’ll be very, very happy, but we’re just focused on beating Georgia.”

Coach Will Muschamp echoed Murphy’s centered approach moving forward.

“We just need to focus on Florida in this game and what our opponent does well and what we’re gonna try and take advantage of in this game. Not worry about all the other stuff at this point. We just need to concentrate on us right now.”

INJURY REPORT

Murphy (AC shoulder sprain) did not throw during Florida’s idle week, but fourth-year junior is expected to resume normal practice activities this week and start Saturday against Georgia.

Elsewhere, redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell (ankle) remains questionable, while senior linebacker Darrin Kitchens (shoulder) and redshirt freshman tight end Colin Thompson (foot) are doubtful for this weekend. 

QUOTABLE – 0-FER

"0-2 as a head coach. …None of it is fun, but certainly being here at the University of Florida and understanding the importance of this game to us and our people, we need to get a win."

-- Will Muschamp on which is worse: Being 0-4 as a player (with Georgia) or 0-2 as a head coach in the SEC East rivalry.

THIS & THAT
For just the third time in 33 years (1980, 2010), both Florida (4-3, 3-2 SEC) and Georgia (4-3, 3-2 SEC) are unranked entering Saturday’s showdown. … Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was named one of 15 semifinalists -- and the lone freshman -- for the Jim Thorpe Award. … UF’s homecoming game against Vanderbilt (Nov. 9) will kickoff at noon and will be televised on either ESPNU or Fox Sports. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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