TALLAHASSEE -- Another gut-wrenching loss. Another game full of self-inflcited wounds and "what could've been(s)."
A fitting finale for Will Muschamp and a microcosm of his rollercoaster four-year tenure.
The Gators fell to No. 1 Florida State 24-19, a failed upset bid emblematic in why they're searching for a new coach.
OFFENSE – F
Tevin Westbrook’s drop changed the game’s momentum, as the Gators’ inept offense never truly cashed in on three first-quarter interceptions. Two field goals don’t suffice against the top-ranked team in the country … on the road.
The Gators couldn’t run the ball (3.4 yards per carry) against the Seminoles’ 45th-ranked rush defense and quarterback Treon Harris was wildly inaccurate (13 of 32), again.
Harris’ wheels were the team’s most potent threat, yet coordinator Kurt Roper curiously shied away from calling many designed quarterback runs.
Demarcus Robinson and Brandon Powell both had explosive catches (42 yards, each), but Florida became obsessed with throwing bombs despite Harris’ wildness and the visible openings underneath.
DEFENSE – A
FSU turned the football over five times, as Florida’s defense (especially the secondary) harassed quarterback Jameis Winston most of the day.
The Gators became the first team in the country this season to lose after picking off four passes. Winton’s final pick -- a ridiculous one-handed snag by Brian Poole -- wasn’t returned for a touchdown because Poole cut inside instead of out. Florida failed to score on the next position. You can’t make this stuff up.
Seminoles tight end Nick O’Leary had two nifty touchdown grabs, and Dalvin Cook impressed, but UF yielded just 17 points and 306 total yards.
It should’ve been enough, but wasn't.
SPECIAL TEAMS – B+
Austin Hardin, who supplanted Frankie Velez as the team’s first-string kicker two weeks ago, drilled a career-long 52-yarder in the first quarter.
In all, he nailed his first four field goals before pushing two just wide right to end the game. The Gators (although not technically) blocked a punt, and their coverage units were outstanding.
Kyle Christy was good again (46.3 yards on three punts), too.
OVERALL – C
The Gators could’ve, should’ve, would've knocked off the Seminoles and ended the 27-game winning streak. But they didn’t.
Too many missed chances and Florida’s usual toxic combo of penalties, toothless offense and random defensive breakdowns (FSU’s 97-yard drive) proved insurmountable. Again.
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