UF

Florida Gators playing for pride

 

With the SEC title out of reach and a BCS berth gone, the Gators said they won’t quit on the season as they try to reach bowl eligibility.

 
University of Florida coach Will Muschamp gestures during Saturday's loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville on Nov. 2, 2013.
University of Florida coach Will Muschamp gestures during Saturday's loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville on Nov. 2, 2013.
Sam Greenwood / Getty Images

Miami Herald Writer

After weeks of questionable bluster and bravado, the Gators have officially resigned to reality.

Following Saturday’s 23-20 loss to Georgia, the Gators finally stopped talking about their long-shot Southeastern Conference Championship aspirations.

There will be no trip to Atlanta. No snapping a two-game losing streak to a division archrival and — with a date looming with No. 2 Florida State — likely no winning any state bragging rights.

The 2013 season is lost for the once-mighty Gators, and a proud program is now in the desperate position of having to beat Vanderbilt on homecoming to probably reach bowl eligibility.

Just a year removed from an 11-1 regular season and BCS berth, coach Will Muschamp’s team is reeling and simply playing for pride now.

“We’re going to fight until the last game of the season,” redshirt junior tailback Mack Brown said. “No quit.”

The Gators (4-4, 3-3 SEC) — on a three-game losing streak for the second time in three seasons — must win twice in their remaining four games just to reach bowl eligibility.

Florida hosts Vanderbilt on Saturday before traveling to No. 12 South Carolina. The Gators finish the season in The Swamp against FCS Georgia Southern (Nov. 19) and the suddenly unstoppable Seminoles (Nov. 26).

Quarterback Tyler Murphy said the season “stinks,” and that he never imagined the year unraveling so quickly.

“We’ll do our best and try and knock everybody else off,” Murphy said dejectedly Saturday.

Muschamp believes his team won’t quit — and a valiant second-half comeback against the Bulldogs is at least the first indicator.

The Gators, according to Muschamp, will rally around the orange and blue.

“They’re upset and hurt, but we’ll rebound and be fine,” Muschamp said.

“You rally around the fact that your play at the University of Florida. It’s a great place to play football. You have a very close locker room, and guys play for each other. That’s a lot for those guys. They understand that. It’s frustrating and they’re down and they hurt, but at the end of the day guys got a lot of pride and they’re competitors. They’re going to go out and compete, and they’re going to play well.”

Murphy echoed Muschamp’s message, saying, “There’s no team out there I’d rather be a part of than this 4-4 team.”

But for a second November in three years, Florida is resigned to silver linings and moral victories and no longer talking about going to Atlanta.

Read more UF stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Leaping for more: </span>Florida running back Matt Jones jumps over teammate Clay Burton during the second quarter of Saturday’s game. Jones scored the game-winning touchdown in the third overtime.

    UF 36, Kentucky 30 (3OT)

    UF narrowly escapes at home as Gators struggle with Kentucky Wildcats

    Kentucky — losers of 28 in a row against UF — nearly stunned the Gators, but Florida’s electric sophomore receiver Demarcus Robinson single-handily shredded the Wildcats’ secondary for 15 catches, 216 yards and two touchdowns as UF escaped 36-30 in triple overtime Saturday night in The Swamp.

  •  
Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators yells during the second half of the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Gainesville, Florida.

    UF football

    Florida Gators’ tough win reveals problems in defensive backfield

    Florida’s inexperienced defensive backfield was shaky, getting burned repeatedly during a triple-overtime victory against Kentucky.

  • Recap: Florida vs. Kentucky

    Matt Jones scored on a one-yard touchdown run in triple-overtime to lift the Florida Gators to a 36-30 win over the Kentucky Wildcats in a SEC thriller at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category