GAINESVILLE — Florida interim mentor Greg Knox did not check out to sugarcoat the Gators’ sloppy 24-21 victory about Florida Point out on Saturday.
“Was it our best? No,” Knox stated. “But it was a earn, and it was a fantastic get.”
All wins are great ones in a rivalry, specifically a third consecutive just one that also you suitable for a bowl video game.
But this a person? It was simultaneously unsightly and amazing.
The unpleasant was evident. UF (6-6) was penalized a few instances on the initial push and 13 times in excess of the match. Emory Jones threw 3 very first-50 percent interceptions, which include just one in the close zone. The Gators also fumbled a snap and strike a kickoff out of bounds.
But dismiss the grim details, and the end result itself was extraordinary.
The Gators and Seminoles (5-7) entered Ben Hill Griffin Stadium likely reverse instructions. FSU had demonstrated constant advancement in Mike Norvell’s 2nd period, capped off with a thrilling rivalry gain around Miami and a gritty victory at Boston College. They looked as if they had been headed the proper way.
UF, having said that, was reeling with 4 losses in its previous five game titles. The Gators fired coach Dan Mullen final week and canned two top assistants 3 months back. They had been clearly headed the completely wrong way.
Enjoying for a bowl game and delight, the Gators found a way to acquire. Which is a thing they could not do very last 7 days at Missouri or last thirty day period at Kentucky. Instead of spiraling further or quitting in, UF practiced loose for the duration of the week and played tricky Saturday.
The lasting minute will be FSU whiffing on an onside kick that could have provided the Seminoles one particular a lot more shot at victory (or at the very least additional time). The Whiff at the Griff does not have the identical ring as Large Proper or the Block at Tough Rock, but it will go down as one particular of the greatest distinctive-groups blunders in FSU background.
But the lasting graphic? That really should be a furious Dameon Pierce acquiring his helmet blown off in the fourth quarter but continuing to rumble into the stop zone.
“I just knew I was three yards from the landing, so I obtained there,” Pierce stated.
It did not count continuing to engage in without having a helmet was, you guessed it, an additional UF penalty. But Pierce completed the drive off with a landing operate in his remaining match at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
UF’s protection showed grit, far too. FSU needed 15 plays (which include penalties) within the 30 to rating on its ultimate drive. Eleven of them have been inside the crimson zone.
Of course, the Gators extended the travel with go interference and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. But they also retained FSU out of the finish zone very long plenty of to salt the game absent. Defensive finish Brenton Cox was in particular dominant all day with four sacks and a forced fumble.
“I could see it in his eyes,” Knox reported. “I read his system language, and I understood coming into this game now he was likely to perform. And he did.”
So did the relaxation of the Gators. Anthony Richardson came again from a tweaked knee to toss a landing off the bench. Defensive again Jason Marshall had an interception. Jesuit Large alumnus Malik Davis broke two tackles on a 3rd-and-21 conversion.
The overall performance alone was nowhere near the form of higher-degree game titles these groups are supposed to enjoy. But in the ultimate sport of a year that began with assure and finished in chaos, the Gators observed a way to FSU. And that still matters.
On Saturday, it was all that mattered.
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