First Half Lead Evaporates as the Florida Gators Lose 5th Consecutive Game

The Florida Gators won the first half on Saturday against the South Carolina Gamecocks 14-6. Two weeks ago, they won the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs 17-0. The real story, however, lies in the other halves of each of those games. For the second time in the last three games, the Gators couldn’t put together 60 minutes of football and as a result now sit at 4-6 after a fifth-straight loss.

Skyler Mornhinweg - Florida Gators

There was hope in this one. It wasn’t the hope of coming from behind for a change. No, this time around, there was hope because of the lead the Gators had put together. Florida’s offense looked like it had pulled all of the pages out of Navy’s playbook. There was motion everywhere and handoffs left and right to backs going in every possible direction. And for a few moments it actually seemed to work.

Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor had a season-high 21 carries, a season-high 96 yards, and (you guessed it) a season-high two touchdowns. He looked, as he has for most of the season even when running behind a pieced-together offensive line, every bit the star he was projected to be. In a season where good feelings have become a thing of the past, Taylor is a bright light guiding us to a promising future. He was fun to watch when he was in high school and he’s fun to watch in orange and blue.

But all good things must come to an end and Taylor’s productive first half gave way to a second half during which South Carolina’s defense tightened. Not having to worry much about the Gators’ passing game, the Gamecocks could key on slowing the running game. That defense did its job, shutting out Florida for the final 30 minutes. In reality, the Gators last score came with 10:51 remaining in the second quarter. 19:09 – 14 points; 40:51 – 0 points. The seemingly hot start cooled rapidly.

In the end, you need a passing game to compliment the running game and Florida just didn’t have it. Down to their third quarterback (who might actually be their fourth; no point in wasting Max Staver’s redshirt), the Gators gave Skyler Mornhinweg the start. Mornhinweg managed the offense effectively when it was focused on running the ball. When he was asked to pass, the offense struggled.

A quick look at Mornhinweg’s numbers might show you they weren’t all that bad, and maybe they weren’t. Completing 10 of your 13 attempts is a good thing. Averaging 8.2 yards per attempt isn’t awful either. Look deeper though. Eight of those attempts came in the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter when South Carolina had a bend but don’t break mentality. The Gamecocks had taken the lead with 6:43 remaining and wanted to keep it. Basically, play safe and don’t give up the big play.

Mornhinweg did complete five of those final eight attempts, but his incompletions (and even his completions) showed his arm strength may not be enough to consistently sling the ball around the SEC. He wasn’t able to hit receivers in stride and his interception was underthrown. Chalk it up to the fact that Mornhinweg was thrust into a less-than-ideal and completely unexpected situation. Regardless, there’s work to do. With two games remaining, he may be it and there will be more passes.

That’s not to put any of the blame on Mornhinweg. The Gators didn’t lose their sixth game because of the first-time starter (and even player). They lost because there’s only so much the struggling offense can do for so long. They lost because made field goals are a thing of the past. They lost because the planned offense hasn’t been working and the makeshift one had little more than a few moments of success. All together, they just lost.

For a few minutes, I actually thought the Gators had this one. There was a feeling in the air before the game. I can’t explain where that feeling came from and why it was there, but it was present. That feeling was that we could actually win this one. No one expected anything out of the Gators and many picked the Gamecocks to roll. But there was that feeling that just maybe, just win. It was there when the Gators entered the locker room leading 14-6. And it was there when the defense stopped Mike Davis on fourth down in the fourth quarter to hold on to a 14-13 lead. But it would evaporate into exhaustion as South Carolina later claimed the lead and then the win.

Sports are funny in that just when everyone expects something, the opposite happens. They are also funny in that just when you get that feeling that the improbable will happen, it doesn’t and expectations are met. For part of this game, the Gators were going to win and do what many thought they couldn’t. Then regularity set in and they lost, heading back down the path toward 5-7. It was sports being funny again in that painful laughing sort of way.

Before the five game losing streak, the Gators were 4-1 with a 3-0 SEC record. The lone loss came to a surging Miami team and could hardly be considered a bad defeat. Then the streak began. Florida has lost those five in a row to fall to 4-6 (3-5 SEC) and even that Miami team has lost three in row, the latest to Duke. As things get worse, 2014 can’t get here soon enough.

For some, 2014 has become 2015. There are those still screaming for Will Muschamp’s head. They’ll do so for the final two weeks of the 2013 season, into the offseason, and during every game during the 2014 season. They have every right to; fans should be fanatical. After last week’s vote of confidence from Jeremy Foley, those screams may have fallen on deaf ears though. For all we know right now, Muschamp isn’t going anywhere and he will lead the Gators in 2014. Some of us can accept it and some of us just have to deal with it. Whether it was the right decision or not will be told through the story of next season.

For now, the Gators move on to a home game against Georgia Southern. A game that truly is one Florida is supposed to win. Anything could happen and because of that even games like this make us nervous. We don’t know what to expect from the offense and have nightmares of actually losing to one of these so-called “cupcake” opponents.

One week from now, the talk will have shifted to the hated Florida State Seminoles, but we mustn’t go there so soon. Florida has another game to play before the likely undefeated ‘Noles come to Gainesville. That game must be planned for and has to be won. There are must wins and there are those that you just don’t lose. The upcoming game is the latter.

About The Bull Gator

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52 Responses to First Half Lead Evaporates as the Florida Gators Lose 5th Consecutive Game

  1. Big Ed says:

    “Some of us can accept it and some of us just have to deal with it.”…..Obviously we have to accept it as only Foley has the decision and we as fans cannot change his decision….

    After watching this crap all year, I really never thought they had this one. They just are not a very good football team. That is what some fans cannot accept. This team is very close to being the doormat of the SEC. This is what some fans cannot accept. The head coach is struggling and the immediate future does not look too bright. This is what some fans cannot accept.

    But, oh wait. I am told by Mushmouth to get a grip. His team struggles and is an absolute mess, and he is lashing out at me, a fan, for suggesting maybe he should be let go. No, I have not bashed any players as they have been coached to 4-6 record. This program is quickly becoming a joke.

    How much better next year must tUF be for him to be around in 2015?

    • One of the many problems with going 5-7 is the answer to your next question. We don’t want 8-4 and losing even 4 games can be downright disgusting to us as Florida fans, but 8-4 is also a three-game improvement. So I’ll answer like this…

      If Muschamp wins 9 games, he definitely gets 2015. If he wins 8, he probably does too, but then it depends on how the 4 losses happened. Was there progress? Are we talking bad losses? Is talent coming in? Did injuries play a part?

      Many will say “the record might not matter in 2014 as long as there’s visible improvement.” I don’t completely buy that because you don’t keep your job consistently being the “best 7-5 team.” The record matters and it should definitely matter in 2014.

      For now, I’ll say 9-3 = stays, 8-4 = on the fence, 7-5 = well, he better hope those 5 losses were to top-10 teams by 1 point each.

    • As for his “get a grip” comment, I may have more on that later or I may not, but I will say it’s NEVER a good idea for a coach to say anything that might be perceived to be negative toward fans. NEVER. Regardless of how it’s spun, saying negative things toward fans (unless there’s some odd circumstance) never ends well.

      • Big Ed says:

        It is just more of the same from him. The angry face on the sidelines, having a potty mouth, punching a chalkboard, yelling at a fan on the field (after a loss), etc. All of that is good to a point as maybe it shows the players he has a fire or passion, but the players supposedly liked the Zooker as well. Fire and passion from the head coach do not win football games – knowing your X’s and O’s wins and he is lost. The team he coaches is in shambles and he is lashing out. Why not just shut up and coach?

        Bottom line is he has not shown the ability to be a head coach of a consistently competitive team in the SEC. Yes, they won 11 games last year. I hope they win at least 11 more next year, whether he is coach or not. How many Gator fans think that will happen?

        He has a huge ego and I am not sure why. Again, the chicken playing tic tac toe at the state fair could honestly do just as good of a job coaching this offense. Just sit back and seriously consider that they have not cracked the top 100 offenses in the country under him.

        Admit you are clueless and let whatever OC you have do his thing. The same goes for special teams.

        But I better watch myself as I am close to losing my grip here…..

        • Well, some of the players liked Zook. There were many that didn’t say a word after he was fired and refused to comment. His supporters were so vocal that everyone assumed the entire roster liked him. That wasn’t the case. There were those that were very happy to see him go.

        • How many Gators fans thought we would 11 in 2012?

          Not arguing with you, just making a point. People that say they honestly thought the Gators would win 11 in 2012 are lying.

          • Big Ed says:

            Not arguing with you either. How many current players support Mushmouth? How many would be vocal if he were let go? I am sure many there would be some who would be happy to see Mushmouth go as well…

            Going back and forth about Zook, and players, and fans expectations is one thing, but what about the offensive numbers mentioned? They really cannot be argued…..

            I feel much better now about the state of the program as Mushmouth showed heart and fire by punching that chalkboard. Just wait, recruits will be lined up begging to play for him, and I am sure the team will be more than ready for Georgia Southern and FSU because of it…

            Maybe UF could get a picture of the punched chalkboard and the bandaged and bloodied hand and put it next to the plaque with the speech from Tebow. Of course the caption would be get a grip…..

            • Why is everyone so focused on the chalkboard punch as a negative thing? It’s football. He wasn’t the first to do something like that and he won’t be the last. We only know about it because of the bandage. Whether I like or don’t like the guy, that changes nothing in my opinion. It’s been blown out of proportion.

              • Big Ed says:

                It did not chane my position or perception of him either, it just solidified what I have thought of him. He of the aforementioned “fire and passion”, but no real depth of knowledge in regards to being a head coach.

                Chalkboard aside, he is in over his head….

                • Big Ed says:

                  And just to clarify, I was lumping in the “get a grip” comment with the chalkboard bashing. I guess those two incidents could be viewed as being exclusive of one another….

                  • The get a grip comment has been taken out of context by a lot as well. He was saying it in terms of fans bashing individual players. Not just fans in general or even those bashing him. I think you mentioned something about that above too.

                    • Big Ed says:

                      As you mentioned earlier, it is never a good idea for a coach to bash the fan base. If he can lash out, then he must expect fans to do the same. And since we are on the topic, what fans have been bashing players? Most, if not completely all, of the the negative commenst/posts/stories I have read has pretty much been relgated to the coaching staff.

                    • Plenty have. Have you been to any games this year? It’s not just people booing Muschamp or Pease. It’s people yelling at Driskel, Christy, etc. Security had to come calm a guy down yelling at Christy when we were at the Arkansas game. There are plenty out there bashing the players just as much. That’s why Muschamp said what he said. He lashed out at those attacking the players. It is happening, whether you read it or not.

  2. FSSHOES says:

    Mushmouth is a decent coach. Imo The injuries are always a problem, but when program recruits well year after year there should be plenty of depth. The only position that is critical in this instance for most teams is the QB. Other than that, a team shouldn’t nose dive like this one did. Speaking of depth, There is no amount of little trick plays that will put enough points on the board to keep up with FSU.

    • Big Ed says:

      I thought Mushmouth was an elite defensive coach? If so, then FSU should not put up many points and UF should be able to stay close.

    • The biggest issue (injuries or not) with the QB is, that since Tebow left, we haven’t had a QB that fit the current system. Brantley didn’t fit Meyer’s and Driskel doesn’t fit whatever you want to call what we have now. Yes, there are serious coaching issues, but we’re banging our heads against a wall constantly trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

      Just think for a minute (and possibly get sick to your stomach) what might have been with Newton after Tebow and Brissett after that. They two that got away were better for the systems than the guys that stuck around.

      • Big Ed says:

        It is not all about getting the 5 star guy. You recruit players who fit your team mentality (system), and then coach them. Coach them and coach them and coach them. Mushmouth cannot do that, at least on the offensive side of the ball.

        I am not banging my head trying to fit the square peg into the round hole, the coaches are. And they are being paid millions to do so. You see, I see it, but Mushmouth cannot, or at least he cannot see it with his ego in the way.

        Yeah, FSU not piling up points is a pipe dream. THAT IS MY POINT! That is the state of the team, expecting crap results, and he is a defensive coach. IF he is such a talented defensive mind, could it be possible that he comes up with a great game plan (at home mind you) and at least keep is close? Nobody belives he can, including you and me. This is the state of UF football, execting crap…….

        • That’s the state that you choose to go with…expecting crap. I don’t. I’m realistic, yes, but I don’t go into each game believing we are going to blow every minute of the 60 before it. We had a shot and the players played their hearts out against South Carolina.

          Regardless of being paid millions and being a defensive coach, FSU has an amazing offense this year. They are good. Even if we were sitting at 9-2 right now, I’d be worried about stopping them. Has it happened before? Sure. We stopped the juggernaut that was Oklahoma in the NC, but overall that team had more established defensive talent. We have the talent now, but injuries and youth have shown through.

          Blame Muschamp for everything all you want, but the reason we are 4-6 isn’t 100% him. There are a lot of factors that go into it.

          • Yosemite Sam says:

            Wrong. Muschamp is the reason we are now 4-7. Don’t try to sugar coat it or polish the turd that is this season. Muschamp stinks. He was outcoached today, again.

            • I’m not sugar coating anything. Let’s try this again…I’m bringing up counterpoints for discussion. Big Ed brings up great points and I say “what about this?” and he brings up further points. It’s been happening for a while now.

              The biggest problem right now with the Florida fanbase is that each side hates each other. Muschamp haters hate those supporting him. Those that support him hate the haters. Those simply sparking discussion (like me) are branded one or the other and jumped on. Each side has points and each side has a right to voice whatever opinion they want, but for whatever reason fans OF THE SAME TEAM have decided to hate each other. It’s sickening.

              • Yosemite Sam says:

                I don’t hate the others. I just happen to believe that Muschamp and his whole situation is indefensible. Not sure where you got “hate” from. Perhaps my keystrokes sounded angry?

                • Not you as much as in general. There are plenty of Gators fans out there that hate each other. It’s pathetic. Sorry, but like your other comment about running off the bullshitter, etc. Why? People can’t have different opinions? Considering I don’t even necessarily disagree with you? What’s the point? We’re all Florida fans here.

  3. FSSHOES says:

    I watched Brissett in HS. I thought he was grear QB with alot of heart. I was suprised to see the treatment he got from the Gator staff.

  4. Big Ed says:

    I think Driskel can be a much better player than he has shown. In my opinion, the coaching staff has limited his skill set. He was a mobile QB coming out of high school, and it seemed that was not a huge part of the game plan
    for him. You had th think one or the other would transfer, as whoever did not get the starting nod would not want to ride the pine…..

    • Of course one would transfer. Everyone knew that from day one. They all knew that with Newton and Brantley too. That was not part of the game plan because he was never their recruit. He was Meyer’s. That’s why Weis went out and got Brissett as well. Two very different quarterbacks. It was odd enough when it happened that we wanted both on the roster. In the end, we went with the one that they believed gave us the best opportunity to win. I agree with you in that I believe he can be much better than he has shown, but Grier’s skill set fits what they seem to want to do better. There’s no way around that. Now, if we do have a new OC next year, who knows what will happen.

  5. Is everyone else seeing the comments get really narrow as more replies are added?

    • Big Ed says:

      I also see your defense of Mushmouth gets larger as more comments are posted…

      Yeah, I have “been to a game” this year. There have always been and always will be fans yelling at games. I am sure Mushmouth heard every one of them. Read the articles and read the posts on this site and others – the VAST majority are dealing with the coaching staff, not the players…

      In my opinion, Mushmouth is frustrated with the losing and the current state of the team. He was lashing out in response to the said frustration. I get it, but the way he chose to do it was wrong, in my opinion….

      Applying your logic, then the 11-2 team was not all him. There must have been other factors going into the season…..

      It starts and stops with the Head Coach, and his millions in salary…

      Yes, they played a good game against SC, better than I thought. But a loss is a loss, and 7 losses is 7 losses. And no bowl game is no bowl game

      • How is me saying people also criticize the players defending Muschamp? He said get a grip to the fans that criticize players, not to the fans that are upset at him or in general. That’s not defending him, that’s just stating what was said.

        And, yes, there were other factors that went into 11-2 than just him. There were others than just Urban or Spurrier when we won titles. Come on man, you know full well it’s not 100% the coach when we lose and it’s not 100% the coach when we win. Hate the guy all you want, but there is no magic coach that would make things better just because of the coach. There’s much more than just that that goes into it.

        Any coach heading up the football team will be making millions, that’s nothing we can ever stop. Foley chose to pay him that and continues to choose to do so. I’m not defending Muschamp or Foley, but that’s a dead argument at the moment.

      • And to that point, what if I was actually defending him? And saying I think he should be the coach for not one more year, but two or three? So what? In that case, you can continue not supporting him, but I can’t defend him?

        As I’ve said numerous times, I’m not defending him, but I’m also not immediately calling for his head. Most of this is me bringing up counterpoints because they are out there.

      • Anyway Ed, enjoy the week. I’m off on vacation. Hopefully this Saturday shows up something. Who knows.

        • Big Ed says:

          I never said I hated the guy and I never said there was/is anything wrong with defending the guy. I am just saying in my opinion he appears to be lost and in over his head as a head coach. You can obviously choose to agree or disagree with it.

          TO ME, being paid millions should demand results. Sure, lots of things go into having a successful football season and overall successful program, but the Head Coach is obviously very important, henve the hefty salary.

          Enjoy your vacation…..

          At least the story from Tallahassee grows more interesting……

          • Yosemite Sam says:

            Wow. I think you ran off the Bullsh!tter.

          • I wish (and this is another one of those pipe dreams because it’ll never happen), we would start guys at a lower scale when it came to their salary based on what they’re coming in with in terms of experience. Muschamp, for instance, had no head coaching experience, but already makes a ton. Unfortunately, we’ll never see a reasonable scale happen because of the size of the program/school. I would love to see these guys earn the $4-5 million instead of it just being given to them because this is the University of Florida and that’s what expected at this point.

  6. Big Ed says:

    “. Hopefully this Saturday shows up something. Who knows.”…….


    • That was just…wow. I didn’t even get the score update until almost midnight here. No words. Can’t imagine what it looked like at the end.

      • Big Ed says:

        At the end? It looked horrific the whole game. Zero passing yards against you and you get pummeled at home. I urge you, very strongly, to watch Mushmouth’s post game press conference. What a complete and total ass.

        In now way, shape, or form should this clown still he Head Coach at UF. Utterly ridiculous…..

        • Big Ed says:

          And yes, my typing skills are lacking, but I am trying to get a grip on them…..

        • Yosemite Sam says:

          Not sure about that “end” comment. Those who want to give Muschamp “one more year” are delusional and must not be witnessing this dumpster fire in it’s totality.

          • I meant the end of the game. I didn’t get to watch it. I meant I can’t imagine what it looked like at the end of the game.

            • Yosemite Sam says:

              Imagine a monkey trying hump a football. With a timeout after an incomplete pass.

            • Big Ed says:

              Yeah, I get it. And I meant it looked HORRID the ENTIRE game, not just at the end. Just like this entire year has been HORRID. Coaches are lost, and it is a complete joke that Mushmouth knows he is staying. He is an egotistical ass.The defense was terrible and all he says is how good GSU’s offense is.

              App State (4-8) handled them, Wofford (5-6) handled them, Furman (7-5) handled them, and a great Samford (8-4) handled them. Yet Mushmouth praises the great GSU offense. The UF football program is a joke, with a clown as Head Coach.

      • Yosemite Sam says:

        That was a joke. Just like Muschamp is a joke…

  7. Stephen A. says:

    Florida has had some excellent Head football coaches in the past and they seem to get run off by personality clashes. Can we find a good coach and stand by his side and not let ones ego strain the relationship. I forgot, we let the last two go to Louisville and Ohio State. Enough is enough….get with the time or we will continue to lose recruits to our instate rivals. Most high school coaches in the state of Florida push their athletes away from UF and bad mouth this University. Trust me , I’m a product of UF and very involved with South Florida athletes. For the record….I BLEED ORANGE & BLUE!

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