All eyes are turned towards Will Muschamp, but he has no explanation. Not for Florida losing to an FCS team, Georgia Southern, for the first time in school history. Not for the six consecutive losses, and not for the program’s first losing record season in 34 years.
Florida did what SEC teams do – schedule a weakling before rivalry weak, paying the Eagles, who are 4-4 in the Southern conference, $550,000 for visiting the Swamp. They were repaid with an incredibly dominant rushing performance. Georgia Southern did complete a single pass, attempting only three all game. Instead, they rushed, and ran and stampeded over the once vaunted Florida defense, which used to be the only thing worth mentioning about this team.
They allowed 429 rushing yards, becoming the 5th team in history to rush for over 400 yards against the Gators. The last time that happened was in 1995, but that was Nebraska. The rest of the teams on the list – Alabama (twice) and Georgia have a bit more aura of success to them.
The more interesting thing is the lack of class displayed by Florida after losing to Georgia Southern. Muschamp said his coaching staff has been preparing for the Eagles’ running style since the offseason, but that was nowhere to be seen on the field. Instead, talking about hitting rock bottom, feeling embarrassed for the program and hitting an all-time low made it seem like the Gators didn’t think much of their opponents, similar to their terrible performance in last year’s BCS Bowl game, something they’ll be watching on TV this year.
The Gators won’t be going to a bowl for the first time since 1990. Next game against Florida State, a rivalry game they won last year, could end up being a lot more painful for the Gators, who can’t seem to get anything going for them on offense, even if Skyler Mornhinweg didn’t throw any interceptions and threw two touchdown passes to Solomon Patton.
Right now, it seems like Muschamp is fighting for his job, and trying to hide everything behind some usual saying. Embarrassment, I will fix this, all-time low. Sometimes, injuries decimate a program’s chances in one season, and this is what happened to Florida, but not the only thing. They were bad on offense a year ago. This season? Abysmal, pathetic, call it whatever you like. But for a defense to give up like that against an FCS team says something about the job this coaching staff has been doing in their attempt to keep it together over the last couple of months.
But even if the 111th ranked offense didn’t show up again, and the defense did even worse of a job, some players on Georgia Southern deserve more credit than simply taking advantage of a sinking program: Jerick McKinnon running for 125 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback (by name only) Kevin Ellison going for 118 yards and scoring two touchdowns. A shocking result, no doubt, but one that was coming if you read the signs well enough.
Jeff Monken, GSU coach – I know the Gators have had a tough year. They’ve had a lot of injuries. So have we. We’ve got a lot of guys playing out there that weren’t our starters at the beginning of the year and wouldn’t have been starters right now had other guys been healthy. But we’ve continued to improve, and as those guys said, we’ve continued to fight.