Homewreckers: Tigers get payback in downing Gators

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Florida kicker Eddy Pineiro looks on in the final second of the game of the Gators Homecoming game against LSU at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida lost by one point 16-17 on a misses extra point by Pineiro. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Just like earlier games against Tennessee and Kentucky, it looked like the Cardiac Kids were back at it again Saturday, working on another inspiring second-half rally that would lead to a scary but satisfying victory in the fourth quarter for the Florida Gators.

It was all right there in front of them.

And then it wasn’t. Just like that, with one errant swing of Eddy Pineiro’s talented right leg, the plug was pulled on this comeback.

Pineiro’s missed extra point with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter was the difference in a numbing 17-16 loss to a hungry and highly motivated LSU team before a homecoming crowd of 88,247 in The Swamp.

“It hurts, and it’s a tough one to swallow,” UF coach Jim McElwain said. “It looked like the snap (on the PAT) wasn’t great. I don’t know. We’ve got to see it on film. I didn’t see the replay of it. That’s why they don’t give you the automatic one. They force you to kick it.

“For our guys, for this Gator team, it hurts. Guys are hurting in that locker. And they should hurt. That’s the nature of the beast.”

The No. 21 Gators fall to 3-2 overall and 3-1 in the SEC. LSU improves to 4-2 and 1-1.

McElwain said the wide-left PAT attempt was not necessarily deflating and game changing. But it was. The numbers bear it out.

Florida’s stats the rest of the game reflect momentum lost. Complete momentum lost. After Pineiro’s miss, the Gators had nothing left offensively. They made only one first down and produced 37 total yards in the fourth quarter — and never came close to pulling this one out in the closing seconds like they did against the Vols and Wildcats.

“It hurts,” junior offensive tackle Martez Ivey said. “I’m hurt.”

It didn’t look like this was going to turn into a painful loss for the Gators the way they rallied in the third quarter.

After going down by 14 points, 17-3, early in the quarter, the Gators sprang to life, launching back-to-back touchdown drives that seemed to put Florida — its crazy-loud crowd — in control of the game.

The first drive culminated with a two-yard TD run by Lamical Perine. The second TD, a one-yard run by Perine, put the Gators in a position to tie the game — and hold onto all the moment they had generated with their two-touchdown rally.

But the snap on the PAT was less than perfect, same with the hold, and Pineiro’s kicked squirted left of the upright.

It was a different game the rest of the way.

“I don’t think (it was deflating),” McElwain said of the missed PAT. “The defense responded. We just came up empty with two series on offense. And the way they were snapping the ball late in the shot clock, we knew our possessions were not going to be that many. We had to make something happen on those and we didn’t.

“Our guys played hard, gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game and we ended up not winning. Credit to them for controlling it there in the end and winning. That’s life in the SEC.”

After getting a defensive stop with a little more than four minutes remaining in the game, the Gators were in a position to possibly win it with a field goal or touchdown.

Backed up on their own 4-yard line with 4:01 to play, it would have taken some big plays or magic, or both — and the Gators had neither.

Facing a fourth-and-three from the 25, quarterback Feleipe Franks’ pass over the middle for slot receiver Brandon Powell was tipped by LSU cornerback Donte Jackson and fell incomplete.

The Tigers ran out the remaining 1:39 to secure the win and avenge last year’s 16-10 Florida win in Baton Rouge.

It was a tough day all-around for Franks, who completed 10 of 16 passes for only 108 yards. With his go-to receiver (Tyrie Cleveland) out with a high ankle sprain, the Gators produced close to nothing in the downfield passing game.

Other than those two TD drives in the third quarter, the offense was not clutch, converting only two of nine third downs.

“First and foremost, my hat’s off to the way (LSU) rallied and played a real physical ball game,” McElwain said. “They came in and got after us on the line of scrimmage. I think when we go back, I think we’re going to find out really the difference in the game was third downs. You guys saw it. There’s no denying that at all.”

Franks said he and the Gators will recover from the tough loss.

“We have a long season ahead of us and I don’t think you can let one or two losses define us,” Franks said. “This is one loss. You can’t let it define you.”

While the Gators endured a tough loss, the Tigers were celebrating a big win in The Swamp coming off an upset loss at home to Troy that had many doubting the players and the coaches in the state of Louisiana.

“It was a tough week, but we believed in each other and got back to work,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “I’m so proud of our team. No one blinked.

“This team made the decision on Monday that they were going to win this football game under any circumstances, and we did that.”


Up next

Who: Texas A&M vs. No. 21 Florida

When: Saturday, time TBA

Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

TV: TBA

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850


42 COMMENTS

  1. And anyone who thinks this was because of a rare, missed PAT conversion is smoking one of Callaway & Gang’s “funny cigarettes”.

    This game was lost by an enormously incompetent coaching staff who cannot teach how to tackle, defend the same play over and over, or generate more than 3 points in the first half.

    I warned of this right after the Michigan loss, and after subsequent wins…. that soiner later, Nussmeier would have another offensive “seizure” and hia offense would fall to pieces and we’d lose because of it.

    Add to that Randy Shannon’s worsening defense, it ended up being onw of the worst and most embarrassing losses in recent memory.

    And to think, we’ll be 3 – 4 in a few weeks too.

    Cool, huh?

    • Other than the part about Nussmeier, I totally agree with you. I think the dumb luck, aww shucks days of winning games is about over. And the problem rests squarely on McElwain’s shoulders. If a head coach can’t get the team to shine on the side of the ball that made him famous, then why bother even having him around. Clearly, these two offensive minded coaches can’t get the job done. I’ve seen enough!

    • I agree totally. If only the blind faithful could finally “see”, maybe we could send “Cowboy Mac” on the next wagon train to Wyoming.

    • We are playing with freshmen all over the place. Yet we’ve been in every game at the half and besides Michigan has a chance to win with 2 minutes to go. I think the coaching has actually been solid and the team hasn’t quit even though 9 of its members did. Throw in the LDR and Cleveland injuries and I think we are about as good as we can be. Not giving anyone a pass but those be the facts man. With another good recruiting class and getting our full roster back, I think we have enough pieces to be hopeful about. Cleveland, Davis and Toney can be built around. Throw in Coral or an older Franks and I think we could see some a solid offense next year. Hopefully Franks can improve throughout this season. The experience can’t hurt.

  2. Coaching is sub par and QB play is still really bad. I never feel like we are going to drive down the field with the level of QB play. Not sure if it’s the players we choose for QB or that the coaches can’t get them to play well or up to thier potential. Let’s hope that we improve on offense over the rest of the year. May want to use one of our other QB’s. Franks looks confused and lost out there.

    • It’s the coaching. Just watch some NFL games and listen to the names of players who played under Muschamp and MacElwain. You’d think that if Driskel and Brissett could make it onto an NFL roster, they must have convinced scouts of having some talent. Yet, whatever talent was there could not be cultivated by our coaches.

  3. ”…(we) gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game and we ended up not winning.” ~Coach Mac.
    If we’re completely honest, giving themselves ”an opportunity to win” and winning the entire game are 2 different things. Mac’s Gators have dominated very few games, and in his 3rd year, too.
    Maybe Mac’s lucky rabbit foot needs new batteries or something. Florida can’t pull out ”miracle wins” every Saturday, and expect to win the East. This Gator football team has a long road ahead to get back to ”THE ATL”. Maybe by Mac’s 4th year the Gators will put it all together and make some magic. But don’t forget to charge up your rabbit’s foot, Coach Mac!

  4. I know people want to say that Nussmeier is the problem, but they would be dead wrong. The big elephant problem in the room is McElwain. I keep saying that when you hire a head coach, the litmus test is whether the team excels on the side of the ball that elevated his profile. Even Muschamp excelled on defense, which was his forte. Sabam excels on defense, Urban excels on offense, and so on.

    Mac is supposed to be an offensive guru, but it’s plain to now see he isn’t. So there’s no reason to keep him around. This is year 3, and none of his teams tend to get better during the season.

      • Coaches terrible offensive scheme is to blame not QB. 10-16 and a couple of those were throw aways. Nobody is ever open. Really would like to sit down with this playbook and see what kinda routes they got these receivers running. These coaches probably should go knock on Spurrier’s door so he can teach them how to set up a 4 to 5 WR set and teach them how to send some receivers across the middle and give Franks more options. If they are gonna run a 2 TE set 90% of the time they throw it they should atleast have the TEs run routes instead of staying in and blocking. Too easy to cover when you only have 3 guys going out for a pass. The whole offensive scheme is terrible. Rather see them throw Franks in shotgun with 4 to 5 wide every time and have him throw it 50+ times and force the kid to grow up. Rather see that than whatever this mess is they run now. Even if he throws 2 picks a game I guarantee you they’d put up more than 20 pts a game. If Memphis can do it Florida can do it.

    • Everywhere Nuss coached the offense fell off from the previous season. Ijs. As far as Mac, recruiting average is 20th that’s basically middle of the road in the sec. Which is what we are, if Nuss and Frank’s remain in position I doubt we go bowling this year.

  5. McElwain is blind or incompetent, most likely the latter. Not sure what our offense is. Franks has zero vision. He continues to stare receivers down. The refs were also terrible. The interception and passing interference call were probably two of the worst I have ever seen.

      • i think Toney should start as well, the problem is that he does not fit the type offense that the HC wants to run. He is set on a pro type offense even though most success stories now use a QB that can both run and pass

  6. Coach’s terrible offensive scheme is to blame not QB. 10-16 and a couple of those were throw aways. Nobody is ever open. Really would like to sit down with this playbook and see what kinda routes they got these receivers running. These coaches probably should go knock on Spurrier’s door so he can teach them how to set up a 4 to 5 WR set and teach them how to send some receivers across the middle and give Franks more options. If they are gonna run a 2 TE set 90% of the time they throw it they should atleast have the TEs run routes instead of staying in and blocking. Too easy to cover when you only have 3 guys going out for a pass. The whole offensive scheme is terrible. Rather see them throw Franks in shotgun with 4 to 5 wide every time and have him throw it 50+ times and force the kid to grow up. Rather see that than whatever this mess is they run now. Even if he throws 2 picks a game I guarantee you they’d put up more than 20 pts a game. If Memphis can do it Florida can do it.

  7. anyone can piss and moan about the coaching – LOL.. i say – “it’s great to be a Florida Gator”.
    look at our first team. what, 3 or 4 seniors on both sides of the ball. a freshman QB who will win lots of
    games before he graduates. RBs that are young, talented and learning every game.
    i say – GOOD GAME BOYS. LICK YOUR WOUNDS AND COME BACK WITH A GATOR CHOMP.
    GO GO GO GATORS!

    • I totally agree. I think we would be having a much different season if we wouldn’t have lost all the players due to the suspensions. Hard to win with so many key players and good back ups out. Plus we’ve had some injuries on top of that. Keep battling guys! We’ll have a good season.

  8. Coaches terrible offensive scheme is to blame not QB. 10-16 and a couple of those were throw aways. Nobody is ever open. Really would like to sit down with this playbook and see what kinda routes they got these receivers running. These coaches probably should go knock on Spurrier’s door so he can teach them how to set up a 4 to 5 WR set and teach them how to send some receivers across the middle and give Franks more options. If they are gonna run a 2 TE set 90% of the time they throw it they should atleast have the TEs run routes instead of staying in and blocking. Too easy to cover when you only have 3 guys going out for a pass. The whole offensive scheme is terrible. Rather see them throw Franks in shotgun with 4 to 5 wide every time and have him throw it 50+ times and force the kid to grow up. Rather see that than whatever this mess is they run now. Even if he throws 2 picks a game I guarantee you they’d put up more than 20 pts a game. If Memphis can do it Florida can do it.

  9. I agree. The longer McElwain is here the longer it will be until the problem is solved. He is NOT an offensive Guru. Scott Stricklin has to solve this problem.

  10. The snap seemed pretty good to me. It was the hold. Townsend spun the ball hard, like a top, instead of gently trying to get the laces facing forward. As a result, he dropped the ball just before Eddy kicked it. The ball was falling and tiliting forward and left as he kicked it. Still, we should have continued on to win.
    We were seriously hurt by Cleveland’s injury, plus, obviously, Callaway’s selfish antics. No deep threat. And our young D back seven is struggling, and even the vets back there(Dawson and Washington) played poorly. Ugh.

  11. The Gators shouldn’t lose to THIS LSU team at home. Shows just how bad and incompetent the Gators are. They may beat Mizzou and UAB, but that’s about it.

  12. I know things will happen on the field.. but it seems like this team is just simply lacking in fundamentals – proper tackling, being AWARE of what’s going on at all times on the field (mainly to avoid ticky-tacky injuries), communication (offensively and defensively), constant unnecessary penalties, etc. I’m not on the football staff, but it also seems like strength and conditioning (more so of the latter) is a problem as well. Some of the players just look like they’re absolutely exhausted (either exhausted or CONFUSED) at times and it’s only halfway through the 2nd quarter.

    With all that being said, I know the team is banged up, I know we have scholarship players out because of unfortunate circumstances, I understand that (for the most part) this is a young team.. but damn, at some point, as a head coach, you have to sit down and figure out what’s not working within your organization and make some changes with things going on (on AND off the field).

  13. I know things will happen on the field.. but it seems like this team is just simply lacking in fundamentals – proper tackling, being AWARE of what’s going on at all times on the field (mainly to avoid ticky-tacky injuries), communication (offensively and defensively), constant unnecessary penalties, etc. I’m not on the football staff, but it also seems like strength and conditioning (more so of the latter) is a problem as well. Some of the players just look like they’re absolutely exhausted (either exhausted or CONFUSED) at times and it’s only halfway through the 2nd quarter.

    With all that being said, I know the team is banged up, I know we have scholarship players out because of unfortunate circumstances, I understand that (for the most part) this is a young team.. but wow, at some point, as a head coach, you have to sit down and figure out what’s not working within your organization and make some changes with things going on (on AND off the field).

  14. I have learned that sport teams are never as good as they appear when they win or as bad as they appear when they lose. Mac maybe a victim of his own limited success in winning the SEC least the last 2 years. This has led him to calling plays for a conservative, don’t make mistakes, offense and expecting the defense to carry the team. This philosophy has been good enough to make it to the ATL for the last 2 years which is goal 1 every year. While it is easy to blame the OC, Mac’s fingerprints are all over the playbook, play calling and philosophy. Sometimes it has to get bad, before people decide they need to change. Hopefully, they will adapt and open up the offense. If Felipe is not allowed to make mistakes by throwing a few interceptions, along with the touchdowns, in future games then it is time to ramp up the “Mac must go” rhetoric. Because if a Coach is too stubborn to change in light of considerable evidence, then he will be doomed to failure. Muschamp wouldn’t learn. Hopefully, Mac has learned his lesson.

  15. Why don’t we target our tight ends. A young QB best friend is the tight end. It’s like we want to limit or selves when it comes to passing. Got to take the training wheels off Franks. 3rd and 3 and 4th and 3 and we are running plays like it’s 3 and 10 plus or 4th and 10 plus that’s coaching and these guys were supposed to be offensive coaches. I thought our defense made a good second half adjustment. They have up 7 points in the second half and 17 overall.

    • Absolutely right about the tight ends. Mac is quick to laud their performances on the practice field but then forgets to take them to the game. His favorite movie must be “Home Alone”.

  16. People People People the issue is clear and we all know it. We have no Quarterback and Our suspensions are the same number of scholarships missing as if we were on probation. We tried to over look them but they matter. I am not convinced that MAC is they GUY either but I will lay some Knowledge you folks he aint going anywhere. The Defense lacks the Defensive Attitude of past teams and our Team is very young. STOP looking at UGA and asking why!!!! If Will Grier doesn’t screw up and if Callaway doesn’t screw up and if Scarlett doesn’t screw up then things may have been different but they did. AGAIN Im not sure MAC is they guy but the only way out is to fight and punch and fight and kick and then recruit our ASS OFF. Because I assure you UGA is and MAC identify the issues and fix them. WE are are in a Two game season now UGA and FSU. WE can win them both IVE seen stranger things happen (Yea I know AM is coming up ) but lets be real this team aint going to ATL and if it did (Smack DOWN ***Were not ready) Beat UGA and FSU and or at least split them and Im Good (no) Happy. The Team wasn’t focused to play this season and we all know it.. Hey were a Basketball and Baseball school now JUMP oN Board (MIKE WHITE and O’Sullivan ) run the Campus and should based on results UF Grad C/O 92

    • What we as fans might be missing is that Franks is just a moron. He might have all the tools physically but is just simply not smart or unable to comprehend the offense. Thus, putting Mac/Nussmeir in a tough spot.

      • Finally! Someone has figured out the true problem. Franks is dumber than a box of rocks, football-wise, and at least one person, myself, has always known that, and said so before the season started. When you get beat out by Luke Del Rio, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you probably suck.
        Franks is too stupid, at least at this stage of his career, to play QB. If you’re not cognizent of that fact, you know very little about football. Sadly, it appears this coaching staf fits that definition.

  17. And while we are at it try teaching the DBs to go after a ball at its highest point. That catch made when it appeared to be an interception by Dawson was the worst I have ever seen. If he went up high he intercepts. Just basic high school football.

  18. Not to mention how often our defense runs around blocks. Hit with you inside shoulder. Keep you outside flipper free. Funnel the runner back inside. Bottle things up. More basics from high school ball.

  19. Bottom line is this team lacks leadership and any of the IT factor to have any success, either coaches or players. Duke Dawson has mailed it in, three chances to pick balls and didnt get the job done. LSU was worst team they have had in my 35 years of being Gator fan. Gators are not good and your about to find that out against A&M and especially Georgia, these wins they have had are against very mediocre teams and thats what we are. Stricklin, i cant accept mediocrity from Gator football!!

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