UF out to regain 4th-quarter dominance


Georgia receiver Malcolm Mitchell runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown after a catch during the fourth quarter Saturday against Florida in Jacksonville. Georgia beat Florida 17-9.

Matt Benson/Sun correspondent
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 11:39 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 11:39 a.m.

A key component of Florida's winning formula in 2012 has been making halftime adjustments and outscoring opponents in the final 30 minutes.

In last Saturday's 17-9 loss to Georgia, those second-half changes weren't successful enough and the Gators were outscored 10-3, which was the first time that's happened this season.

“Until the last touchdown drive, we played very well defensively,” UF coach Will Muschamp said of his team's second-half performance. “There was really nothing there (for Georgia). Offensively, we got some things going drive-wise and hurt ourselves in some situations, a lot of self-inflicted situations to me. We just can't do that, we haven't done it all year.”

Entering the Georgia game, the Florida defense had given up only one fourth-quarter touchdown (at Vanderbilt) on the season. But the Bulldogs, for the third consecutive year, found the end zone in the last period on a 45-yard catch-and-run from receiver Malcolm Mitchell. The score was Georgia's only third-down conversion of the game.

“We have total confidence in ourselves that no one can score on us in the second half, and that's what our goal was,” UF junior cornerback Jaylen Watkins said. “They got a touchdown on us, but I think we did a good job getting the offense the ball back.”

The Gators got one more chance to score and put together their best drive of the game, but junior tight end Jordan Reed committed Florida's sixth and most costly turnover inside Georgia's 5-yard line with just over two minutes left.

Muschamp said no one play lost the game for UF, but Mitchell's touchdown and Reed's fumble were two plays the Gators had avoided up to that point in the season.

“At critical plays in the game, you gotta rise up on those opportunities you have and you gotta make those plays,” Muschamp said. “Give them credit. They did and we didn't.”

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