A late-arriving crowd at Swamp
Published: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 5:31 p.m.
Early in the game, Kyle Christy was called in for his second punt, this one from the Florida 47. He seemed to barely catch the ball and it fluttered through the air while the crowd let out an audible, “Awww.” The ball hit on the Missouri 27 but took a favorable roll. It was eventually downed at the Tigers’ 3-yard line. It might have been one of Christy’s worst punts of the season, but he ended up with a net 50 yards on the kick. Later in the game, he wasn’t as fortunate on a shank.
It went to the fans, whose absence in the stadium 15 minutes before kickoff had the Twitter world abuzz. It looked like it was going to be an embarrassingly small crowd for a team ranked in the top 10 playing its final conference game of the season. But it turned out to be a late-arriving crowd because of the early start and it filled out nicely. (The announced attendance was 90,496). There were definitely empty seats, but The Swamp was loud at the end of the game.
Worst use of a turnover
When Jaylen Watkins picked off a pass that James Franklin sailed in the second quarter and returned it to the Missouri 19, it looked as if the Gators would finally get on the board. Instead, ineptitude followed. First, Mike Gillislee was stuffed for a 5-yard loss on first down. After an incompletion, the Gators were called for delay of game. After another incompletion, Caleb Sturgis lined a field-goal attempt into a Missouri lineman’s arm.
Florida was tied at 7-7 in the third quarter when the Gators were faced with a fourth-and-1 at their own 29-yard line. Will Muschamp sent the offense onto the field to try to go for it as murmurs floated around the stadium. Older Florida fans will remember an ill-fated fourth-and-1 from the 29 by a coach named Doug Dickey against Georgia that will forever be known as Fourth-and-Dumb. We’ll never know what might have happened because guard Ian Silberman, who had just entered the game for an injured James Wilson, jumped offsides and Florida eventually punted.
Stat of the game
There had been a lot of talk during the week about Florida’s predictability on offense because the Gators were running on 80 percent of their first-down plays. The Gators were a little more balanced on first down on Saturday. Driskel went 4-of-8 for 18 yards on first-down passes, but that doesn’t include a 43-yard touchdown pass to Frankie Hammond Jr. that was called back because of a penalty on Jon Halapio. Florida ran the ball on first down 14 times for 76 yards for an average of 5.4 per rush. You have to think some of those early first-down passes helped loosen things up for the running game.
Play of the game
Florida was in a tie game early in the fourth quarter when Matt Elam caught another Franklin floater and returned it 42 yards to the Florida 46. That set up the game-winning touchdown. Two plays after the touchdown pass to Hammond was nullified, Driskel found Mike Gillislee on a screen pass on second-and-12 from the Missouri 45. Gillislee got some big blocks and outran the secondary to the end zone. Muschamp said the offensive staff had noticed that Missouri liked to pressure on second down, hence the play call.
What’s up with that?
Last week, Florida was flagged twice for having 12 men in the huddle against Georgia. Both of the calls hurt drives that were in Georgia territory. On Saturday, Missouri was on the Florida 1-yard line facing a second-and-goal. After a time out, Mizzou huddled with 12 players on the field. After the Tigers went to the line of scrimmage, one of those players ran off the field. Referee Marc Curles jogged in toward the Missouri offensive line, seemed to settle things down, then retreated. Missouri scored on the play. Seriously, what’s up with that?
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.