Penalties play role in Gators' bowl loss


Florida linebacker Jon Bostic hits Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater hard enough to dislodge his helmet in the first quarter of the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday in New Orleans. Bostic was called for roughing the passer on the play. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Published: Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 5:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 5:21 p.m.

Florida did plenty of things right during its turnaround 2012 football season.

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Florida linebacker Jon Bostic hits Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater hard enough to dislodge his helmet in the first quarter of the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday in New Orleans. Bostic was called for roughing the passer on the play. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

But the Gators couldn’t solve a glaring issue from September to January — undisciplined penalties.

Florida was whistled for 19 personal fouls and three unsportsmanlike penalties during the season, according to research of boxscores done by The Sun.

Combined, the 22 penalties resulted in 315 lost yards. One personal foul against Tennessee was declined and resulted in no lost yardage.

Florida’s problem with penalties was on display in front of a nationally televised audience at the Sugar Bowl. The Gators were whistled for two personal fouls, a roughing-the-passer penalty and an unsportsmanlike penalty, contributing to 97 yards in penalties against Louisville. Florida sophomore running back Chris Johnson was ejected after throwing a punch at a Louisville player following a failed onside kick attempt to start the second half.

Asked about the penalties following the game, Florida coach Will Muschamp said:

“Disappointing. Obviously we didn’t ... third down killed us in the first half. We couldn’t get off the field. Struggled again in the second half. Penalties are disappointing. Gotta continue to work on it.”

Muschamp has tried different methods to deal with penalties during the course of the season, including pulling players off the field. But he’s also stressed playing fast and physical, which sometimes results in inadvertent late hits.

Of the 19 personal fouls, NFL-bound safety Matt Elam was the most frequent violator with three personal fouls. Jon Bostic and Lerentee McCray each had two personal fouls.

Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or brockwk@gvillesun.com. Also check out Brockway’s blog at Gatorsports.com.

Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or brockwk@gvillesun.com. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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