UF notebook: Decisions backfire
Published: Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 6:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 8:36 p.m.
MIAMI GARDENS — Florida coach Will Muschamp had no second thoughts about a pair of questionable decisions he made during UF’s 21-16 loss to Miami.
On the first decision, after a touchdown run from quarterback Jeff Driskel cut Miami’s lead to 7-6 in the first quarter, Muschamp elected to go for a two-point conversion instead of an extra point that would have tied the score.
“That’s the situation we ended up with,” Muschamp said. “We didn’t block it right. If we block it right, he scores. But I’d do it again.”
On the two-point conversion attempt, Tyler Murphy completed a screen pass to Trey Burton on a swinging gate play. But Burton was tackled short of the end zone.
“I thought we had good numbers,” Burton said. “I don’t know how that happened.”
The second decision came in the second quarter. With the Gators down 14-6, Muschamp elected to go for it on 4th-and-1 from Miami’s 16-yard line instead of attempting a 33-yard field goal. It would have been a 33-yard attempt for UF redshirt freshman kicker Austin Hardin, who later made a 33-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter.
On the play, Driskel was stuffed for no gain on a quarterback sneak, turning the ball over on downs. Muschamp defended his decision to go for it.
“I felt like we needed to,” Muschamp said. “We weren’t stopping them defensively at that time very well. I felt like we needed to try to get the ball in the end zone.”
Florida’s loss to rival Miami on Saturday was painful in more ways than one. The Gators suffered a few injuries during the game. Starting left offensive tackle D.J. Humphries re-aggravated a sprained MCL in his knee in the second quarter.
“He was very sore at halftime and didn’t feel like he could go in the second half,” Muschamp said. “We held him.”
Starting UF right tackle Tyler Moore suffered an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter following a sack and strip of Driskel. Moore left the field on crutches with an ice bag wrapped around his left ankle. Muschamp said he wasn’t sure of the severity of Moore’s injury.
Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson left the game in the third quarter with a strained knee. “He just stretched it,” Muschamp said. “He’ll be fine.”
Florida receiver Latroy Pittman sat out the second of three games due to a disciplinary suspension.
Purifoy returns, blocks kick
Loucheiz Purifoy made an impact on special teams in his first game of the 2013 season. Purifoy, who sat out UF’s season opener against Toledo on a disciplinary suspension, blocked a punt deep in Miami territory in the first quarter. The blocked punt set up UF’s first touchdown, a nine-yard TD run by Driskel.
“It meant a lot,” said Purifoy, who started at cornerback. “I missed it out there. I wanted to be there for my brothers, my team.”
It was Purifoy’s third career blocked kick and the 13th blocked punt or kick in two-plus seasons under Muschamp.
“You’ve got to give Mike Taylor and Antonio Morrison credit,” Purifoy said. “They opened up the hole for me. Once they opened up the hole, I just did my job, got my hands on the ball.”
Purifoy’s previous two blocks in his career came on a field goal last season against Missouri and a punt last season against Louisiana.
Another pick for Hargreaves III
Another week, another interception for true freshman Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.
Hargreaves, who switched from uniform No. 16 to No. 1 before the game, recorded his second pick in as many weeks against Miami. With Florida down 14-9 in the fourth quarter, Hargreaves intercepted a pass from Miami quarterback Stephen Morris and returned it 24 yards.
Hargreaves had his first interception a week ago against Toledo. The Tampa native is the first true freshman to wear No. 1 since Keiwan Ratliff in 2000.
The announced attendance of 76,869 (based on tickets sold) was a record for Miami since moving to Sun Life Stadium in 2008. The previous record was 75,115 in 2010 against Florida State.
But there were several empty sections in the upper deck of the stadium. And Gator fans were well represented with blue shirts filling stands in the upper deck. Florida’s band was stuck in the upper deck in section 420, which made for a long trip down to the field to perform during halftime.
Miami’s win over No. 12/9 Florida (nine in coaches poll) was its first win over a Top-10 team since knocking off No. 8 Oklahoma 21-20 at Sun Life Stadium. … Former Gator running back Errict Rhett was on the Florida sidelines for the game. Rhett served as the celebrity “Mr. Two Bits” in UF’s season opener vs. Toledo. … UF punter Kyle Christy bounced back from a subpar opener against Toledo, averaging 42.5 yards per punt with two punts downed inside the 20-yard line. … The morning rainstorm made the noon kickoff in Miami more bearable. It was 81 degrees at kickoff with 73 percent humidity.