Despite loss to LSU, Gators still in SEC East hunt
Published: Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.
The immediate future does not look bright for Florida football.
The Gators are coming off a discouraging 17-6 loss Saturday at LSU. They were inconsistent on defense, unable to score a touchdown offensively and lost the battle on both lines of scrimmage.
UF dropped five spots to No. 22 in The Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' rankings, and four of the final six opponents are currently ranked in the Top 25.
But not all hope is lost for Florida coach Will Muschamp and his team.
“We have control of everything. All the chips are on the table for us,” he said during his Sunday television show. “We've got everything sitting in front of us to get to Atlanta, and that's one of the goals here at the University of Florida.”
The SEC East race is wide open halfway through the season. Florida, Georgia and South Carolina all have one conference loss, and Missouri is sitting atop the standings at 2-0 after upsetting the Dawgs 41-26 on Saturday.
UF would be in first place in the East with a victory over the unbeaten Tigers in Columbia, Mo., this weekend.
It's another tough road test for the Gators, but Mizzou is now without starting quarterback James Franklin, who separated his right shoulder against UGA and will miss at least one week.
“We're going to Missouri this week,” Muschamp said. “They've got a good football team. They're undefeated. They spread you offensively. Defensively, they do an outstanding job. We have our work cut out for us.”
Muschamp said his offensive and defensive linemen have to play better for Florida to win.
Prior to the LSU game, the Gators had scored on 10 of 11 red zone opportunities since Tyler Murphy took over at quarterback. The one unsuccessful trip was a missed field goal attempt by former starting kicker Austin Hardin.
But against the Tigers, UF reached the LSU 20 twice in the fourth quarter and only came away with three points.
On the first red zone trip, Murphy had tight end Tevin Westbrook running wide open near the end zone on third-and-goal. But Solomon Patton inadvertently ran into Kelvin Taylor in the backfield and kept him from making his block on Jermauria Rasco, who forced Murphy into an incompletion.
On the second opportunity (Florida's last drive of the game), Murphy was sacked on third and fourth down.
“We didn't protect the quarterback in those situations,” Muschamp said. “We drove the ball down the field. When we get in the red zone, we have to convert for a touchdown.”