No. 11 Wolverines whoop No. 17 Gators, 33-17

Michigan safety Josh Metellus (14) strips the ball from Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) in the second half of last year's game in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

ARLINGTON, Texas — This wasn’t about player suspensions.

It wasn’t about a quarterback competition that has gone on for more than a month and now seems more unsettled than ever.

It wasn’t about play-calling, or things said or unsaid, or a lack of effort and want to.

The sad fact, the humbling fact, is this was all about getting physically punished by an opponent that did the exact same thing to you less than two years ago in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.

The Florida Gators weren’t man enough or tough enough to hang with Michigan again, getting pushed and shoved around AT&T Stadium with almost shameful ease in a 33-17 defeat Saturday in the Advocare Classic.

“Whooped” is the word of the day.

UF coach Jim McElwain used it early and often in a post-game news conference.

“First and foremost, they physically took it to us. Give them their due,” McElwain said. “They beat us every which way they could up front and we never had an answer. Our quarterbacks obviously didn’t play great. You usually don’t play great when you’re playing off your back foot, so we’ve got to do some things that way that’ll help.

“Disappointed in the lack of being able to run the football. Defense gave us opportunities. Wore down a little bit, but I still believe in this football team. I still believe in these guys. The (10 suspended) guys that weren’t here, that was a choice. That had no impact on the outcome of this game and we’ve got some ballgames ahead of us that we’ve got to get ready for.

“Plain and simple, take your whooping. I’m taking it.”

The biggest whooping came up front, in the match-up between the supposedly much improved Florida offensive line and the Michigan defense front.

McElwain has been referring to his line as a team strength for months. It may be months before he says that again, based on the performance Saturday.

The physically stronger (and obviously quicker) Michigan defensive front ran over, around and through the UF offensive line. By midway through the third quarter, it was obvious the Gators had no chance to run their offense effectively. Inept line play led to an impotent offense.

“Well, their guys (up front) were bigger and stronger,” McElwain said. “They whooped us. Plain and simple.”

McElwain tried to shake things up by taking out starting quarterback Feleipe Franks and inserting the more mobile Malik Zaire in the third quarter. But the results were pretty much the same. Both quarterbacks were running for their lives and taking all kind of hits — and the offense went nowhere.

The Gators went into the game with an offensive game plan based on an improved and more physical offensive line, McElwain said. But the line faltered badly and the game plan was completely blown up by the Michigan defensive front.

“When things go bad, we don’t point fingers at each other,” junior defensive end Cece Jefferson said. “They (the offensive line) knows what they have to get accomplished.”

The defense, despite playing four freshmen in its first series of the game, not only kept the Gators in the game, it actually gave them a 17-10 lead early in the second quarter on back-to-back interception returns for touchdowns by cornerbacks Duke Dawson and true freshman C.J. Henderson.

But Michigan physically took over the game after that, outscoring the Gators 23-0 the rest of the game.

The defense wore down and the offense got worse and worse in the decisive second half.

For the game, the offense produced only three points, 192 total yards, nine first downs and 11 yards rushing.

“It’s the creative piece,” McElwain said. “I thought we had a good plan, obviously. And then as it turned out, the plan was pretty well foiled by getting physically whooped by big, strong guys. That was disappointing.”

Part of the plan going in was to have the quarterback get the ball into the hands of the playmakers. But Franks and Zaire had no time to execute that plan.

Franks threw only nine passes, completing five for 75 yards, and lost a fumble on what would be his final play of the game. Zaire completed nine of 17 passes for 106 yards and was sacked five times, including one that led to a fumble in his own end zone that was recovered for a Michigan touchdown with only 1:37 left to play.

McElwain was asked if the competition at quarterback is wide open again.

“Nah,” he said. “You know what, we’ll sit down. We’ll take a look at it, and we’ll put a plan together for this next game and get a look at it.”

It was a bad loss for the Gators, but McElwain and his players aren’t about to give up on the season.

“We have no choice but to get better,” senior defensive end Jordan Sherit said. “All of our goals are still attainable.”

Saturday’s game makes it obvious that the offensive line is not a team strength. Not yet. And it takes time to adjust to that, McElwain said.

“We got to look at a lot of things,” he said. “And yet it’s not time to hit the panic button. We’ve got a good football team. We’ll come back and do the right thing and be OK.

“I think, you continue to challenge (the offensive linemen). I like those guys. They learned some lessons today, but we’ve got to give them an opportunity to be successful as well. It isn’t back to the drawing board. There’s some things that were there that didn’t get executed. And yet we’ve got to get back and execute these.”

Michigan executed well on both sides of the ball, especially in the opener with a young team that had some unknowns heading to the season like the Gators.

“We came out today just playing with a chip on our shoulder,” linebacker Devin Bush said. “This whole season, we’ve got something to prove.”

The Gators have a lot to prove after this disappointing first performance.



  1. Sounds like the same jibber jabber as last year spewing from McElwain’s mouth. He’s suppose to be an offensive guru and QB whisperer. Clearly, he’s not up to the task. This is the beginning of the end for him, and don’t hold your hopes on this team getting much better.

  2. Hmm. $4.5 million plus $833,000 = 0 – 1. Same old poor coaching, poor call playing, poor QB playing and poor offensive line. Let’s see if McElwain can get another backdoor SEC Eastern Championship. Not this year! GA, SC and TN are better teams this year. Nussmeier continues to be a disgrace to Gator Nation as the offensive coordinator. 11 rushing yards!! Bring on the “Ball Coach.” And don’t put the blame on the 10 suspensions. The players were not ready — too soft on both sides of the line. Basically, man-handled. McElwain and Nussmeier were out-coached again. Getting to understand that it doesn’t take much to out coach them.

  3. Michigan outplays us on the field, out recruits us in Florida.
    Florida State outplays us on the field, out recruits us in Florida.
    McElwain is billed as an offensive genius. Apparently only while he is coaching the Alabama Offense.
    He can’t coach, can’t recruit, and can’t hire assistant coaches who can coach.
    you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Mac is part of the problem. It is time for him to go.

  4. Again I am calling on Coach Spurrier to step in right now and get rid of these want ta be coaches.. He is right there on campus and no doubt he would let us Gators be embarrassed offensively as this. Either fire Coach Mac or Nuss,, But we need a new play caller! Make Gators Great Again # Coach Spurrier!

  5. Another embarrassing performance. I was afraid we’d have to eventually play with all this recruiting momentum. Proofs always been on the field.. We suck bad. Have sucked for a long time. And this rube from Montana was a worse hire then Mushchamp. Continuing to set the program back years and years. Can’t find 1 positive today. Wtf is up with our play calling on offense. I take that back I didn’t go to Dallas and see this that’s my 1 positive.

  6. This program lacks both physicality and creativity. We do not make use of the talent that we do have. It is obvious that this coaching staff is not capable of recruiting the talent needed to be competitive as the highest level. This might be good enough for all the Title IX crowd but for long term Gator Fans this is fake, an ugly fraud.
    Strickland needs to realize that the expectations at UF are very high, and the current coaching staff in not up to the task. Cut your losses and move on.

  7. “We kinda got pushed around a little bit. I was surprised how good those other guys were. But you know what we got to play in a big stadium. Pretty cool huh? We’ll be ok. We’ll get it fixed. We have to improve. And yet I think we will. Don’t tell me we can’t recruit. We’re stealing 3 star guys from Florida Atlantic and UAB left and right. And ya know what? Losing to FSU every year really doesn’t hurt us because they’re not in our conference. So as long as we get the conference piece figured out and go from there it’ll be an exciting season” -Jim McElwain

  8. Michigan came out in second half with an offensive scheme that solved what the Florida defense had been doing to them in the first two quarters. They drove right down the field and took control. That’s what good coaches do. What did Florida do? The same sh*t we’ve been seeing for the past two years.

  9. Suspended players had NOTHING to do with this loss! Randy Shannons defense couldnt stop the run, played off receivers, left receivers uncovered! Shannon as DC is a huge step down, why coaches think they need to change a near perfect system? Arrogance!
    Why McElwain didnt try Del Rio once it was clear that Mi didnt respect Zaires passing ability and blitzed him on almost every down, is beyond me. They didnt do that to Franks but he couldnt move the offense. Del Rio knows the whole playbook and can read defenses which clearly Franks and Zaire cant read defenses and Zaire doesnt know the whole playbook. D R may not have been successful, but we will never know, but why do they stick with Zaire which clearly wasnt working! (The definition of insanity)
    The play calling also really stunk, run, run, pass(when they know you will). With Franks, whose strength is the deep pass, they barely used even though Mi kept respecting the pass when Franks was QB. Also, who doesnt know that when you pass from your endzone you drop and throw or throw it away, you NEVER hold a ball in the endzone, what a blockheaded move by Zaire!
    Lastly, who else thinks the new site sucks? Its such a memory hog it loads so slow, half the time the main page never does, whose dumb idea was that? Old design worked so well!

    • They didn’t go with Del Rio ONLY because the O-line had given up totally. LDR is the least mobile of all the QBs. I think that Mac knows that LDR may be the best for us right now and didn’t want to expose him to the opened floodgates against a team that would definitely put him out for the year.

  10. Apparently out receiver tree only has one branch and it stops at the line of scrimmage. None of our receivers can get open enough to have a pass thrown to them out of their first break. Our offensive line is slow and horrible but the worst indictment against us is we are undisciplined. We cannot compete with a disciplined team.

  11. “I thought we had a good plan,” coach Jim McElwain said, “but as it turned out, the plan was pretty well foiled by getting whupped by big, strong guys. And that was disappointing.”

    Never mind the past two seasons (stumbling into good fortune – which Muschamp also did)…

  12. Can someone remind me when UF last played a complete football game, all four quarters, all three facets of the game. It has been so long ago I forget what it looks like. Our love for our University is being abused by TV money grabbers. All wrong. All wrong.

  13. I had a dream…the Ole Ball Coach was at a news conference being introduced as the interim new emergency head coach and his opening statement was “all right, we’re going to change things little bit and yes we’re going to throw the ball around and play some catch with new plays not one has every seen”…then I woke up and realized it was only a dream…dang it!!!

  14. I don’t know what the answer is but it is not gonna come soon. Mac has recruited better and well-rounded but the o line cannot hang with good teams. Pretty much 4 star o linemen across the board and the can’t handle FSU, BAMA, or any top 10 team. I am highly disappointed! Gators may win 8 or 9 games but there will be no door getting kicked down unless it is getting kicked down on the o line. Better running backs, o line, and play calling are a must. BTW, Nussmeigher has sucked for years now with no proof he will get better. The last time michigan sucked he was the OC. BAMA didn’t want him either. Cut him and get some 5 star o linemen. until then we are hanging with Georgia and Tennensee and LSU as teams that cannot get over the hump.

  15. Realized early when it was 3rd and 20 inside their 30 and we call a simple run play…Deja vu all over again! Told my wife right then and there, nothing has changed, same old crap play calling, we’re in trouble. Wa la! I’m Kreskin!

  16. While it hurt to watch, I’m going to wait and see. Unfortunately, it looks to me like a 6-6 team. Things must get better or things will get worse. Gators still have 11 games left in the season and some fans are ready to crucify McElwain. Jeez. Wait until later in the season. Gators must still play meaningful SEC games and win. If not, then I will join the “Give Mac the Hack” crowd.

  17. Gotta disagree with you Robbie. While I will say the O-line should take a majority of the blame the play calling was lame. When the opponent is stacking 8-9 in the box on 3rd and 2 where was the audible away from the stack? Not one hot pass to the TE (we were told they were a major part of Mac’s offense), no quick passes, slants etc. to the WR, slot R, no sprint out, no short crossing routes? I was obvious we weren’t going to run the ball against that stack “D” until we loosened it up. The O-line didn’t play well but just sheer numbers tells you that 5 can’t block 8 or 9. Maybe Mac should take over more of the offensive calls if he’s supposed to be the guru. Also, will someone tell the defensive guru that the DE or OLB has contain. When they needed yards they ran off tackle and bounced outside because our DEs and LBs were getting trapped by going inside. There are some simple resolutions to some of our problems. Maybe some common sense on the play calling and defensive techniques are all that’s needed. But what do I know. I’m only a fan!

    • I didn’t see Franks audible at all. I stopped watching when it became 26-17 and there was no significant push from the O-line. On Defense, the frosh DBs got toasted, but they can improve and learn to read the D.

  18. We absolutely have zero identity on offense. Bringing in two completely different quarterbacks in a big game like this just tells u we have no identity. Who does Mac want to be. When he was at CSU, he called his own plays. Their QB lit it up almost every game. This offense is so lethargic, so stale, so predictable. Don’t know why he doesn’t call his own plays. Nuss will get him fired. He got Brady Hoke fired when he was OC at Michigan four years ago. Franks, a drop back passer, Zaire, a read option. What kind of offense does he want? We are going to have issues this season. Honestly, he gave up on Will Grier too soon. Should have never let him leave. He could pass and had legs to get out of pocket. Also, it’s a shame that he didn’t bring in a DC that kept same philosophy as Geoff Collins. We are way too conservative on defense as well. No blitz or pass rush. Rush four and drop seven? Nice!!! Long season if no changes are made. The best thing if that happens? Steven Orr Spurrier waiting in the wings. And for those that say he’s done, forget it. It make his stomach churn to see that bullsh.. from last night. I guarantee you he would make a difference and right away. Our talent on offense is sick. Powell, Massey, Cleveland, Toney, etc. How can u not get those guys involved. You imagine that talent in a Spurrier offense? Our O line got beat up last night but you make adjustments. Quick reads, audibles, slants, screens, etc. I saw zero adjustments, period. I like coach Mac but he needs to start being accountable and call his own plays. Nuss needs to go! Being mediocre is not healthy. Danny Wuerffel said it best his last year. “I’d rather play for a coach who demands perfection rather than one who accepts mediocrity.”

  19. who is the captain going to be, the guy everyone responds to, the guy that makes his teammates better, the guy that is humble but isn’t afraid to speak up? who is a total dog about winning. who is he going to be? kadarius toney? LDR? Wilson? t j McCoy? someone has got to start earning it. coaching is only worth a game or two at this point, its got to come from the guys themselves

  20. Micky’s gotta go. Didn’t like him as early as his hiring/introduction. He’s eminently WEIRD! Oh yea, and a bad coach. There’s a path to his none-too-soon departure. Lose the next four games – to teams that have an axe to grind (and who witnessed red-meat yesterday)!: Northern Colorado (which has never defeated CSU), Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Kentucky undoubtedly has the date circled and will probably break their attendance record). Such a “red-wedding” process would be cathartic, cleansing and renewing; and in that regard, enjoyable. This is ACTUALLY what I’m hoping for, leading to a complete reboot of the program. I now like the idea of bringing in our native son and Floridian, Kerwin Bell (Chip Kelly or Tony Dungy would be acceptable alternatives)!

  21. I’ll bet coach Mac has turned the game off. I’ll bet coach Nuss hasn’t even turned it on. They don’t want to see what a good offense can do. Former QB Grier lighting it up so far. I bet our coaches are sick to their stomachs. If I were Calloway, I’d transfer, sit out a year, and play in an offense at WV where they can throw the ball down the field. We need a change and fast. Nuss is Awful!!!