Gators can’t overcome turnover fest in 38-22 loss to Seminoles

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks has the ball stripped from his hand by Florida State defensive end Brian Burns (99) in the first quarter Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The ball was recovered and returned for a touchdown by FSU's Jacob Pugh. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

Thankfully, mercifully, it is over. Finally.

And what an ending the Florida Gators put on this long, agonizing, losing season, a season that will surely go down as one of the worst in program history in the modern era.

They took this cumulative mess and concluded it with the messiest performance of all.

And no need to worry about cleaning it up now, or fixing it. Just shovel it out the door or sweep it under the carpet and forget about it as Florida now prepares to pivot in a new direction under a new coach, who likely will be in place sometime over the next two weeks.

Saturday’s turnover-plagued 38-22 loss to arch-rival Florida State before 89,066 in The Swamp certainly summed up the Gators’ season.

One giant mess.

“Tough loss today,” interim head coach Randy Shannon said. “We fought back in the game trying to end it on some positive notes. It didn’t come out the way we wanted it to.

“We had too many interceptions, two of them for touchdowns and then another one gave them another opportunity to score. So, really, (28) points off of turnovers. We can’t play games that way.”

So it ends for Florida, the Gators closing with a 4-7 record. The Seminoles (5-6) still have a chance to become bowl eligible next week with a win over Louisiana-Monroe.

Certainly, it was a bad day for Gators everywhere — and a horrific one for beleaguered redshirt freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks, whose four turnovers led to the 28 points for the Seminoles.

FSU didn’t need any help, but Franks gave them plenty.

Franks lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, threw one pick-six, should have had another had FSU linebacker Matthew Thomas not fallen inches short of the goal line on his own accord, and threw an interception that set up another touchdown.

Those 28 points were the difference in the game.

“It’s kind of just how you see it,” Franks said. “(There’s) not really anything to say. Everyone is going to have their own opinion. No matter what I tell you guys, it’s going to be twisted around and things like that. A turnover is a turnover. It happens in the game. Tom Brady throws three interceptions, anybody does it. It’s just part of the game, part of playing quarterback. That’s what a lot of people don’t realize.

“It’s something I need to improve on going into the offseason. We were talking about it on the sideline, BP, all those guys have straight confidence in me, just saying. ‘You’re going to be the best quarterback.’ If the guys have confidence in me, that’s all that matters.”

Franks spread out his turnovers over the course of the game.

His fumble that was returned for a touchdown came in the game’s opening five minutes to give the Seminoles the early 7-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, his interception set up an FSU touchdown pass to make it a 14-7 game after Mark Thompson’s 10-yard TD run had tied the game late in the first quarter.

Then, just 3:46 before halftime, Franks threw an interception that was returned 18 yards for a touchdown by FSU cornerback Levonta Taylor.

His personal turnover fest ended early in the fourth quarter when Thomas came up with his interception that should have been a pick-six. Thomas started his celebratory dive into the end zone a little two soon and came down just short of the goal line.

The Seminoles scored a touchdown a few minutes later to make it a 38-16 game, sealing the win.

After the game, Franks was nursing a sore left shoulder and injured ribs. He was asked if this was the toughest day he’d ever had on the football field.

“Toughest day? Turnover-wise, yeah,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever thrown three interceptions and a pick-six and obviously another pick-six. I don’t think I ever did that. Yeah, like I said, it’s part of the game. It’s something for me to learn from and get better at it.

“The guys have confidence in me, that’s all that really matters. I’m not worried about everybody in the nation having confidence in me. I’m not really worried about that. The guys have confidence in me. Then we’ll go from there. We’re definitely going to rise. We can’t go any lower. We’re definitely going to be fine.”

Franks also was sacked five times. He finished with 18 completions in 39 attempts for 184 yards and the three interceptions.

Turnovers were the difference.

“We turned the ball over four times,” wide receiver Josh Hammond said. “It’s hard to come back when you have to come back from a deficit like that.”

The Florida defense deserved better. The Gators held FSU to just 216 yards of total offense, only 88 on the ground.

“We just wanted to give our seniors our best shot,” sophomore middle linebacker David Reese said. “We knew how much it meant to them and we just tried to give them the best game. Duke Dawson played unbelievably. We had a lot of seniors that stepped up.

“(Junior tackle) Taven Bryan, probably leaving us next year, he played unbelievably. We had a lot of good players on that defense. We were just excited to try and get those guys our best shot.”

Their best shot wasn’t enough to prevent a fifth consecutive loss to the Seminoles, UF’s longest losing streak in the rivalry.

“It means a lot,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “In a year that people have been calling a washed year, we were able to go out and accomplish something that has never been done before.”


  1. Unbelievable. Brandon Powell is not a playmaker. He’s mistake maker. I can’t understand for my life why they keep running Perine! Run Thompson! How hard is that? The offense keeps putting the defense in bad positions and the defense is playing great.

    • Suck (slang) – to be inferior, as in quality or execution; see also Nuttsmeier, Doug

      Can anyone tell me why sucking at your job as no one in the history of your position has EVER sucked before is not a fire-for-cause offense? It absolutely kills me they will have to give that useless waste-of-space money to go away. They should roll his entire body in pork bellies and throw him in Lake Alice.

    • The Franks fumble that led to the first TD was not his fault. The offensive tackle did not even touch the DE. The one int the ball hits Powell in the hands and he knocks it in the air for another int. It is not just Franks fault the offense is awful.

    • Here already is, he locks on one receiver and the DBs watch his eyes. That pick six was pure Franks. The other INT was on Powel, who for some reason has regressed. This has GOT to be on the coaches and that dillweed pussmeirer.

  2. I really want to like Franks as a QB, blame his mistakes on poor coaching, etc. but the guy keeps making first game mistakes and he’s showing zero growth. He’s hanging on to the ball way too long and still looking down his receivers. Put Massey in at QB. How much worse can he do?

  3. After watching a well coached and talented basketball team play at an elite level last night (actually finished watching this morning) and getting excited about watching Florida sports, watching this football team is just painful and not worth it anymore.

  4. Sadly, college football is going the same route of the NFL and NBA…Thugs, thugs, thugs.. When will coaches grow a pair and start sitting these guys when they act stupid? Make your plays, go back to the huddle and stop the nonsense.. Another sport heading toward ruin because of stupid behavior and antics. Getting harder to watch..BTW, you don’t see this crap on a Nick Saban coached team.. just saying….

  5. All you Chip Kelly advocates can now look elsewhere, thank god UF didn’t hire him, but then who is the alternate pick, no matter who it is, Florida football is light years from being a national contender. FSU fans are laughing their butts off and looking forward to another victory next year in Tally. This is what rock bottom feels like. Gators are the new Nebraska, a once dominate/proud program drowning in mediocrity.

  6. Cleveland gets one look, Lemons sits on the bench the whole game, Franks still in there throwing pick sixes. Props to the D for playing hard. Thank God this season is over. I love the Gators, but I couldn’t watch one more week of this. Get rid of all the coaches.

  7. 6 minutes left down 38-16 and we punt on 4th down. That’s how a loser deals with a game. We were very lucky to win 4 games this year. McElwain was a good game manager. Horrid recruiter. Horrid HBC in every other aspect. We accept transfers who were bench players on losing teams. The next coach needs to talk to our basketball coach and let him make decisions on transfers. We take starters from VT and an all conference player from Rice. McEloser takes a career backup from ND, a career back from Purdue, and a backup from Oregon St. Those are our qbs. Then he runs off our 1 highly recruited qb who becomes a starter at WV.

    I’d say go after Jimbo at this point but there isn’t one gator on earth that thinks Jimbo would come here even for $8 million a year. FSU is a better job even though their athletic dept revenue is not even in the same universe as UF.

    I’d kick Swain and Hammond off the team. The two quit 5-6 games ago. Neither block and both break off routes. Never seen wr get to the ball so regularly because they’ve quit on the route.

    • Game management and in game adjustments were Mac’s biggest weaknesses. Thanks a lot, Mac, for finishing what Chump started and grinding the Gators into the dirt. Funny, I don’t see Mac’s name being mentioned for any of the open coaching jobs.

    • NEVER, NEVER, NEVER…Should Jimbo Fisher ever coach at the University of Florida!!!! He is a first class scum bag…of a person…Uf would never get another penny of mine and I’ve been a gator booster since graduation in the early sixties and been a bull gator for nearly 40 years…I’d burn my two degrees… Fisher isn’t worthy enough to be mentioned in the same breath as a gator!!!!

  8. UF redshirted QB Jake Allen and no one thinks about him. Good size, good arm, graduated from a genuine academic high school whose grads have been successful on Saturdays and Sundays. Everything a real QB coach needs to turn into a Div.1 QB. Best of luck for next year Gators will need all they can find.

  9. I have bad news for Gator fans. In my opinion, the new coach will need 2 years before he can start winning with different personnel, such as a different QB, OC, new wide receivers, running backs, DBs, LBs and O-linemen. That’s 2 years to correct the problem, then start winning the 3rd year. Not sure Gator Nation will give any coach 3 years, but NO ONE is coming to Gainesville and will win the national championship in 2 years. Sad to see what was once a Top 10 program go into decline. Gators not getting the 5-star recruits any more, just 3-star. Shame to watch but that’s what it is.

  10. Stricklin can’t control a prospective coach saying “no” anymore than you can control your wife saying “no, I have a headache” Cut him some slack, huh? When so many good job schools are now looking for a coach, it’s become a buyers’ market and the buyers know that. Timing and some luck beats skill and money at times. Looks like UF is in the middle of one of those times.