Live blog of the Florida at No. 23 Mississippi State college football game from Starkville, Miss., on Saturday. The game is airing on ESPN.
Florida starting freshman cornerback Trey Dean was ejected for targeting during a UF punt.
The Bulldogs take a 3-0 lead with 3:28 left in the first quarter on a 34-yard field goal. Jace Christmann’s kick capped a 12-play, 59-yard drive.
What went right: Not much. The Gators got off to a positive start on their first offensive drive, but a big sack quickly put an end to it. The Florida defense was on the field for much of the remainder of the quarter, but the offense did start moving the ball in the closing minutes.
What went wrong: A lot. Penalties really hurt the Gators — and cost them starting cornerback Trey Dean, who was ejected for targeting on a play where he fell on top of the MSU punt returner after he muffed the punt. The Gators also had three false start penalties and a holding penalty, making things tough on themselves. Florida’s offensive line wasn’t the only line that struggled. The Gator defensive front got manhandled at times and allowed the Bulldogs to establish a ball-control ground game that led to a field goal late in the quarter.
Play of the quarter: Florida’s stop on a third-and-two play that forced the Bulldogs to settle for their 34-yard field goal. The MSU play was blown up by a blitz by safety Donovan Stiner.
Trending: Bulldogs seemed to be taking control of both lines of scrimmage, although the Gators were able to get a drive started late in the quarter.
— Robbie Andreu
Note: Gator captains today are linebacker David Reese and tight end/special teamer R.J. Raymond. … UF kicked off to start the game and will receive to start the second half.
Miss. State 3
Freshman kicker Evan McPherson ties the game for the Gators with a 39-yard field goal at the 10:24 mark. The Gators started the 15-play, 68-yard drive from their own 5.
Christmann gives MSU the lead again, this on a 39-yard field goal with 3:30 left in the half. The score capped a 13-play, 67-yard drive.
What went right: The drive the Gators started late in the first quarter continued into the second and eventually led to a game-tying 39-yard field goal by Evan McPherson. On the drive, Dan Mullen did an excellent job mixing up the play-calling and keeping the offense moving. It featured Lamical Perine and Kadarius Toney lining up once each in the wildcat formation. Toney got the Gators down to the MSU 22 with a 16-yard run.
What went wrong: Yet another false start on a third-and-seven from the MSU led to the Gators having to settle for the field goal. Other than that drive, the offense had little opportunity to produce anything else because the defense could not get Nick Fitzgerald and the MSU offense off the field. After the UF field goal, the Bulldogs went on a long, time-consuming drive that concluded with a 39-yard field goal by Jace Christmann with only 3:30 left in the quarter.
Play of the quarter: Toney’s 16-yard run out of the wildcat formation that put the Gators in field goal range early in the quarter.
Trending: Despite being out played for much of the half on both lines of scrimmage, the Gators are very much in the game, trailing only 6-3. The offense certainly showed some signs of life late in the first quarter and early in the second. UF was very effective with the quick passing game and getting into the wildcat formation.
— Robbie Andreu
Florida 0 3
Miss. State 3 3
UF took a 10-6 lead with 8:26 left in the third quarter when QB Feleipe Franks threw a backward pass to Kadarius Toney, who threw 20 yards to open tight end Moral Stephens in the end zone. The score capped a six-play, 73-yard drive highlighted by a 22-yard run by Lamical Perine.
What went right: The Gators took the 10-6 lead following a six-play, 73-yard drive and involved some trickery. The UF defense also played well.
What went wrong: Franks was intercepted at midfield on the first drive of the second half when his third-down pass was tipped and then intercepted by Cameron Dantzler of State. The UF defense held and forced a punt.
Play of the quarter: Toney’s scoring pass that gave UF the lead.
Trending: Time of possession for the Gators, who controlled the quarter. Dan Mullen’s play calling has been spot on so far in the second half. It’s sort of neutralized MSU’s pass rush.
Florida 0 3 7
Miss. State 3 3 0
McPherson nailed a 21-yard field goal to put UF up 13-6 with 5:22 left in the game.
Safety Donovan Stiner sacked Nick Fitzgerald on fourth down and 10 from the UF 45.
UF improves to 4-1 overall, 2-1 in the SEC. MSU drops to 3-2, 0-2.
What went right: The Gators continued the control the clock thanks to punter Tommy Townsend pinning the Bulldogs in poor field position and strong work the the UF defense. McPherson again with clutch with his field goal.
What went wrong: Not coming away with more points with the ball inside the MSU five-yard line late in the quarter.
Play of the quarter: Blitzing safety Donovan Stiner sacked Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald on fourth down and 10 from the UF 45 to end the game.
Florida 0 3 7 3 — 13
Miss. State 3 3 0 0 — 6