Dan Mullen era is over: Here are the Florida Gators' 5 best and worst games since 2018
Mullen led the Gators to a 34-15 record in three-plus seasons in Gainesville, logging double-digit wins in his first two seasons before going 8-4 in 2020 and 5-6 in 2021. Florida was 21-14 in the SEC under Mullen, with plenty of exciting wins and just as many devastating losses.
Greg Knox will take over as interim coach for at least the Gators' last regular-season game vs. Florida State. Before he does, it's worth taking a look back at the highs and lows of Mullen's time in charge at The Swamp.
Florida Gators' 5 best games under Dan Mullen
5. Florida loses to Alabama 52-46 in SEC Championship on Dec. 19, 2020
The Crimson Tide, led by Najee Harris, Mac Jones and Heisman winner DeVonta Smith, would go on to win the national championship. The Gators trailed 35-17 at halftime but managed to stay in the game thanks to the efforts of Kyle Trask, Kadarius Toney and Kyle Pitts, all of whom had big days. Some days, your best just isn't enough, and that's OK.
4. Florida beats Georgia 44-28 on Nov. 7, 2020
The Cocktail Party win was bittersweet because of the brutal hit Lewis Cine put on Kyle Pitts. But even without his favorite target for most of the game, Kyle Trask pretty much did everything he wanted in Jacksonville, throwing for 474 yards and four touchdowns. The Gators got three picks off Georgia's quarterbacks, and Florida got a sweet six-game winning streak properly started.
3. Florida beats Auburn 24-13 on Oct. 5, 2019
Auburn and Florida were both 5-0 coming into this game. Just about a minute in, Kyle Trask hit Freddie Swain on a 64-yard touchdown strike to get The Swamp jumping. Lamical Perine sealed the victory with an 88-yard TD scamper, and Bo Nix was brought back down to earth as the Gators forced four turnovers. (For what happened next week, check out the Worst list.)
2. Florida beats Michigan 41-15 in Peach Bowl on Dec. 19, 2018
It was a top-10 matchup that felt like anything but at game's end. Believe it or not, Michigan led before Feleipe Franks' 20-yard TD run late in the second quarter. After halftime, this one became a laugher. Lamical Perine scored twice, Chauncey Gardner got a pick-six, and Jim Harbaugh couldn't get out of Atlanta fast enough. It was a satisfying end to the first year under Dan Mullen.
1. Florida beats LSU 27-19 on Oct. 6, 2018
LSU was 5-0 coming into The Swamp with Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow at quarterback. Nick Brossette's second TD run put the Tigers up 19-14 early in the fourth quarter, but Lamicael Perine responded with HIS second TD run of the game. Brad Stewart's pick-six sealed the deal in Mullen's first big victory in Gainesville.
Earlier Sunday:Mullen, Stricklin talked about program's future
Florida Gators' 5 worst games under Dan Mullen
5. Florida beats Samford 70-52 on Nov. 13, 2021
This is a prime example of a win feeling like a loss. FCS team Samford led the Gators at halftime by pouring on the most points Florida had ever given up in a half. Emory Jones saved this one from being a true catastrophe, but it turns out this was the warning sign that Todd Grantham and John Hevesy wouldn't be the last coaches to go this season.
4. LSU beats Florida 42-28 on Oct. 12, 2019
The Gators were flying high after winning their showdown of 5-0 starts against Auburn. Then they were shown what a real undefeated team looks like in the eventual national champion LSU Tigers. Van Jefferson gave the Gators a seven-point lead after halftime. From there, Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Ja'Marr Chase took over, as LSU scored the next four touchdowns and left Florida in the dust.
3. Missouri beats Florida 38-17 on Nov. 3, 2018
The Gators had just lost to Georgia 36-17, and while that hurt, it was nothing compared to following that up with a nearly identical margin of defeat in The Swamp. Kyle Trask put up some decent numbers in the second half, but by then Drew Lock and Mizzou had put this one well out of hand.
2. South Carolina beats Florida 40-17 on Nov. 6, 2021
Once again, the Gators were coming off a shellacking at the hands of the Dawgs only to see it get worse. The Gamecocks put up 30 straight points and scored on their first five possessions for the first time since some guy named Steve Spurrier was their coach in 2013. It was even worse, if you can believe it: USC had third-string quarterback Jason Brown make his first ever start in an FBS game. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was fired after this one.
1. LSU beats Florida 37-34 on Dec. 12, 2020
You may remember it as "The Shoe Game." It looked like this one was going to overtime in the foggy Swamp when Marco Wilson gave Kole Taylor's shoe a royal toss downfield for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that kept the Tigers' drive alive. Cade York hit a remarkable 57-yard field goal, and Evan McPherson couldn't answer with a 51-yard try of his own. Florida was 8-1 and looking like a College Football Playoff team; LSU was 3-5 and clearly missing the stars from the prior season's national championship squad. This one hurt more ways than one.