Gators rally for 54-32 victory over Furman
Florida scored 20 unanswered points in the second quarter and relied on two huge defensive plays in the fourth quarter to cap a 54-32 come-from-behind victory over Furman Saturday afternoon in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The victory allowed the Gators (6-5, 3-5 SEC) to become bowl-eligible with their sixth win of the season and ensured that Florida can finish the regular season no worse than with a .500 record.
“As ugly as the victory may be for us, in my opinion the most pleasing part of the win was the fact that nobody panicked on the sidelines,’’ Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “We just kept playing, kept hanging in there and made the adjustments defensively. We kept playing on offense, the special teams did a nice job and we had a big blocked punt. We just continued to hang in. Nothing’s easy. We certainly don’t make it that way.’’
Senior QB John Brantley finished with a career-high 329 yards and a career-best four touchdowns.
The Gators gave up 446 yards, but were able to force critical turnovers when they needed them most. With Florida leading by just eight points in the fourth quarter, freshman safety De’Ante Saunders had a 25-yard interception return with 12:52 remaining to give the Gators a 47-32 lead. Then with four minutes remaining, linebacker Jelani Jenkins returned an interception by Furman quarterback Jeff Forcier 77 yards to seal the win. It was the second-longest interception by a Gator linebacker since Darren Hambrick had an 81-yard return in 1994.
Listen to Muschamp's opening statement from his postgame press conference: