Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp left wanting more after beating Florida State

TALLAHASSEE

In the end, the stadium that had broken so many of their dreams was silent as a cemetery. The scattered fans who remained sat stone-faced, their arms folded, their eyes staring blankly at the field.

And it was not enough.

For the first time in weeks, the maligned Gators offense had had its way with a highly ranked opponent, scoring 37 points, shredding the No. 1 rushing defense in America with 244 yards on the ground.

That was not enough, either.

Once again their defense had overpowered an opponent. FSU was supposed to have one of the most explosive offenses in the country, remember? That was before Florida pulled the plug.

And still the Gators wanted more.

It was only moments after the conclusion of the Gators' most improbable, most unexpected season, and already coach Will Muschamp was talking about the national championship. His team had just beaten its archrival on the archrival's turf in convincing fashion, and still Muschamp wanted a new foe to conquer. Anyone, he said. Anywhere.

Maybe, just maybe, this is why the Gators program has come so far so fast. As good as this season has been, as surprising as the progress has been, it still isn't enough for this guy.

"We shot ourselves in the foot too many times in Jacksonville (in losing to Georgia)," Muschamp said. "Or we would be sitting here undefeated. That's the bottom line. Our resume speaks for itself. You see where we have played, who we have played and the quality of football teams we've beaten."

How can Florida fans not wince today as they remember the six turnovers against Georgia? Three turnovers, the Gators could have survived. Four, they still might have won. Even with five, they had a shot. It was the sixth that did them in. Instead, the winner of the SEC title game between Alabama and Georgia will get one of the BCS title-game slots. Notre Dame will get the other.

The thing is, Florida had seldom looked more like a contender than it did in beating the Seminoles on Saturday. Remember how shaky the Gators looked against Louisiana-Lafayette? Remember how punchless the offense had seemed for a month? There were those who suggested that, as the No. 4 team in the BCS standings, Florida was vastly overrated.

Not anymore. This was a different Gators team. It wore down an FSU defensive front that had allowed only 70 yards per game rushing, on average. It harassed quarterback EJ Manuel into three interceptions and a fumble. It dominated time of possession.

Put it this way: If you still think the Gators have offensive limitations, FSU should be grateful. Otherwise, the Gators might have scored 60. As it was, the Seminoles could not stop the Gators' rushing attack.

"We had a lot of confidence coming in here and being able to run the ball," Muschamp said. "We've run it well versus better defenses."

If that sounds like a dig at the ACC, well, maybe it is.

"(The Seminoles) don't face too many two-back power running teams in their league," Muschamp said. "They play a lot of that one-back stuff. You better learn to fit the counter and the power when you play Florida."

FSU couldn't, and that's sure to vex Seminoles fans today. Even after FSU rallied from a 13-0 deficit to take the lead in the third quarter, it couldn't keep up on either offense or defense.

As it turns out, it won't be the North Carolina State loss that vexes the FSU fans this winter. It will be the Florida loss.

Maybe this time it will be FSU coach Jimbo Fisher who wonders about his team's toughness. If you remember, Muschamp did that after last year's FSU game when he suggested his team was soft.

No one says that anymore about the Gators. These days they dare to suggest Muschamp has repaired the program Urban Meyer once pronounced as broken.

Surprise. That isn't enough for Muschamp, either.

"I wouldn't say we're fixed," he said. "At the University of Florida, we're about winning championships. We're about going to Atlanta (for the SEC title game). Until you start accomplishing some goals …

"Everyone wants to talk about we've arrived and we're back. Hell, we haven't won a championship. Until we do, I have a hard time saying we're back."

Odd. This year the Gators were more than anyone expected.

Muschamp? He wanted more. Of course he did.

Listen to Gary Shelton weekdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on 98.7-FM the Fan.

Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp left wanting more after beating Florida State 11/24/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 24, 2012 10:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida

    College

     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.
  2. Mikhail Sergachev scores twice as Lightning shuts out Blue Jackets (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev said he blacked out for a few seconds after his first NHL goal Thursday night, a rocket slap shot from the point.

    Mikhail Sergachev, front, looks like he’s very in the moment with teammate Dan Girardi after scoring his first NHL goal, though he says he blacked out for a bit. He scores again in the second.
  3. Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to win pennant, head to World Series for first time since '88

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

    The Dodgers celebrate their Game 5 victory Thursday night over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, putting Los Angeles in the World Series for the first time since 1988.
  4. Joe Smith's takeaways from Thursday's Lightning-Blue Jackets game

    Lightning Strikes

    While Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov grab the headlines, don't sleep on their linemate, Vladislav Namestnikov. Namestnikov is far from a third wheel, with eight points in eight games. "He might not have the names the other two have, but he's as pivotal and vital to that line as the others," coach Jon Cooper said.

  5. Lightning journal: Derrick Brooks helps J.T. Brown make a difference

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown's decision to stop his anthem protest began to take shape just a few days after he raised his right fist before the Oct. 7 game against the Panthers in Sunrise.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown (23) on the ice at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17).