Make us your home page

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 lose third in a row, 10-7 to Mississippi State Bulldogs

GAINESVILLE — Until Saturday, Florida hadn't lost a homecoming game since 1988, when those garish orange jerseys were in vogue and Emmitt Smith was a sophomore.

Speaking of Smith, yes, his collegiate eligibility has been exhausted. Otherwise, even a 41-year-old with 15 years of NFL tread might be a welcome sight in the beleaguered Gators offense. Or its kicking game.

On a breezy night that swerved smack into the apocalyptic, the Gator offense became more anemic, the boos more resounding and the injury report more bloated.

A wide right 42-yard field goal by punter-turned-kicker Chas Henry — his second miss of the night — with four seconds to play preserved Mississippi State's 10-7 win before an audience of 90,517.

"We're not very good right now," coach Urban Meyer said — several times — afterward.

Florida (4-3, 2-3 SEC), loser of three in a row in the regular season for the first time since the Galen Hall era, is all but assured of dropping out of the Top 25 for the first time in Meyer's six-plus seasons.

The Bulldogs (5-2, 2-2) ended a 16-game losing streak at Florida Field dating to 1965.

Only South Carolina's 31-28 upset loss at Kentucky keeps Florida in legitimate contention for the SEC East. Unless the offensive stench dissipates, those chances will regress from legitimate to mathematical in a hurry.

When asked if some major offensive changes could be forthcoming, Meyer said, "I think so."

"If that's what Coach Meyer thinks we need to do, we're all for it," said quarterback John Brantley, who passed for 210 yards but was sacked three times and stymied by a pocket that frequently caved on him.

"We've got Coach Meyer's back. We've got offensive coordinator Steve) Addazio's back. Whatever they want to do, we're on board."

Additionally, Meyer indicated, key players (tailbacks Jeff Demps and Mike Gillislee, kicker Caleb Sturgis, wideout Andre Debose) must get healthy, and, perhaps more important, these Gators must find ways to win.

"If you look back, there's some big-time wins around here where guys stepped up and made a play," he said. "And we just have to do that."

Stymied by Mississippi State's blitz-from-all-angles scheme that might have perforated Brantley's flap jacket, Florida managed 138 total yards — 17 on the ground — in the first half.

After one quarter, Brantley had 5 passing yards and — for the sixth time in seven opening quarters this season — the Gators had a zero on the scoreboard.

Meantime, the Bulldogs, dissecting the heart of Florida's defense with simple dives and keepers out of coach's Dan Mullen spread offense, built a 10-0 first-quarter lead. The Bulldogs capped an 11-play, 64-yard drive on quarterback Chris Relf's 6-yard run with 45 seconds left.

Florida's only tangible sign of potency came on its first possession of the second half. Buoyed by a liberal infusion of wildcat formations and counters, not to mention a Demps sighting, the Gators drove 80 yards in 13 plays, capped by Omarius Hines' 5-yard scoring run.

Demps, nursing a sprained left foot for roughly the past month, ran for 26 of his 36 yards on three carries on the drive. But all that posterity will recall is his fumble after catching a Brantley pass at the Bulldogs 17 with 7:50 to play in the game.

Still, the Gators got themselves in position to tie with an efficient two-minute drill that began at their 4. Brantley, going underneath as Mississippi State swarmed the secondary, went 9-for-12 on the drive before flinging the ball away on third and 5 at the 25 while being chased out of the pocket.

That set the stage for the miss by Henry, thrust into kicking duty by Sturgis' back injury.

"We're a real close bunch," Brantley said. "We've all got each others' backs. We all love each other. Whether it's a win or loss, we're all going to stick together and keep playing and have each others' back."

Mississippi St. 10

No. 22 Florida 7

. fast facts

Unfamiliar feeling

The Gators have lost three in a row for the first time since 1999, and it's their first consecutive losses in Gainesville since 2003:


Nov. 20FSU 30-23

Dec. 4 Alabama 34-7 *

Jan. 1Michigan St.37-34 %


Sept. 20Tennessee24-10

Oct. 14Ole Miss20-17

* Neutral site, SEC title game

% Neutral site, Citrus Bowl

Florida Gators lose third in a row, 10-7 to Mississippi State Bulldogs 10/16/10 [Last modified: Sunday, October 17, 2010 12:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.