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 QB John Brantley take a beating, earns respect

John Brantley is sacked three times, after which teammate Dan Wenger says, “John’s tough. I can’t be more proud of him.”

Getty images

John Brantley is sacked three times, after which teammate Dan Wenger says, “John’s tough. I can’t be more proud of him.”

GAINESVILLE — As he walked off the field after being sacked on the final play of the game, Florida QB John Brantley had a slight limp and the look of a player who had been battered and bruised all day.

The stats will tell you Brantley was sacked just three times Saturday, but he was hurried, harassed and hit often. He finished 13-of-21 for 119 yards and no interceptions but no touchdowns.

It is, his teammates said, a testament to the leader he has become despite the team's record.

"John's tough," OL Dan Wenger said. "I can't be more proud of him. He's our leader out there. I thought he did a great job with how he led and how tough he was.

"I just wish I would have played better for him."

The Gators made some adjustments to their offensive line, moving Wenger to center and Jonotthan Harrison to left guard for one possession before Harrison left the game "banged up," Florida coach Will Muschamp said.

And although he defended the line's protection of Brantley leading into Saturday's game, Muschamp acknowledged there's work to be done.

"Yeah, he took some hits," Muschamp said of Brantley. "We've got to do a better job protecting. There's no question."

BITTERSWEET ENDING: If you happened to catch South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier's postgame excitement Saturday afternoon, you should know he wasn't just giddy because he had just beaten his alma mater.

South Carolina's victory over Florida gave it an undefeated SEC East season for the first time in school history. Spurrier said the accomplishment is even more impressive because the Gamecocks persevered after the dismissal of QB Stephen Garcia and the loss of star RB Marcus Lattimore to a knee injury last month.

"It's interesting," said Spurrier, whose only conference losses came to Auburn and Arkansas. "Not many of you would say we'd be 6-2 in the conference without Marcus or with a quarterback who's never played, Connor Shaw, or without (OT) Kyle Nunn, who we lost the second week with a back injury. But our defense stayed pretty healthy throughout. Most of our veteran guys are on defense.

"This was a good win for us. I'm happy with this one. It's one of the best I've ever had; not because it's my old school, but because it's six wins in the conference and beating those three schools that have dominated South Carolina before '05 (Florida, Georgia, Tennessee)."

But the undefeated record might not be enough to send the Gamecocks to Atlanta for the SEC title game. Georgia leads the East after its victory over Auburn on Saturday afternoon. If Georgia defeats Kentucky next week, it will play in Atlanta.

ANOTHER BIG DAY: Senior RB Chris Rainey played with a nagging injury.

He missed last week's game against Vanderbilt with an ankle injury but finished Saturday with 17 carries for 132 yards — his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season.

"I can't run 100 percent," he said. "But I did the best I can."

Florida Gators QB John Brantley take a beating, earns respect 11/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 12, 2011 7:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays set to activate Tommy Hunter from DL


    The Rays plan to activate RHP Tommy Hunter from the DL for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

  2. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
  3. Tom Jones: Rays made right move sending Blake Snell to minors

    The Heater

    tom jones' two cents


    Blake Snell’s struggles on the mound were only one of the reasons the Rays sent him to the minors; some other red flags existed. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Ryne Stanek has had his early struggles, but Wednesday he showed his high-octane potential, working around a one-out walk to strike out the mighty Mike Trout (on a 98.4 mph fastball) and legendary Albert Pujols (98.7), both swinging.

  5. Rays journal: More bullpen changes as Diego Moreno heads to DL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays bullpen has another new look.

    Rays reliever Diego Moreno, pitching Sunday against the Yankees, heads the DL with shoulder bursitis.