Saturday, January 20, 2018
Colleges

Gators loss leaves Muschamp under fire

GAINESVILLE — The boos came intermittently Saturday afternoon and grew louder with each Vanderbilt touchdown or Florida miscue, which mostly were intertwined.

The announced attendance was 88,004 (544 short of a sellout), but Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was not even close to filled to capacity.

Gators coach Will Muschamp said he shares the fans' frustrations — and vowed once again to right a struggling program.

"I'm a competitor," Muschamp said. "I don't like losing. I certainly don't like the product we are putting on the field. When it's good, it's good. When it's not good, it's not good, and it hasn't been good. And that's on me. We'll make the decisions to move forward that we need to do to help this football team in the latter part of the season as we move forward.

"I'm not asking for anybody to be happy. I'm not asking anybody to give us a pass. This is the real deal. This is the University of Florida. My expectation I'll guarantee is as high, or higher, than anyone sitting in those stands. There's nobody more let down or hurt or competitive edge dented a little bit by this (than me)."

Last week, Muschamp had a verbal altercation with a Florida fan in the stands following the third consecutive loss overall and third consecutive to Georgia.

"That (booing) doesn't bother me," he said. "I made a mistake last week. I made a real mistake over a very passionate, passionate Florida fan telling me his opinion of me. You know what? That's fine. That's fine. They pay their ticket. They can boo all they want. That's good. Now it doesn't help our program. That's fine."

HOPE DWINDLING: The Gators play No. 13 South Carolina on Saturday and close their season against No. 3 Florida State.

In between, Florida hosts Division I-AA Georgia Southern. The Gators need two wins to become bowl-eligible and admitted they are stunned by the turn the season has taken.

"Very shocking," QB Tyler Murphy said. "Everyone in that locker room came to Florida to win, and we're not winning. And that's just unacceptable. As players, we know that's unacceptable. We're just going to keep fighting, keep pushing and try to make the best out of this season."

Despite the four-game losing streak, players staunchly defended Muschamp.

"I'll go to battle with that coach any day; his whole coaching staff," RG Jon Halapio said. "I see the grind in his eyes every day. I see what he does every day; the passion he has for this team. And I'll go to war with him any day. He has our backs, and I have his back win or lose."

KICKING WOES: The kicking problems that have plagued the Gators all season continue. Austin Hardin missed a 44-yard field goal and is 4-of-10 for the season. Brad Phillips is 2-of-2 and Francisco Velez 4-of-5. Florida's 10 field goals (among 17 attempts) are 13th in the 14-team SEC.

STREAK ENDS: Florida's streak of games with at least one forced turnover ended at 19. It has forced just four turnovers over the past four games.

Comments
Gary Trent, Duke rally past Miami with 18-0 run

Gary Trent, Duke rally past Miami with 18-0 run

CORAL GABLES — Gary Trent scored a season-high 30 and No. 5 Duke needed less than three minutes to erase a 13-point second-half deficit, scoring 18 consecutive points to overtake No. 25 Miami 83-75 on Monday night. The Blue Devils scored 15 in six po...
Published: 01/15/18

Shrine Game journal: Homecoming for Utah OL Salesi Uhatafe; Quinton Flowers works on snaps

ST. PETERSBURG — Salesi Uhatafe is back in his hometown, and though he moved to Texas when he was still a baby, it’s very much a homecoming as the former Utah offensive lineman plays in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field."I’ll probab...
Published: 01/15/18
Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — Joel Lanning has the unique distinction of being listed as an "LB/QB" on the West roster for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field.And while the former Iowa State star spent the entire practice at middle linebacker Mond...
Published: 01/15/18
Keith Jackson, leading college football broadcaster, dies at 89

Keith Jackson, leading college football broadcaster, dies at 89

Keith Jackson, the folksy voice of college football who for decades weaved backwoods wit through Saturday afternoon ABC broadcasts, died Friday night. He was 89.In a 52-year broadcasting career, Mr. Jackson covered a wide variety of sports for radio ...
Published: 01/13/18
No. 24 FSU outlasts Syracuse in double overtime

No. 24 FSU outlasts Syracuse in double overtime

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State squandered a double-digit halftime lead for the second straight game. This time, it was able to overcome that.The 23rd-ranked Seminoles scored the first six in the second overtime to propel them to a 101-90 victory over Sy...
Published: 01/13/18

Florida manhandled in paint by Ole Miss for first SEC loss

OXFORD, Miss. — Florida came into its matchup focused on stopping a talented group of Ole Miss guards.But it was the play of the frontcourt that did in the Gators on Saturday afternoon.Bruce Stevens scored 22, Deandre Burnett added 20 and Mississippi...
Published: 01/13/18
South Carolina gives Will Muschamp new $28 million deal

South Carolina gives Will Muschamp new $28 million deal

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Will Muschamp received a new six-year, $28.2 million contract after a nine-win season that culminated with a victory over Michigan in the Outback Bowl. Muschamp’s contract was approved Friday by the school’s boar...
Published: 01/12/18
Jones: March Madness is weeks away. What’s up with college basketball?

Jones: March Madness is weeks away. What’s up with college basketball?

We’ve been a little busy lately.What with Dirk Koetter staying and Evan Longoria going. We’ve been distracted by UCF and amazed by Alabama. There has been Jon Gruden news and what is shaping up to be a very special season for the Lightning.With all t...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18
Bobby Bowden: Dadgum it, UCF has a gripe

Bobby Bowden: Dadgum it, UCF has a gripe

Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is 88 and still keeps a busy schedule of speaking engagements. On Wednesday he was in Omaha, Neb. — his fourth city in a week — to receive the Tom Osborne Legacy Award for his contributions to college football ...
Published: 01/11/18
Jones: The secret to Alabama’s success

Jones: The secret to Alabama’s success

Nick Saban is the greatest college football coach of all-time.The current Alabama run — five titles in nine seasons — belongs at the top of any dynasty in the history of the sport. To do what Bama has done in this day and age of parity is remarkableS...
Published: 01/09/18