Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Colleges

Florida Gators slump to lows last seen in 1979

GAINESVILLE — Any hope of a bowl game is now gone. The 2013 Florida Gators will be remembered as the worst team since the one in 1979 that finished 0-10-1. The first with a sub-.500 record and six-game losing streak, including a 26-20 loss to Division I-AA Georgia Southern on Saturday, since that '79 team.

To say the Gators are reeling is an understatement. And even they are finding it tough to put into words just how bad things are.

"It's all disappointing," coach Will Muschamp said. "It's hard to really measure it. I'm very disappointed, and we've got to get it fixed. And we will."

"I'm as shocked as you," LB Darrin Kitchens said.

"Just losing, I hate it," RG and former St. Petersburg Catholic standout Jon Halapio said. "Just the whole way the season has gone, I'm very disappointed.

"I'm sorry."

Social media was filled with angry comments after Saturday's loss, but the players said they aren't concerned about losing their coach. Muschamp, 22-15 in his third season, received a public vote of confidence from athletic director Jeremy Foley and president Bernie Machen two weeks ago.

NO EXCUSES: Florida has lost 10 players to season-ending injuries, and it lost three linebackers Saturday. But against Georgia Southern, it was a feeble excuse. The Eagles, who have just 63 scholarships — 22 fewer than the Gators — have lost 19 players to season-ending injuries.

"I know they've had a tough year. They've had a lot of injuries," Eagles coach Jeff Monken said. "So have we. We've got a lot of guys playing out there that weren't our starters at the beginning of the year and wouldn't have been starters right now had other guys been healthy."

(CAN'T) STOP THE RUN: Although the Gators' run defense has struggled recently, it entered No. 3 in the SEC.

In 10 games, Florida had given up 1,151 yards. On Saturday, the Gators gave up 429 to Georgia Southern — fourth most in UF history. It was the fifth time among the past six games the Gators have had an opponent rush for 100 yards or more.

Georgia Southern had two 100-yard rushers: Kevin Ellison (15 carries for 118) and Jerick McKinnon (nine for 125).

The Gators gave up 100 yards or more to an opponent only once last season, Georgia's Todd Gurley.

INJURY UPDATE: Florida LB Mike Taylor sustained a sprained ligament in his knee and most likely will miss the season finale against Florida State. Freshman LB Alex Anzalone dislocated his shoulder, but his status has not been determined.

DL Jonathan Bullard practiced until Wednesday, but his injured knee began to swell Thursday and he did not play. CB Marcus Roberson (ankle) did not play.

Kitchens sustained a shoulder injury but returned.

"I had a stinger," he said. "I took a really bad blow to the head, so I had to get treatment. I needed to see the trainers right away."

ROBINSON OUT: Freshman WR Demarcus Robinson has been suspended for the remainder of the season for what Muschamp called only "not acting right."

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