GAINESVILLE — In the midst of the euphoria that comes with scoring two touchdowns in less than two minutes to win, Florida coach Will Muschamp didn't shy away from a problem that continues to plague the Gators: penalties.
"The penalties just killed us in the game, and they were penalties," Muschamp said. "We've talked about it, we've emphasized it every day, in every situation we could. We've benched guys, we've done everything we can do. I'm going to find another way, I don't know."
Florida was penalized 10 times for 79 yards in Saturday's 27-20 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. Some penalties extended ULL drives, eventually ending in scores. Some negated big gains for Florida. All are starting to take a toll. Muschamp said he and his staff will meet this morning to evaluate the mistakes, but ultimately it's up to the players.
"The players need to understand that they need to take some responsibility, that's what I told them in the locker room," Muschamp said. "We've got to get over this. We have to get over jumping offsides on third and 10. Eventually, as a player you have to look in the mirror and realize that you need to play smarter. We're going to keep holding them accountable and do what we've got to do. We're doing all we can do."
INJURY UPDATE: Sophomore QB Jeff Driskel (ankle), OL Ian Silberman (shoulder), LB Neiron Ball (ankle) and DB Valdez Showers (shoulder) were all injured. Muschamp said he had no update on the severity of the injuries. OL Xavier Nixon missed his second game with a knee injury, and DT Leon Orr out of Gulf High will most likely miss the final two games of the regular season after contracting a kidney infection. Orr missed last week's game against Missouri with the flu.
BAER'S RECORD: When Ragin' Cajuns K Brett Baer hit a 22-yard field goal with 13:11 remaining, it gave them a 20-13 lead and Baer a unique distinction. He became the NCAA's all-time leading kicker in career accuracy; he has made 40-of-45 (.889). And who has he surpassed? Former Florida Gator Bobby Raymond, who was 43-of-49 (.878) from 1983-84.
BY THE NUMBERS: Saturday's win was UF's sixth straight at home, its longest active streak since the Gators went undefeated at home in 2009. Junior TE Jordan Reed had five catches for a career-best 85 yards for the Gators. Sophomore Kyle Christy had three punts of more than 50 yards — 58, 55 and 50 and averaged 45.6 yards per punt. WR Quinton Dunbar has had a catch in 13 straight games dating to the South Carolina game in 2011.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "In all my years of playing football I've never seen a touchdown like that. I went ballistic. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how the win came about, it came about." — Sharrif Floyd, Gators defensive lineman, on the winning touchdown coming off a blocked punt. Floyd, a junior, forced a fumble in the game.
Antonya English can be reached at email@example.com.