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Sunday, November 27, 2011
Gators' offense gets worse in loss

By Edward Aschoff

Things haven't been good in the Swamp for most of the year, and it looked about as bad as it could Saturday night.

For all the talk about how a win over Florida State would help re-energize this struggling Florida team, the Gators went backward against their archrivals, losing 21-7 in a game in which it seemed that neither offense got off of the bus.

In the winning effort, Florida State accumulated just 95 total yards of offense, while Florida finished with 184 yards and four turnovers.

It was an awful senior night for quarterback John Brantley, who has had a rough Florida career. He threw three interceptions and 104 yards before being knocked out of the game in the second quarter.

Brantley's last night in the Swamp couldn't have gone even worse as each one of his interceptions was the result of a bad throw.

But the rest of the offense didn't do much to help out Brantley. Chris Rainey and Hunter Joyer gained 72 total rushing yards, but the Gators netted just 54 yards on 33 carries behind an offensive line that was overpowered for most of the night by the Seminoles.

What must be extremely disheartening for this team is that the defense played arguably its best game of the season and had nothing to show for it. If not for a fumble forced late and a recovery by Jaye Howard deep in Florida State territory, Florida might have been shut out for the first time since the 1980s.

Florida felt the injury bug throughout the night, but Florida's performance in the home finale against the Seminoles was abysmal. Coach Will Muschamp said as much as he referred to his team as "soft" during his postgame news conference and vowed that Florida would get back to being mentally and physically tough in the future.

It all starts with bowl preparation. This is the first step to the second year under Muschamp. This is the time in which he will find out who is really invested and who isn't. This is a major time in the first-year coach's life at Florida, as he looks for the right players to turn the corner with.