Thursday, December 20, 2012
Best/worst in 2012: Florida
By Chris Low
We turn our attention to Florida in our series of best and worst moments for all 14 SEC teams in 2012:
Even though Florida had been excellent on offense and special teams all season, the Gators spent most of the final month of the season sputtering on offense. But then came the regular-season finale against bitter rival Florida State. Everything suddenly clicked for the Gators, who reeled off 24 straight points in a span of just under nine minutes in the fourth quarter to win 37-26 over the Seminoles and lock up a BCS bowl trip. It was Florida's fourth win of the season over a team that finished in the top 12 of the final BCS standings. The win also snapped a two-game losing streak to Florida State. It was especially sweet for the Gators to pummel the Seminoles' nationally ranked defense the way they did on the ground. Florida rushed for 244 yards, including 140 by senior running back Mike Gillislee.
There was only one blemish on Florida's record this season, but it was a costly one. The Gators lost for the second year in a row to Georgia, the first time that's happened since a three-game skid in 1987-89. The 17-9 loss to the Bulldogs kept the Gators out of the Discover BCS National Championship Game picture and marked the first time since 1988 that Florida had failed to score a touchdown against Georgia. The Gators mustered just three field goals and turned the ball over six times. One of those turnovers came when tight end Jordan Reed was motoring toward the end zone with a little more than two minutes to play, but was stripped of the ball by Georgia's Jarvis Jones at the 5. The Bulldogs' Sanders Commings recovered in the end zone in what was a microcosm of the way the game went for Florida that day in Jacksonville.