Posted November 23, 2013

Georgia Southern stuns Florida in game that could spell the end for Will Muschamp

Florida Gators, SEC, Will Muschamp
Georgia Southern's Tray Butler

Tray Butler (26) and Georgia Southern ran for 429 yards in a 26-20 victory over Florida. (Michael Chang/Getty Images)

One year ago, Florida went 11-2 and played in the Sugar Bowl. In August, it entered the 2013 season ranked No. 10 in the AP Poll. Now, the Gators’ storied football program has hit rock bottom.

FCS Georgia Southern shocked Florida 26-20 in the Swamp on Saturday. There are numbers to consider — the triple-option Eagles (7-4, 4-4 Southern) completed zero passes and gained a staggering 429 rushing yards — but the box score doesn’t capture just how completely the Gators (4-7, 3-5 SEC) have collapsed. They’ve lost six straight games since opening the season 4-1, a skid that now includes their first defeat to an FCS foe in school history.

Perhaps no team has been hit with as many injuries as Florida, which has lost 10 players to season-ending ailments. Redshirt freshman quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg started the last two games as a result of injuries to starter Jeff Driskel (leg) and backup Tyler Murphy (shoulder). But that doesn’t excuse this result, which seems at once stunning and, in a way, inevitable.

Mornhinweg hit senior wide receiver Solomon Patton for a 46-yard touchdown pass with 5:41 remaining in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 20, but Georgia Southern quarterback Jerick McKinnon — who carried nine times for 125 yards — ran for a 14-yard score on the ensuing possession to regain the lead. (The Eagles missed the PAT.) On the Gators’ final drive, Mornhinweg completed six passes to move Florida to the Georgia Southern 17-yard line. But his two heaves toward the end zone fell incomplete, the last one as time expired.

This loss may well signal the end for third-year coach Will Muschamp, who received the “1,000 percent” backing of athletic director Jeremy Foley earlier this month. As the Twitterverse was quick to point out, there are bad seasons … and then there’s this.

Now the Gators face the near-impossible task of rebounding in time to face second-ranked Florida State next Saturday. That clash will mark the end of Florida’s season — the Gators can no longer reach a bowl game. Can Florida’s players turn around and hang with an in-state rival that seems bound for the BCS title game? Or will the Gators fall even further?

Earlier this week, Florida redshirt sophomore linebacker Michael Taylor told the Miami Herald that the Eagles were an opponent to be taken seriously.

“If you don’t come out prepared and ready to play, you can lose to anybody. We lost to Vanderbilt. We hadn’t lost to Vanderbilt in 20-something years,” junior linebacker Michael Taylor said. “Any team is capable of losing on any day. I know this team put up 352 yards on [Georgia] last year, so this is no team to push aside. This is a team to be prepared for.”

In retrospect, those words were more true than perhaps any of the Gators’ coaches, players or fans could have imagined.

103 comments
weir6
weir6

It's called a Triple Option, Muschamp, and it kills coaches.

GO EAGLES!

WilliamBrady
WilliamBrady

Foley is 1000% sure Muschamp will stay is because of the big buy out  package.  Foley is 1000% sure UF won't pay it now.   Changing  the OC won't change anything.  The OC runs the offense the head coach sets.  Muschamps defense 1st philosophy is the problem, not Brent Pease.  Florida is a prestigious position and should have been wasted on an unproven experiment.  The lack of discipline is on Muschamp not the OC.  Bottom line, it's the head coach Muschamp that is the problem.

SlimJimMagee
SlimJimMagee

Muschamp has no business being on the Gators sideline for even another game.  It would be better to have an interim coach against FSU.  Muschamp needs to pack up and get out of Gainesville.  


Will Muschamp Has To Go


https://www.facebook.com/GoAwayWill

Adolfis
Adolfis

Wel its after noon on Sunday following the loss to Georgia Southern and Muschump is still the coach so it looks as if Foley the fool is going to keep him for one more week.

dandogwood
dandogwood

Weak Willie Mushchump is not ready to be a head coach.  Too soft and just to weak is Willie boy.

WilliamBrady
WilliamBrady

Will Muschamp is a DC and coaching like one.  Until he learns to think like a head coach, don't expect any offense with him at the helm.  Florida is a prestigious coaching position, no place for a unproven upstart.  The Gators deserve better.

dandogwood
dandogwood

Muschump has turned into a weak Lane Kiffin.

givemeglenn
givemeglenn

While some my be attempting to be giving Florida a type of "pass" because of the injuries they've had this season, it should be noted that GA Southern has actually had as many as, if not MORE THAN, the Gators THIS season, including MORE starters, which left Southern's team with ONLY approximately 65 scholarship players available, and none of which were considered "blue chip".

So the fact that GA Southern's SHORT-HANDED team went into the Swamp and won shouldn't be dismissed in any form or fashion. How about giving THEM a little credit? After all, a couple of years ago, they went into Alabama's home field and rushed for over 300 yards against THEIR Top Ranked defense, too...

FLAdomer
FLAdomer

Welcome to the triple option attack Florida! and everyone thinks playing the service acadamy's are weak.....think again mighty SEC! 

FredFlintsone
FredFlintsone

losing to and giving up 500 yards rushing to a division 2 school is not conducive to job security at fl. but like mizzou last season gators have been decimated by injuries this yr.

DamienVacaflor
DamienVacaflor

Muschamp stays.  UF went 11-2 just last year.  Stewart, ask Andy.  He'll know.

biasedsportsfan
biasedsportsfan

I still believe in Muschamp. Anyone who couldn't see this loss as a realistic possibility, given our injury/depth issues and our pathetic offense, was delusional. That being said, the utter defensive breakdown when Georgia Southern was as obvious in their gameplan as the Gators were against South Carolina is truly disheartening. If Muschamp doesn't make it, that is why. If he does, I think a new offensive coordinator and a healthy team (as well as the freshman class that has mostly red-shirted this year) will put the Gators in play for the SEC East. Muschamp is a good coach, and he has - in my estimation - the tools it takes to succeed. Few coaches have had to deal with the injury issues he has, and while that doesn't excuse everything, if he survives the reactionary storm I think the program will be rewarded for it.

joe6647
joe6647

Why put the question mark in the headline.  "Muschamp done?"  Yes, hes done

Sklopr
Sklopr

It's still Urban's fault

NeoSmith
NeoSmith

This is about as bad as Michigan losing to Appalachian State.  Although a great coach, Lloyd Carr couldn't survive such a disgraceful loss.  I don't think Muschamp can survive this either.  This is the same situation as USC with Lame Kiffin.  USC and Florida should have elite talent.  There is no way they should be losing to a FCS school even with a third string QB.  A mere coaching change at USC showed how bad Lame was.  I'm sure that a coaching change here will solve the problem as well.

BenAiken
BenAiken

With Bridgewater moving on, seems like this is the perfect time to give Charlie Strong a call....

Hazel
Hazel

@dandogwood Muschump, Muschump, Muschump ... tag this screaming sociopath as the "Chump" that he truly is.

jeffcooper71
jeffcooper71

@FLAdomer Ga state has 4 losses so lets not act like they are Nebraska in the 90's.  Yes Florida is in the SEC. So what? Do you really think GSU could beat LSU, Auburn, Bama, Mizzou, UGA, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Tenn you know the SEC teams that do not have a 6 game losing streak and are not struggling to find an identity one weak before the season ends?  

As for the service academies, as long as they keep churning out war winning generals and men and women of great character, I do not care how good their football team is. They have a higher calling.

peachstealth
peachstealth

@FredFlintsone 

Ga Southern has never been Division 2. They were Div1 FCS (1-AA). They've had a lot of injuries this year and have nothing to play for. They are in transition from FCS to BCS and are ineligible for the FCS playoffs (which they have won a record 6 times), the Southern  Conference championship ( 10 conference championships in 20 years) and post season bowls.

 The Florida game was their last game as an FCS team and a member of the Southern Conference. ( the parent conference of both the SEC and ACC)

They put over 300 yards of rushing on Alabama in 2011 and 350 on Georgia in 2012. It was just a matter of time before they beat a big name school. 

6marK6
6marK6

@DamienVacaflor Most AD's would view this season as proof that they did not have a big time football coach.

WilliamBrady
WilliamBrady

@biasedsportsfan  As head coach Muschamp's inept offense has ranked in the 100's. His defense first philosophy is not working.  The OC runs the offense the head coach sets, not whatever the OC wants.  Do you think that a OC from a fast tempo or a fun and gun offense would come to Florida and change the Gators offense, no they would be running the same type of offense that Muschamp wants.  Don't expect change until Muschamp is gone.  lastly even with the injuries Florida still has more talent than most programs.  Muschamp may be a great DC, but as head coach, he is a failure.

peachstealth
peachstealth

@biasedsportsfan 

Speaking of South Carolina, Did you know that their quarterback, Conner Shaw is the younger brother of Jaybo Shaw, graduate assist and and former quarterback at Ga Southern?

I'll bet there were some phone calls between Statesboro and Columbia last week.

Wesley11
Wesley11

@biasedsportsfan Still not a great excuse. Yes, lots of injuries. But shouldn't Florida's second string still be able to handle and FCS school? That excuse holds up to a loss against a #12 A&M or a #20 Ole Miss, but less so against Georgia Southern.

WilliamBrady
WilliamBrady

@joe6647 No, Foley upped Mushamp's buy out package last year.  Now it would be too costly to fire him now.  Muschamp will stay, no matter the record.  Brent Pease will be the scape goat and a new OC will change change nothing to Muschamps defense 1st scheme.

 

Dirty_Bob
Dirty_Bob

@NeoSmith Appalachian State had won 2 national championships in a row leading up to the Michigan game.  They won their 3rd in a row that year.  They weren't a run of the mill FCS school.  

Just a side note, they beat Georgia Southern this year.  

CharlieFoxtrot
CharlieFoxtrot

@NeoSmith Worse because App State was an FCS powerhouse at the time and Michigan didn't have quite the same talent level as does this Gator team.

Wesley11
Wesley11

@NeoSmith I think he could have survived a break-even, maybe even losing season given his success last year and the number of injuries the team took which fans would take into consideration...so long as that losing season didn't include a loss to an FCS team. Now...unless he pulls off the surprise win of the season next week against FSU, I don't know if he'll survive or not.

Also, what if he actually pulled off a win against FSU after this?

ApolloOne
ApolloOne

@NeoSmith  

Not really an apples-to-apples comparison. If I recall correctly, Michigan was ranked #5, playing in September with national championship aspirations. Unlike Florida, whose season is already in the crapper with nothing to play for.

I was surprised ApState beat Michigan. I'm not surprised at all that Ga. Southern beat Florida.

clt0002
clt0002

@NeoSmith Nah, I highly, highly doubt USC loses to Ga Southern. 

YemiThaBassMan
YemiThaBassMan

@NeoSmith Hopefully Muschamp doesn't torpedo his program on the way out like Lloyd Carr did when he left Michigan. 

j7apple
j7apple

@BenAiken  lol  the only move Strong makes would be to the NFL 

weir6
weir6

@jeffcooper71 @FLAdomer Probably not, but don't discount Ga Southern - they've only had a football program since the 80s, and have 6 National Championships.  I know they are I-AA, but you'd better be ready to tackle, and you'd better be ready to play disciplined on defense, or the boys from Statesboro can slip up and embarass you.  


By the way, Appalachian State beat #3Michigan a few years back - they too hail from the Southern Conference in I-AA, and are a rival of GSUs. Gators eat boogers!

peachstealth
peachstealth

@jeffcooper71 @FLAdomer  This GSU is Georgia Southern. Please don't confuse them with Ga State.

 No one has won as many 1aa national championships as Ga Southern. They lost in the quarter finals last year by 2 points to the eventual national champion ( North Dakota State) in a game played in Fargo ND.

 This year they've been plagued with injuries and, due to being in transition to BCS are ineligible for post season play so they haven't had much to play for. They saw Florida as their bowl game and were determined to win. 

 They have games with NC State, Ga Tech and Navy next year. Lets see how they do. 


BobbieJoJustice
BobbieJoJustice

@CALI_DREAMING @biasedsportsfan - our second and third teamers should have been able to beat georgia southern, we're not talking the fcs champions here. To not even be in the top 100 in offense once in mushchamp's three years is unacceptable.

biasedsportsfan
biasedsportsfan

@CharlieFoxtrot @NeoSmith Not to overly defend the Gators, but Michigan's talent level (beginning of the season) was clearly wayyyyy higher than that of the Gators with their injuries.

buckybuckeye
buckybuckeye

@ApolloOne @NeoSmith App State was actually pretty good. And, as I mentioned above, Michigan would go on to defeat Tim Tebow's Florida team to finish the year.

buckybuckeye
buckybuckeye

@YemiThaBassMan @NeoSmith Lloyd Carr's last game saw Michigan put up almost 600 yards in a bowl win against Florida and newly christened Heisman winner, Tim Tebow. And Lloyd's 2006 squad the year before was scary good. Although there were a lot of graduations, the program was in the right direction, and I wouldn't say he left the cupboard bare or torpedoed the program. I just don't think we should have replaced him with RichRod.  

BenAiken
BenAiken

@j7apple @BenAiken lol, yeah, I must have forgotten that everyone considers Louisville a destination job. Except for the coaches that left for Michigan State and Arkansas. Pretty sure Florida can offer a bit more (money, resources, attention, you name it) than Louisville sans Bridgewater.

j7apple
j7apple

@Cane87 @j7apple @BenAiken A step down in the sense from where Strong is right now and having to rebuild something that is in need.  With that said, yes, Florida has and will be a powerhouse again with the right coach.  Strong won't be it.

Cane87
Cane87

@j7apple @BenAiken As much as I despise them, in no way is Florida a step down from Louisville, except perhaps in basketball.

The rest of your post is correct.

j7apple
j7apple

@BenAiken @j7apple LOL....You really must not have done your homework regarding Strong and his relationship with Florida. Strong would hang up the phone if Florida contacted him. He got totally screwed by them for the HC slot a few years back.

Nothing was more satisfying to Strong than beating Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

Money? He gets paid a boat load now and has eyes on the NFL.

Going to Florida now would be a major step down.