Congrats on a 7-1 SEC season, Gators!
On Saturday, the Gators beat SEC newcomer's Mizzou in typical Will Muschamp fashion: fantastic, opportunistic defense, solid special teams, and a healthy does of running back Mike Gillislee.
Now it's time to get out of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, get over to the Grog House or Mothers, and hopefully watch Georgia choke hard against Ole Miss, which would send Florida to Atlanta for the SEC championship game.
Don't you know you cannot deny Gilly?
After waiting three long years for his chance to shine on the biggest stage in the state of Florida, senior running back Mike Gillislee was going to find any way to help carry his Gators to victory in his final conference game with the program.
Despite being held in check most of the ballgame by the likes of Missouri defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson (who claimed Georgia played "old man football" earlier in the season), Gilly showed off a bit of youth after taking a short pass from quarterback Jeff Driskel 45 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
He would round out his SEC career with 68 yards on 16 carries for an average of 4.3 yards per attempt, to go along with the 45-yard score.
After working so hard all his career, all season, and all after, Gilly was finally free'd in the fourth quarter on Saturday.
Defense dominates yet again ... duh!
A patchwork offensive line was handled throughout the afternoon by a tenacious Tigers' defensive front, leaving the Gators defense to carry the day yet again.
More to the point, the Gators secondary was asked to step up, and safety Matt Elam and co. did so in a big way.
Despite constantly having to trot back out onto the field following repeated Florida punts, coordinator Dan Quinn's defense never tired, never let down and never allowed quarterback James Franklin to make an easy pass.
Even when Franklin was able to set his feet - instead of dealing with Dominique Easley trying to bury him into the turf - he was sailing balls high all afternoon.
Unfortunately for him, he may have been massively overthrowing his own teammates, but the Gators' were repeatedly in the right place at the right time and that resulted in four interceptions for Florida.
Easily the difference in this far-too-close-for-comfort victory.
Did we lose All-American kicker Caleb Sturgis?
Usually the most dependable kicker in the nation, literally, Caleb Sturgis had a field goal attempt blocked early in the afternoon and actually recovered it himself.
Already nursing an ankle injury, he tried to make a little something out of nothing and probably only succeeded in getting himself more hurt.
Junior Brad Phillips missed a field goal that would have added valuable insurance points and was far too excited about bagging a two-yard extra point attempt.
This dude is going to have to take a few extra practice kicks if Sturgis, such a weapon through the team's 8-1 season, can't go next weekend.
Soak in the rebound victory, coach Muschamp
After losing a heartbreaker last weekend in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, Will Muschamp was able to round up his troops, get the defeat out of their minds and prepare them enough to beat a desperate Tigers team.
With relatively high expectations coming into their first SEC season, Missouri finally took home its first conference win last weekend at dreadful Kentucky. A win in Gainesville automatically would have given the entire season a positive spin.
Quarterback James Franklin was entering the game as healthy as he had been all year, providing the Tigers a dimension they had not been able to utilize previously.
It was all on Muschamp to prove that his program was here to stay. He did not allow his team to play flat, and in the end, he was able to soak in yet another victory, the team's eighth of the season.
Enjoy this one, Gator Nation!
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