Even after an embarrassing loss to the #1 team in the country last weekend in Jacksonville, Florida fans could sense a bowl game was still an achievable goal.
Unfortunately, as we found out Saturday, Florida’s players (particularly on defense) have quit and show no desire to add any games to this ‘lost’ season.
In hindsight, we should have expected this. Sophomore CB/S Chauncey Gardner vented his frustration in a post game interview (after the LSU loss). Gardner told the media that he thought the defense did enough to win the game. And even though he didn’t say anything negative about the offense, he may as well have.
On Saturday the defense may as well have not shown up. Had Missouri QB Drew Lock not thrown a perfect pass to Florida DB CJ Henderson on their first drive, the result could have been even worse than the 45-16 final score appears.
The Gators gave up 228 yards passing on only 21 attempts while also giving up 4.9 yards per carry (on 46 carries) to a team that had failed to win a game in SEC play.
Florida defenders spent much of the game looking disinterested in the outcome and even the ESPN commentators seemed to believe that was the case.
Florida’s offense did look (somewhat) better with Malik Zaire at the helm. Zaire finished the game 13-19 for 158 yards. Zaire showed a fire and kept encouraging his teammates to play hard.
Interim head coach Randy Shannon has the tough task of trying to keep this team together, despite all the obvious distractions and injuries.
Florida is now 3-5 and must win at least two of the last three to become bowl eligible. Thanks to a high APR score, Florida will likely be eligible for a bowl game with a 5-6 record.
Florida will face South Carolina next week before returning home for two games (against UAB and Florida State) to complete the regular season.
Much like the players, fans can’t wait to see this season end.
Is it basketball season yet?
SEC EAST STANDINGS: