Videos by OutKick
After a tough week for the players and coaches, Florida hung on to defeat Florida State 24-21 and become bowl eligible. In front of a sold-out crowd in Gainesville, interim coach Greg Knox was showered with Gatorade after the Gators finished off the Seminoles in the fourth quarter. After Dan Mullen was fired last Sunday, this football team still had one attainable goal, which they achieved today.
It wasn’t the prettiest day for Florida, as Emory Jones threw three interceptions and was replaced by Anthony Richardson in the second half. It felt as if the interim staff was going to stick with Jones at QB, but finally made the decision in the early portion of the third quarter to make the switch. The Gators led 24-7 at the 12:36 mark of the fourth quarter, giving Florida State enough time to make things interesting, which they did.
These Gators had dealt with multiple coaching changes over the last few weeks, even before Mullen was fired. So, coming out today and playing with that kind of fight really gave the crowd something to cheer for. The fans were clamoring to see Richardson at quarterback, and he repaid them by throwing a touchdown pass late in the third quarter.
Richardson was asked after the game if he will be back next season, which he replied “I’m a Gator.”
But just as Florida was looking like they were about to blow this thing open, a few plays by FSU quarterback Jordan Travis got the Seminoles right back in it. As the clock was at the 9:46 mark in the fourth quarter, FSU pulled within 24-14. Thanks to some sloppy offensive output from the Gators, they ended up giving the Seminoles another opportunity to get things even closer.
We’ve all seen how this season has played out for the Gators, so FSU coming back and making this a game wasn’t a surprise, especially for the fans sitting in the stadium. We all knew that Florida wouldn’t make this an easy outing, as the Seminoles scored again with 49 seconds remaining, making it 24-21. But thanks to one of the ugliest onside kicks in college football history, Florida took over and put a knee on the regular season.
This type of game is exactly why we’re at this point right now, with the Gators looking for a new head coach. The game should’ve been over once FSU punted at the 7:47 mark, but things are never easy for anybody associated with the Florida football program.
Finally, this game came to an end just as it should. The Florida State kicker whiffed on the onside kick and the ball maybe traveled six inches, ending the season for the Seminoles. As for the Gators, well, they are bowl eligible now, which means this coaching staff could still be in place for another few weeks. We will see how this plays out, especially when Florida hires a new coach in the coming days.
Now, the Gators will focus on getting healthier and looking toward the future as they prepare for their bowl game. They will look to hire the next coach on the administration side and finalize some type of agreement soon. All signs point to Billy Napier being named head coach, but nothing is final until the ink is put to paper. So, continue paying close attention to the situation out of Gainesville.
Just when you thought the Gators’ football season could be ending, they hang on to beat the Seminoles and will now travel somewhere cold to play one more game.
Follow along on Twitter: @TreyWallace_