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Rapid Recap: Gators use dramatic goal line stand to stun LSU/win SEC East

Florida Football Insiders



(Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)

Sometimes it comes down to “Want To.”

On the Gators one yard line, with the under :20 remaining and the SEC East Championship hanging in the balance, LSU tested Florida’s not once, but twice. And the Gators defense, rose to the challenge stopping the Tigers on third and fourth and goal to preserve their 16-10 win in Baton Rouge and punch their ticket to Atlanta.

Needing a TD down 16-10, LSU tried the man on man power run off left guard on third and goal with fullback J.D. Moore who was stuffed for no gain. Then, after a timeout, LSU on the final play of the game went with running back Darius Guice going up and over and he never got close. Guice actually fumbled beside himself to a fellow Tiger on the ground at the one.

Game over.

It’s a goal line stand that they will talk about in Gainesville and SEC “lore” for many years to come.

The Gators defense heroics had been bolstered earlier in the 4th quarter with two field goals by Eddy Piniero. One came after the Gators fumbled in a key situation themselves, at the LSU one trying a QB Austin Appleby pitch out. They had to settle for three points and did not go up by more than seven setting into motion the drama.

For his part Appleby, the backup to Luke Del Rio, had hit freshman Tyrie Cleveland with a 98 yard bomb TD out of Florida’s own endzone for Florida’s only TD of the day to give the Gators a 10-7 lead.

LSU star RB Leonard Fournette was limited due to a nagging ankle injury and finished with only 40 yards on 12 carries. He was not in on the final frantic drive.

With the heroics on the goal line saving the day, Florida will now advance to Atlanta in two weeks as the East division outright champs and face Alabama for the second year in a row and record ninth time overall in the SEC Championship Game.


Florida Gators

Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

Florida Football Insiders



Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.

The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:

A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.

With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.

As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.

Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.

It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.

Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.

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Florida Gators

Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools

Jamil King



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.

The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of  former DB C.J. Henderson.

Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.

The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.

Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?

Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.

The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.

Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.

Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.

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