No bowling: Florida loses its fifth straight game

by Gary Shelton on November 12, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Malik Zaire was injured for Gators./STEVEN MUNCIE

Malik Zaire was injured for Gators./STEVEN MUNCIE

Sunday, 4 a.m.

In a way, the play typified the season for the Universty of Florida. There was hope, and then it was gone. There was a reason to smile, and there was a reason to shake your head.

Again.

It was still in the first period, and the Gators trailed by only a touchdown. But South Carolina was on its own four, and when it tried to throw, cornerback C.J. Henderson intercepted it on the 24. He

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seemed to be on his way to a return for a touchdown, but just short of the goal line, he fumbled. Running back A.J. Turner picked up the ball for the Gamecocks and returned it 24 yards for the score.

South Carolina would go on to win, 28-20. It was the fifth straight loss for the Gators, and it eliminated any bowl possibilities for the school.

“It was tough,” said interim coach Randy Shannon. “It was tough. You know, Chris Henderson did a great job of getting an interception and trying to make something happen. It happened and like anything else, you got to tuck the ball away. I mean, this is a freshman who is trying to do extra to help us out on the football team.”

Shannon seemed to take no solace in a closer-than-usual defeat.

“It’s like anything, these guys, you know what, they’re Gators,” Shannon said. “We talked about all along about being together, we talked about ownership, we talk about having some guts and never quit, always believe that … the common goal to anything that we do is to win and they understood that this week. They understand that togetherness means there’s one goal, it’s to win, and the guys did a good job of fighting and trying to get it done. Had a shot at the end of the game. That’s all we want to do is get a shot. Wasn’t good enough. Was (it) the expectations of what this program wants? No. We wanted to win. I’m not going to sit up there and say it’s a moral victory. There’s no moral victories. We lost the game, but we’ve got to understand, what’s the next deal we have to get done.”

Quarterback Malik Zaier was injured in the game. Once again, that puts the offense in the hands of freshman Feleipe Franks, who hit 10 of 25 for 174 yards.

“Somebody will step up,” Shannon said. “You know, Feleipe will have to be the guy until the evaluation of what happened with Malik, and we’ll have to move some other guys around. We’ve got some walk-ons on the deal and Dre Massey, believe it or not, played some quarterback in high school and he’s done some wildcat. We worked him at quarterback last week. It’s going to be (asking him) to drop back and throw the ball 34 times. We’ve got to use what he can do, if that happens to come to that situation.”

The Gators gave themslves a chance when Mark Thompson ran in from the one with 3:43 to play. However, on the Gators' final drive, Franks was intercepted.

Florida ran for only 78 yards and hit only 17 of 39 passes. Coming in, the Gators were 111th in the nation on offense.

Florida is at home Saturday against AUB. Game time is 4 p.m.

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