Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

College Smackdown; Auburn Has Our Number, No Matter Our Rank or Record

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

College Smackdown; Auburn Has Our Number, No Matter Our Rank or Record

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Corbett

The Gators were bitten by the upset bug that spread like a full-fledged epidemic across the entire football bowl division Saturday, a day that saw seven of the top 13 go down to defeat (UF, WVU, Oklahoma, Texas, Oregon, Rutgers and Clemson) and the Nos. 1 and 8 teams (USC and Wisconsin) narrowly escape.

The Gators lost yet another heartbreaker to Auburn, the team that has always seemed to have our number, no matter our ranking or record. Credit Auburn for containing Tim Tebow on the many, many draw plays he ran - no other team has managed to do it. Also credit them for minimizing the damage done by Percy Harvin, but when you can count on 75 percent of the plays to end up in one of two players' hands, it must make the job easier.

Ironically, the Gators improved dramatically in the two areas that seemed to be holding them back the most this year - penalties and the pass rush - yet still were not able to run their record to 5-0 to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 13 and the second-longest home winning streak in the country to 19.

The Gators had four sacks Saturday and 15 (15!) tackles for a loss on the night. Penalties also were less of an issue with only seven for 44 yards - although the timing of the penalties was particularly damaging. The Gators were flagged for running into the kicker on a punt that kept Auburn's first drive alive - a drive that ended in their first touchdown and established the tone for the entire first half. The Gators also were flagged a couple of times on offense, stalling potential scoring drives and having a successful fake punt called back.

On Sunday afternoon, word of Offensive Coordinator Dan Mullen's emergency appendectomy late Friday night started to come to light. Perhaps he just wasn't up to the task of calling anything other than 15-right, 15-left, 15-up the middle and an occasional run or pass to Harvin. …

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