The Florida Gators finished a fantastic season at 11-1. While there are tons of great plays that went into winning eleven games, there are certainly a number of plays they wish they could get a mulligan on, particularly in their heartbreaking loss to rival Georgia. Following is our list of the top ten plays the Gators wish they could do over again.
10) Trey Burton to Clay Burton dropped pass versus Florida State
The Gators faced a fourth and one from the Seminoles 26 in the first quarter of the game when they attempted a trick play. Trey Burton took the snap in the wildcat formation, faked the handoff and instead of running tossed the ball to his brother, tight end Clay Burton, who promptly dropped what would have been a sure first down keeping the drive alive and likely leading to at least a field goal if not a touchdown. Instead they turned the ball over on downs. One of a handful of plays which kept the game close in the first half despite the Gators dominating play on the field.
9) Trey Burton dropped touchdown pass versus Georgia
In the second quarter against rival Georgia the Gators faced a 3rd and four from the Bulldog 5 yard line, one of many missed opportunities on the day. Driskel dropped to pass and had Burton open in the end zone toward the right boundary. The ball went right through Burton’s hands one of the rare times Burton has failed to make a play. The Gators had to settle for a field goal.
8) Kevyn Cooper 76 yard pass reception for Jacksonville State versus Florida
FCS foe Jacksonville State came to the Swamp with basically no shot of winning. They did however surprise the Gators on the first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Marques Ivory dropped to pass on first down and threw a quick out to receiver Kevyn Cooper who shook off a tackle attempt, appearing to go down, but he actually rolled over the Gator defender landed on his feet and took off on a 76 yard jaunt down the sidelines. He was caught from behind, oddly, by linebacker Jon Bostic who showed surpising speed catching up to Cooper to make a touchdown saving tackle. The Gators would hold them to a field goal, but couldn’t run from the embarrassment of giving up the big play to an FCS foe to open the game.
7) Jeff Driskel fumble versus Georgia
First drive of the game for the Gators versus rival Georgia, the Gators face 3rd and 8 from their own 18. Driskel drops to pass and is met by Georgia defender Damian Swann who forced Driskel to fumble. Georgia defensive end Jarvis Jones recovered, the first of many huge plays by Jones and the Bulldogs would go in to score from there. That play was a tone setter for the game as Georgia seemed to be a step more aggressive defensively than the Gator offense was prepared for.
6) Kyle Christy short punt versus Florida State
The Gators had dominated the first half on the road against the Seminoles but only led 13-3. They opened the third quarter with an interception by Marcus Roberson stopping a potential Seminole drive and keeping momentum on their side. However, on the ensuing Gator possession, the Gators quickly started going backwards with a holding penalty on first down and a huge sack on third down. On fourth down, usually dependable Kyle Christy short punted, one of his worst of the season, allowing Seminole returner Kenny Shaw to catch it on the fly and zoom past the usually great Gator coverage team resulting in a 26 yard return down to the Gator 25 yard line. The Noles would score a touchdown from there picking up momentum that carried them to a 20-16 lead early in the fourth quarter.
5) Blocked punt by Louisiana-Lafayette
The Gators faced a fourth down from their 41 yard line midway through the third quarter of a tight game. The Gators had played decently but had been conservative in the red zone choosing to settle for field goals rather than risk turnovers going for touchdowns. After Louisiana went on a long touchdown drive, making the score a too close for comfort 13-10, the Gators lined up to punt. Defensive tackle Omar Hunter lined up in the backfield as a blocker on the punt attempt. Bradley Brown broke through the center of the line of scrimmage and juked Hunter who whiffed completely at the block attempt and Brown got his hand on the football blocking it and Blake Comminie picked it up and ran it back for a touchdown. Suddenly the Gators were behind and in real danger of being upset at home by a Sunbelt Conference foe.
4) Solomon Patton jet sweep on 4th and one versus Georgia.
Facing a 4th and one from the Georgia 36 in the first quarter, the Gators, who had been facing a loaded box designed to stop the inside running of Mike Gillislee, went for it on 4th down. They faked the inside handoff and gave it to wideout Solomon Patton on a jet sweep hoping his speed to the edge would get that one tough yard. Instead the Bulldogs speed stretched the play to the sideline where Patton was stopped for no gain and suffered a season ending injury. Without his skill on the edge, it made it even tougher for the Gators to move the football as Georgia stuffed the inside run and was able to pressure the quarterback from the edge with Jarvis Jones.
3) Jeff Driskel first half interception versus Georgia
In a game that turned out to be the Gators only loss of the season, it should be expected there would be a number of plays they wish they had back. The Georgia game actually could likely produce a top ten list by itself as the Gators had many opportunities and many bad plays that ultimately led to the loss. One of the biggest came on a second and goal right before halftime. The Gators trailed 7-6 but had driven to the Georgia five yard line attempting to take the lead with a touchdown or at least a field goal. Driskel dropped to pass and scrambled to his right buying time and looking for an opening to fire in a touchdown pass. As he rolled to the right he spotted what he thought was an opportunity back across the middle and as he threw back across his body he was intercepted by safety Bacarri Rambo stopping a Gator scoring drive as the teams headed into the halftime locker room.
2) Loucheiz Purifoy missed tackle versus Georgia
Against Georgia the Gators had shut down the Bulldog offense for most of the game until they put together a late drive which was extended by a penalty against Sharrif Floyd when he blew up a screen on third down. On 3rd and five from the Gator 45, Aaron Murray hit Malcom Mitchell who broke a tackle by Loucheiz Purifoy and took it 45 yards for a touchdown which made the score 17-9. For a defensive backfield that missed very few tackles this season, this missed tackle was a heartbreaker in a game full of heartbreakers the Gators wish they could do over again.
1) Jordan Reed’s diving attempt at a touchdown versus Georgia
Trailing 17-9 with time running down in the fourth quarter against Georgia, quarterback Jeff Driskel hit tight end Jordan Reed on a crossing route. Reed quickly turned up field heading for the end zone. As he approached the five yard line he attempted to hurdle a defender trying to make a play for the end zone and a shot at tying the score. As he leaped into the air, linebacker Jarvis Jones, trailing the play from behind, reached around and punched the ball out forcing a turnover and effectively ending the Gators hopes of a victory in the game. The loss devastated the Gators as Georgia eventually went on the the SEC championship game.