As the final seconds ticked down and it was clear that Florida football was going to end the night as victors, Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel called a timeout rather than let the game end.
According to Heupel, he said “You’re trying to finish and compete the right way. He (Florida QB Graham Mertz) is dancing around,” Heupel said. “Do you want the targeting? Obviously, not. But he’s dancing around so you have to go tackle the guy too.”
This led to a scuffle that led to a viral moment with Florida guard Micah Mazzccua getting into a boxing stance and walking a Tennessee defender back to Knoxville.
It also highlighted an important point from Saturday night.
Tennessee showed fight for four seconds.
Florida showed fight for the entire game.
Florida Football: 12 full rounds
Waiting until the game is over to decide and show anger feels on brand for Tennessee.
After knocking Graham Mertz down during a final kneel-down, Mazzccua let it be known that he had his quarterback’s back.
But for Florida football, Mazzccua was far from the only one on the squad that took it to Tennessee for all four quarters.
Cam Jackson was having a casual conversation on the ground with a Tennessee player after a tackle.
Mertz took Florida’s touchdown cane did hit it out of the park celebration.
Scooby Williams was fired up after a fourth down stop.
And after the game in the locker room, there was no mistaking that Florida’s players wanted to win on Saturday night.
Following the loss to Utah, this team could have pouted, looked at their NIL checks, and gone through the motions while keeping an eye on the transfer portal.
But if you want a sign of growth and maturity in this program and want a sign that Bill Napier is building a foundation of competitors, Mazzccua standing up for his QB is a good place to start.