Gators Leave Las Vegas in Forgettable Fashion

LAS VEGAS — They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Gators can live with it. They don’t care if what happened at Allegiant’s stadium at the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday was knocked over the head with a shovel, shot in the heart and buried somewhere outside the city in the middle of nowhere in the desert.

Yes it was unforgettable. No, it’s not that easy.

Not when the highlight of Florida’s 30-3 loss to Oregon was a 40-yard field goal. Adam Michalek With 37 seconds remaining, they maintained the Gators’ 34-year winning streak that never went blank on the scoreboard.

“I mean, what percentage of successes do you have in the 4th?” Gators Coach Billy Napier He then talked about a last-minute field goal on Oregon State’s fourth goal from the 23-yard line. “So take the points. Give Adam a chance to gain experience.”

The Gators finished Napier’s first season with a 6-7 record. That’s the same record he had last season in the Gasparilla Bowl when he lost to UCF and the Gators fell below .

Adam Michalek Get ready for a 40-yard field goal in the final seconds of Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl against Oregon State. (Photo: Hannah White/UAA communication)

The game ended at halftime despite the Gators managing just 2 yards of offense in the 2nd quarter after recording 91 yards in the 1st quarter at the transfer quarterback. Jack Miller III first career start. Miller pushed the Gators to Oregon State’s 31 in the second series of the Florida game, but third and sixth came in third and 16 after back-to-back false starts by offensive linemen. Camryn Waits (getting his first career start) and Kingsley EguakunMichalek missed a 52-yard field goal down the left on fourth down, and the Beavers drove 65 yards on eight plays in the ensuing possession. Oregon State gave him a 7–0 lead on his 8-yard touchdown run by Tyjon Lindsey.

Since being shut out by Maryland in the 1975 Gator Bowl, mistakes and missed opportunities have proven to be a recurring theme for the Gators in their lowest-scoring bowl games.

The Gators committed 11 penalties for 82 yards. The Beavers sacked Miller his fourth time.punter Jeremy Clawshaw A punt was blocked in the third quarter. Montrell Johnson Jr. (14 yards) and Trevor Etienne (14 yards) 28 yards on 19 carries combined. Oregon State also converted an important false punt that led to the score. In Florida’s only scoring drive, the Gators scored the first goal in his 6 for Oregon State after Miller connected. Thai Chao Kheow Bowman 38 yards. they retreated from there.

It was such a day in front of an announced crowd of 29,750.

The Gators have said each week how much they enjoyed their bowl trip to Vegas, but Saturday wasn’t the final scene they envisioned. The Gators stumbled into the locker room after losing three bowls in a row as they celebrated their first victory over a Southeastern Conference opponent, all but two against.

“It’s my job to make sure the team is ready to play, but we weren’t as ready to play as we needed to be,” Napier said. , penalties, some situational mistakes in the game, there’s certainly a lot that can be done from a coaching perspective, I think we stuck to defense, we didn’t do much offensively, but defensively I thought the players were hanging there for a while.”

The Gators were still in the game at halftime and trailed 10-0 afterwards. Jordan Young On the final play of the first half, he blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt by Everett Hayes. But instead of charging back in the third quarter, the Gators stayed in neutral and he gained 5 yards in nine plays.

Meanwhile, the Beavers increased their lead to 23–0 with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ben Gulbranson to Cyrus Bolden and a 7-yard touchdown pass run by Gulbranson. Oregon State (10-3) put the game away early in the fourth quarter when his 2-yard touchdown run by Jam Griffin capped his 13-play, 98-yard drive .

Heading into Saturday’s game, most headlines centered on Florida arriving in Las Vegas without starting quarterback Anthony Richardson (declared into the NFL Draft) and a total of 21 players who have played in a game this season because they opted out, transferred, or were fired.

In the end it didn’t seem to matter. Miller, his third-year freshman who transferred from Ohio State after last season, started the game calmly after a three-and-out, and with 180 yards he finished 13 of 22 games.

“I think Jack showed some grit,” Napier said. “Considering what he was asked to do, he obviously had a thumb injury at the end of training camp to come back four or five weeks ago.

“What I’m thinking about is maybe what we can do as a staff to help him, the players around him playing better, him playing better, and more importantly , is that we can coach better.It’s a tough dynamic and something he took on…”

Miller was under constant pressure, and with the running game shut down (39 yards on 33 attempts), the Beavers limited the Gators to a season-low 219 yards of total offense. The Beavers reached his 10th win for the third time in show history and the first in 16 years.

It was a disappointing end to the season for the Gators after a 38-6 home win five weeks ago and a 6-4 win over South Carolina. Florida ended the regular season with losses to Vanderbilt and Florida State.

Senior defensive tackle Garvon Dexter, who played Saturday after declaring himself in the NFL Draft, is confident the program is heading in the right direction under Napier despite what Saturday’s scoreboard said. doing.

The second consecutive losing season was the Carter administration, when the Gators went 4-7 in Doug Dickey’s final season (1978) and 0-10-1 in Charlie Pell’s first season (1979). It’s the first time for Florida since. Gators is a program in transition now, as it was then.

gators quarterback Jack Miller III He threw for 180 yards in his first career start on Saturday. Hannah White/UAA communication)

Speaking in the locker room after the game, Dexter said of where Napier acknowledged the team’s veteran leader’s contribution in his first season, “There were a lot of emotions. Honestly, just watching the transition from last year to this year.” And I’m proud of it.

4th grade junior receiver Ricky Pearsall As part of Arizona State’s loss to Wisconsin last season, he led the Gators with four catches for 65 total yards, the same as he did in the Las Vegas Bowl. Pearsall said he is enjoying his first season at UF and has brighter days ahead, though it is yet to be decided if he will return.

“I think you can look back and see what we’ve been doing all year. Fighting to the end is what this team has been doing,” Pearsall said. “You can’t really teach effort. I think that’s a very important thing we can build into next year. Gator Nation is excited because there are a lot of young players who are hungry and excited to play.” I think we should. About the future here.”

Napier is gearing up for National Autograph Day on Wednesday. Gators’ hiring class is currently ranked in the top 10 nationally.

His first season he crashed at the finish line, but if the Gators continue to recruit well, the next bowl game highlight will be a last-second field goal to extend the NCAA-record shutout streak to 436 games. It may not.

But first, Napier paid tribute to his first Florida team one last time.

“Sometimes I think the results don’t necessarily show the growth we’ve observed,” Napier said. I think we’re always working on the culture part, and we’ve made a lot of progress in that area. Comparing some, it’s a completely different ball club. ”

The next step is to have a winning ball club.

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