The Gators finished with 276 yards, went 2 of 13 on third down and struggled to get anything going in the passing game.
Driskel completed 12 of 23 passes for 106 yards, with nearly half of that coming on the screen pass. Gillislee ran 16 times for 68 yards — his fourth consecutive game under 70 yards. And Florida’s offensive line was overmatched again.
“I’m a realist and I believe in being honest and calling it the way it is,” Muschamp said. “And when it stinks, it stinks. … We’ve been able to win and do what we had to do to win the games — I’m not trying to downgrade it at all. This football team has as much resolve as a football team that I’ve been around.”
That showed down the stretch on defense.
Josh Evans sealed the victory, intercepting Franklin’s fourth-down pass in the end zone with 5 seconds remaining. The Tigers drove to the 21-yard line, but had to try to make something happen as the clock wound down.
“That’s actually like a great feeling,” Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd said. “Can their offense make big plays on a defense that’s coming? We’re relentless and that’s how we want to play and that’s how we strive to play every week.”
Franklin, who sprained his left knee against Vanderbilt on Oct. 6 and sat out all or part of the last two games, finished with four interceptions. He completed 24 of 51 passes for 236 yards. He overthrew open receivers much of the day and had less mobility than normal.
“We just couldn’t get any completions,” Franklin said. “I know (teammates) are trying to have my back, but we can’t turn the ball over four times.”
Still, Franklin ran for 29 yards and burned Florida several times with scrambles.
Florida was flat to start the game, no surprise since it was a noon start and came after a disappointing loss against Georgia. The Gators turned the ball over six times in the 17-9 loss that left them needing help to get to Atlanta.
They vowed to play better this week, but it didn’t exactly happen. They avoided turnovers, though, which is key for their grind-it-out style.
“When you have a defense like our defense has been playing, just don’t turn the ball over,” Driskel said. “We turned the ball over a lot against Georgia and we end up losing. It comes down to taking care of the ball and taking shots when they come.”
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