JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 29: Richard Samuel #22 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs for yardage past Josh Evans #24 of the Florida Gators during the game at EverBank Field on October 29, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
SB Nation Tampa Bay looks at 5 things they think they learned from the Florida-Georgia game.
It hasn't gotten any better for the University of Florida after their heart-wrenching 24-20 defeat at the hands of arch rival Georgia.
Just a few days before Halloween, the Gators tricked their fans into thinking all had been fixed and Florida was once again a team to be reckoned with. Instead of the treat of yet another win over the Bulldogs, the Gators fell flat in the second half, fumbling away their opportunity for a win.
Let's take a glance at the things we think we learned this week.
Where the heck is the running game?
I kept thinking to myself, it's just a bad stretch - in the end, the Gators have too much talent in the backfield to be an average running team...but they weren't even that on Saturday.
You have to wonder about a ratio that favored 34 passing plays to 22 running plays (and 6 of those were sacks/scrambles that Brantley took).
The Gators (thanks to the sack yardage lost) were -19 on the ground. Demps ran the ball 8 times. Rainey, just 5 times and Gillislee didn't even touch the ball.
And it's not like Florida trailed in the whole ballgame, they had a two touchdown lead for crying out loud!
Brantley played a solid ball game.
Despite getting terrible protection from his suspect offensive line, Johnny Brantley equated himself pretty nicely in his first game back, moving his team into scoring range several times. Unfortunately, the Gators failed to put the biscuit in the basket far too many times and it ended up biting them in the backside.
Still, for being out several weeks, Brantley played strong, completing 12 of 34 for 245 yards and a touchdown. While his completion percentage may have been a bit low, he was victimized with drops by his intended receivers and he was under constant duress.
Speaking of the offensive line
Offensive is a good term for the o-line's performance this week. No running lanes for the backs, Brantley under constant pressure - it's no wonder Florida struggled so badly offensively.
The biggest problem for Florida this season has been the sub par play of this unit and until these starting five raise their games, Florida is going to struggle to get back into the W column.
Florida's Special Teams Rebounds
It was a simply terrific performance by the Florida special teams unit, one game after perhaps costing the Gators a victory at Auburn. Jeff Demps went 99 yards to the house and Andre Dubose went 63 yards. The Gators also did a number on Boykin, the dangerous Bulldogs return man.
With no Caleb Sturgis, the Gators rolled out sophomore kicker Brad Phillips, who did a credible job.
Muschamp needs a signature win
Florida still has not defeated a ranked team, the loss to Georgia was Florida's 4th straight - the first time that's happened since 1988. The Gators need themselves a statement victory - something they can hang their hat on and say, "Okay fine, this hasn't been the best of seasons but we're still the University of Florida dab nabbit. We can beat any team."
Two big opportunities to get that signature victory are on the horizon in the guise of South Carolina and Florida State.
No one would expect Florida to win either game - and its the perfect opportunity to show the frustrated fans of Gator Nation that indeed, Florida's on it's way back to the top.
It must start somewhere.