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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

It took five games, but UF's offense finally met their match.

After trailing 14-3 at halftime, the No. 4 Gators put together an 89-yard drive to tie the game at 17 in the fourth quarter, but Auburn made a field goal as time expired to win 20-17.

The Gators were outgained for the first time all season in the loss, and an injury to a coach may have played some part in the poor performance.

UF offensive coordinator Dan Mullen had an emergency surgery at 2 a.m. Saturday to remove his appendix, but UF coach Urban Meyer denied that it affected the playcalling.

Despite a decent second half, the offense couldn?t overcome their slow first half.

They ran just six plays for five yards in the first quarter, and two promising drives in the second ended in disaster.

UF managed an 11-play, 66 yard drive to set up a 34-yard field goal for Joey Ijjas, but the attempt was blocked.

After a Tigers? touchdown made the score 14-0, the Gators drove into Auburn territory again and threatened to score.

The possession was stalled after a personal foul on UF lineman Maurkice Pouncey turned a 2nd-and-7 into a 1st-and-22.

UF nearly converted a 4th-and-10 on the drive when quarterback Tim Tebow found Louis Murphy near the first-down marker, but Murphy fumbled while struggling for an extra yard.

BWe?re supposed to be a pretty good offense, but we couldn?t get those first downs and keep our defense off of the field,C Meyer said. BThat?s the first time all year that we?ve been in that position and we didn?t handle it very well. The second half was very positive other than the ending.C

The Gators seemed to pick up some momentum after halftime when Tebow found Percy Harvin for 52 yards on UF?s first play, and came away with a 24-yard field goal by Joey Ijjas.

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After an Auburn punt UF was looking to take over the game, and took a shot deep downfield.

Tebow lofted a pass for Riley Cooper but an apparent miscommunication led to an interception.

Tebow?s pass was aimed towards the sideline while Cooper veered toward the center of the field, and Auburn?s Patrick Lee came down with the ball.

BIt was a miscommunication between the two of us,C Tebow said. BThat shouldn?t be happening.C

The interception was only the second thrown by Tebow this season.

It took a big play from their defense to crank up the Gators? stuttering attack.

Safety Major Wright forced a fumble in Auburn territory, and 38 yards later UF had their first touchdown, as Tebow connected with Cornelius Ingram from six yards out to make the score 17-10.

Their next drive found paydirt as well after Tebow rushed for a two-yard score, set up by a 32-yard juggling catch by Percy Harvin to the Auburn six.

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