Gators never let go of the rope against Auburn

Oct 6, 2019 | 0 comments

Since Dan Mullen returned to Gainesville and became head coach of the Florida Gators, his primary goal has been returning the program to the Gator Standard.

The standard that was once in place when Mullen was offensive coordinator of the Gators, is one he’s been preaching about for two years now.

Along with that, the program developed a mantra, one that was very evident Saturday.

Don’t let go of the rope.

That mindset is one that Mullen and his staff have instilled in their players since their arrival. Every workout, every practice and every game, Florida’s staff demands their players to finish.

Finish is just what they did against the No. 7 Auburn Tigers Saturday. They took the early lead and held onto the rope for four quarters. By no means was it pretty, but the Gators didn’t fold under pressure.

“This is one of the most resilient teams I’ve been a part of,” said Gators quarterback Kyle Trask after the upset win.

Resilient is one way to define the Gators victory. In a game full of ups-and-downs, Florida did just enough to pull off the upset.

Florida’s defense had a firm grip on the imaginary rope all afternoon. Auburn’s defense was all the talk heading into the showdown, but the Gators showed that they are amongst the best in the country.

They did it tough situations too. The Gators offense turned the ball over four times, putting the defense in predicaments throughout. They may have bent, but they didn’t break.

Florida’s defense only gave up one touchdown, one that Mullen took the blame for after they failed a fake punt attempt.

“They gave up one score, and that was on me,” the Gators head coach said post-game. “We don’t fake a punt and they probably don’t score a touchdown.”

The Gators defense would go to hold Auburn to just 269 total yards. They made Tigers quarterback Bo Nix look like the true freshman he is, as he threw three interceptions. Whenever the Tigers would start to get going offensively, the Gators had timely stops defensively.

And it wasn’t just that side that held onto the rope. Florida’s offense did just as they were able to wear down the Tigers defense.

With the chance to build on their lead, the Gators offense just couldn’t take that next step and put the Tigers away. But then, Lamical Perine broke loose.

“Just being able to stick with it (run game), stick with it and then all of a sudden, he gets that one crease, does an unbelievable job, breaks a tackle and outruns everybody to the endzone,” Mullen said.

Mullen said you can’t expect to win many games turning the ball over four times. But, the Gators offense stayed true to themselves, and the big play finally broke.

As a whole, the Gators didn’t let go of the rope. They battled for four quarters against one of the best teams in the country and came out on top.

Maybe most importantly, they never flinched.

With Auburn driving to potentially take the lead in the third quarter, they didn’t let go of the rope and Donovan Stiner made an impact interception in the endzone.

After four turnovers, the offense still believed they could seal the win, and they did just that.

Saturday’s win was the definition of a whole team effort, from offense, to defense, to special teams.

The Gators held onto the rope.

They didn’t flinch.

And above all, they showed they belong on this stage.

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