GatorZone.com Senior Writer
MIAMI -- The questions being lobbed at Trey Burton after Miami’s 21-16 win Saturday were general inquires to the Florida offense turning the ball over five times and its failure to do better than one touchdown in six cracks inside the Hurricanes 20-yard line.
Burton, the senior wide receiver and part-time wildcat quarterback, wasn’t interested in generalizing.
He was more interested in accountability.
“We don’t point fingers at people or don't say it’s their fault, but I know a lot of it was my fault,” said Burton, whose fumble late in the second quarter was a crucial, momentum-killing miscue. “This might be my worst game since I’ve been here. You have to give Miami a lot of credit. They played hard and capitalized on all their opportunities with all our turnovers.”
Actually, the Hurricanes didn’t do a lot of capitalizing. Didn’t have to, either.
Not when six trips inside the UM 20-yard line ended like this: touchdown, interception, failed fourth down, fumble, field goal, interception.
“You can’t afford to do that in games like this. You have to go down there and get points,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “When you end every possession with a kick, you’ll win a lot of games.”
When you end a bunch with a turnovers, you may as well have a “Kick Me” sign on your back.
“We just have to keep working on it and get better,” junior wideout Solomon Patton said.
Jeff Driskel’s first interception came on a third-and-goal from the Miami 11 -- one play after he sailed a potential tying touchdown over the head of wide-open Quinton Dunbar in the end zone -- when he felt the pocket collapsing and hurried a throw that hit cornerback Rayshawn Jenkins in the numbers. That was early in the second quarter.
On UF’s next possession, the Gators drove to the Hurricanes’ 16 and faced a fourth-and-1. UM led at the time 14-6, but Coach Will Muschamp eschewed kicking a field goal and went with a quarterback sneak.
No gain. No points. Again.
The second quarter officially went into the books as a disaster when the Gators went 66 yards in 12 plays to the Miami 17 with 46 seconds to play in the first half. On first down, Driskel threw a check down to Burton, who lost the ball while diving for extra yardage, with the Hurricanes recovering and taking a huge jolt of positive energy with them into the locker room.
You can imagine what the Gators took with them.
“Ball security,” Driskel said. “We work on it all the time.”
They’ll work on it more in the coming weeks. That and their red-zone offense.
“Every time we get in the red zone we think we’re going to come away with points,” Driskel said. “We’ve done a good job in practice with the red zone. We’re crisp down there. Efficient down there. It just didn’t work out. That’s all I can say about.”
It won’t be all he’ll hear about it, however. Not that Driskel doesn’t understand why or, like Burton, accept responsibility for his errors.
“It starts with me,” said Driskel, who in addition to his two picks also fumbled inside his own 10-yard line when sacked late in the game, allowing Miami to put the game away with a touchdown. “It’s still early, though. We’re going to have to respond from this and not hang our heads. There’s too much football left to play.”
Driskel, without question, will be the one under center for the long haul.
After throwing for a career-high 291 yards, Muschamp saw some encouraging things from his junior quarterback, but it’s hard to win a game when going minus-4 on turnovers and failing to capitalize on excellent scoring opportunities.
"I thought he hit some balls down the field. Thought he did some nice things in the running game," Muschamp said when asked to assess Driskel.
"But you can’t have those turnovers in the red zone. Can’t do that. You have to make better decisions.”