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The Gators host Georgia Southern today in search of their first victory since Oct. 5.

Saturday November 23, 2013Georgia Southern Runs Past Gators for 26-20 Upset at The Swamp

The Gators host Georgia Southern today in search of their first victory since Oct. 5.

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- As game days go, this was one of the toughest of them all.

Georgia Southern and its vaunted triple option rushed for 429 yards Saturday to upset the Florida Gators 26-20 at the "Swamp," handing the home team its sixth straight loss. The win was the first by GSU in 21 tries against FBS-classfication teams and officially eliminated UF from any chance of being bowl-eligible.

Florida (4-7) secured its first losing season since going 0-10-1 in 1979.

Eagles tailback Jerrick McKinnon rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown, quarterback Kevin Eillison ran for 118 with a score and Williams Banks added 94 yards and a TD for GSU, which came in averaging 353 yards rushing per game. The Eagles averaged 7.5 yards per play and attempted just three passes, all incomplete.

The Gators (4-7), who have not won since beating Arkansas on Oct. 5, managed just 279 yards of total offense (4.5 per play), with redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg completing 14 of 25 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns, both to senior wideout Solomon Patton.

UF trailed 20-10 going into the final period after Banks scored on a 3-yard run with 32 seconds to go in the third quarter.

The Gators, though, got a 22-yard goal from Frankie Velez three minutes into the fourth quarter. After the UF defense forced a punt, Mornhinweg threw the first deep ball of his young UF career, hitting Patton for a 45-yard touchdown pass. Velez's extra point tied the game with 5:41 to go. 

Florida's defense had a chance to get the ball back for the offense, but on third-and-2 Banks went up the gut for a 53-yard run. Three plays later, McKinnon went around right end, beating defensive end Ronald Powell to the edge, and scored for a 14-yard touchdown to give the Eagles (7-4) the lead with 2:44 to go.

The point-after attempt by Young Koo, however, was missed. His second errant PAT in a row.

The Gators needed a touchdown and point-after to win it.

Mornhinweg marched UF to the Georgia Southern 17 with eight seconds to play. His fourth-down pass near the goal line for Patton was batted to the ground, setting off an incredible celebration ... by the visiting team.

The Gators led 10-7 at the half, but Ellison's 1-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal capped the first drive of the second half and pushed GSU in front for the first time in the game. Ellison's go-ahead touchdown was set up when McKinnon went 66 yards on the first play after halftime, racing to the UF 6.

Four plays later, Ellison went across for his second touchdown of the game. He also had 45-yard scoring run in the second period as the Eagles amassed 167 yards rushing in the first half.

They had 262 in the second half.

UF led 10-0 after a Velez field goal on the first possession of the game and a 3-yard touchdown pass from Mornhinweg to Patton (4 catches, 69 yards, 2 TDs) early in the second quarter. Mornhinweg was pressured and flushed to his right on the play and just before the sideline fit a throw to Patton in the back of the end zone for the score.

From there, Georgia Southern scored 20 unanswered points, as UF had few answers for the triple option.



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