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A weekly deep dive into Pat Dooley’s Saturday college football action. Also, look for his history lesson and game preview every week on Gators Wire.

It was a game that rocked the swamp like the good old days as the No.11 Florida came within a yard of forcing overtime against the No.1 Alabama.

Instead, the Tide played like a championship team when needed and held off Florida, 31-29. Like the SEC Championship Game a year ago, the Gators got the ball for one final game, but had too much room to cover with just seconds to play.

The Gators might have earned the respect of the national media because many expected a blowout. But the loss stings in terms of Florida’s SEC record.

Of course, that’s what Alabama does. Arrive in town, leave with all its streaks intact and thank you for the lovely farewell gifts.

It’s been 43 straight games they’ve scored on opening records, 11 straight wins for Nick Saban over Dan Mullen, 17 straight wins for Alabama and 22 straight wins against SEC East coaches.

The Sunday Hash returns to the game:

1

If you told me Florida would crush Alabama 241-91

… I would have told you that Florida had a pretty good chance of winning the game. And in the end, the Gators had a chance. It didn’t seem like the best of the games to run for the two point conversion, but the Gators have had so much success with the running game, you can maybe understand it. There’s a great example where Anthony Richardson could have made a difference if they could have brought him there and direct something special. “We missed a two-point assignment,” said Dan Mullen. “Actually two.”

2

Gator Nation certainly brought it on Saturday, especially after last year.

“The Gator Nation has certainly stepped forward and done its part,” said Mullen. It was just a special day and we would love to see Alabama come to town more often. The difference in the game was that in a game with a little margin for error, Alabama did less. No turnovers. Florida only had one and that contributed to the hole the Gators got into.

3

It was almost mind-blowing watching the Florida defense start the game with all that adrenaline rushing through their bodies.

… And play like they did all last year. The missed tackles were back and Florida looked like they hadn’t trained in a week. So you fall into a hole because a team like Alabama is going to make you pay for puffs and missed missions and too many men in the field. The next three series were exactly what we hoped that defense would be for this game, limiting Alabama to three yards in the second quarter.

4

Emory Jones finished the game with 271 total yards

… And there was a stretch where there were boos coming from the crowd. But, man, how many guys can say they engineered a 99-yard run against a Nick Saban defense? “I thought he improved his game this week,” Mullen said. Maybe Jones played better knowing he wouldn’t get out of the game. Either way, it’s pretty clear that Florida has two quarterbacks that can do different things and this thing could work well.

5

So the Gators have a loss in the SEC, which is never good but hardly crippling.

“I think we have the opportunity to have a very good football team,” said Mullen. Coming into that game, we felt like we would know a lot more about this team. I think we did. These guys are not afraid of Alabama and will do everything in their power to face them again. It’s going to be really interesting to see where this team and this program go from here. “We’re at the point where we can compete,” Mullen said. “Now we have to go and win these games.”

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