Ack's Insights

Florida and Florida State 2003 will go down as one of the most famous games in this great college football rivalry. It will not be remembered for the heroics of young men on the field but the ignorance of mature men officiating it.

The abundance of difficult and not so difficult calls seemed to mount against Florida and enabled the Seminoles to put together an improbable drive led by there much maligned quarterback and win. There seemed to be a lack of competitive balance by a crew of officials who did decide not to call holding the entire game except before the Seminoles punted on their first drive. The penalty would extend the drive but not lead to any points. FSU has now has won five of six in the series and two of the last three at the Swamp (1999-2003). The record crowd of 90,407 were treated to another compelling and entertaining game that will always feel a bit tainted by Gator fans.

Inside the Numbers:
How does Florida lose after holding FSU to 1-11 on 3rd Downs? The answer - ACC Officials.

As a matter of fact, FSU did not convert a third down after the first quarter but they did get two fourth down conversions that were huge. Chris Rix's touchdown leap and the pass to Dominic Robinson late in the fourth quarter were huge conversions.

Thirteen of the last fourteen times the team with the leading rush stats has won the game. This year UF outrushed FSU 142 to 134.

How did the Noles manage to win? The answer - ACC Officials

The Gators had 28 points in the second half after FSU had given up only 67 total in eleven games. The Gators had 18 points in the third quarter, which was the most a UF team had scored against FSU since they had 21 in the second quarter of the 1995 game. The Gators only punted twice the entire game and only had one turnover in the game. Of course one turnover that led to seven Nole points and of course determined by... ACC Officials. The Gators did manage a team total of 303 yards passing and fourteen passes for first downs. Finally UF scored on it's opening drive of the game (although it should have started in FSU Territory - ACC Officials) for the first time all season. The Gators actually scored on their first possession of each half.

Individually Speaking
All four of Ben Troupe's receptions were over 20 yards which marked the fifth straight game of a catch over 20 yards. He will however loathe the drop that led to a field goal at 24-24 that would have been worth four more points. He did miss the school record of 122 yards receiving by a tight end by one yard with his performance. Chris Leak had 273 yards, which was the second most by a true freshman in Gator history. Wayne Peace had 282 versus Georgia in 1980. He had a career high for yards and attempts with 36. Leak is second on three SEC true freshman records lists - completions- 168,yards-2,167 and touchdowns -14. Ran Carthon's 62 yards put him over 500 for the season and gives the Gators three 500 yard plus running backs on the season. 1984 is the only other season that has happened and it was Neal Anderson, J.L.Williams and Lorenzo Hampton. Matt Leach has now made 20 field goals this season which is tied for third all-time on UF list. The Gators tied a record for most ranked teams faced in one season with six. UF finished 3-3 and the other loss on the Gator record is to a ranked opponent in Ole Miss. Florida's defense has seven touchdowns this season and UF has scored 107 points off opponent's turnovers this season.

One man's thoughts
The turnovers that were not called were the story of the game. Sometimes in the heat of the battle officials make mistakes and they are human. But, it became unfair to me when the officials showed a lack of leadership and professionalism by not gathering to discuss the Ciatrick Fason fumble. They then compounded the problem by ruling too quickly that FSU maintained possession after the Leon Washington fumble. The line judge was coming in to spot Fason down and looked to the umpire for help and none of the officials knew what to do. Pat Watkins would go on to score and the ruling would stand without a meeting. If that was the case after so many quick whistles then how does FSU maintain the ball in a pileup with no official even looking into it to make a judgement? It was supposed to be the best group from the ACC and it was a horrible display of leadership and game control. Many people could point to countless mistakes by the officials but these two plays were directly related to FSU getting 14 points. Without these points the prevent defense gaffe by UF becomes a mute point.

Speaking of UF's prevent defense it was not executed well and should be scrapped next season. It was obvious Rix cannot handle pressure and quick decisions (see the Guss Scott blitz caused fumble for a touchdown) and UF elected a strong arm daring quarterback to drop back and throw a curl/dig for a first down on fourth down. It's a shame that the officials enabled the situation but Florida must stop FSU on fourth down and preserve the game. For that I blame Florida and not the ACC Officials.

Snippetts and Tidbits
Three of Florida's four losses (Miami, FSU, Ole Miss) the Gators led the game with 90 seconds to play.

The ruling of unsportsmanlike penalty on Channing Crowder that resulted in a spot of half the distance to the goalline and remain second down was the right ruling. Because it was a non-contact dead ball foul it is not an automatic first down. Normally in the open field it is a ten yard penalty which usually would result in a first down. Because the Noles were inside the ten they could not gain a first down .It was the only call the officials got right all day.

The SEC by the way has suspend five officials this year for a game because of improper rulings. Word has it the ACC Officials are working the Peach Bowl with an ACC participant Clemson being involved...Just kidding.

Ron Zook handled the post game with class and dignity and he held himself together very well considering the debacle that took place on the field. The Gators must win their Bowl game most likely against Clemson to finish the season off the way it should be done with a victory.

The coaching staff is off to a fast start recruiting and expect some high profile recruits to jump on board in the near future. UF may land some JUCO's again this year and are looking to get another tight end for next year. Ingle Martin will likely transfer to Furman and play right away next season. I think it is a good move for Ingle who just wants to play the game. He is a great competitor and leader and was an asset to the University of Florida. I also expect UF to sign a big class this year because I do believe there could be some more attrition in the near future.

Stat of the Week: 8
The number of receivers that caught passes from Chris Leak on Saturday. This was the seventh time this season this many caught passes.

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