NOTEBOOK: Penalties Concern Meyer

You should never complain about grabbing a win on the road in the SEC, especially when you beat a team from the West. But there were several things the Gators could have avoided on Saturday that would have made things a little easier during their win at Ole Miss.

The Gators were flagged 14 times for a total of 127 yards. There was a questionable unsportsmanlike penalty called on Louis Murphy and there were the usual offensive line miscues that can be expected on the road. But then there were some dumb penalties like a roughing the passer penalty in the third quarter and Chris Rainey ran into a punt returner after he signaled for a fair catch.

"Just awful," Urban Meyer said. "They are just silly ones. Those kinds are very correctable. A lot of them are young guys making mistakes."

Gators win the toss

Gator captain Andre Caldwell couldn't suit up against Ole Miss, but Urban Meyer still brought him along for the ride. The reason – Caldwell is the spokesperson for the Gators and this was UF's first chance to make the call on the coin toss.

Florida won the coin toss, and for the first time in the Meyer-era, the Gators elected to receive. Meyer has always deferred to the second half, but the new rule that moved kickoffs from the 35-yard line to the 30 has changed his mind.

The decision proved to be effective for Meyer. Brandon James returned the kick 55 yards – his second longest of the season. However, the Gators failed to capitalize on the field position when Joey Ijjas missed his first field goal of the season, missing from 42 yards out.

Falling behind

When Ole Miss placekicker Joshua Shene split the uprights from 40 yards out with 5:02 left in the first quarter, the Gators found themselves trailing for the first time all season.

In each of Florida's first three games, the Gators took a first quarter lead. Only Troy answered the Gators first score with a touchdown, tying the score 7-7 in week two.

After Ole Miss took the lead, Florida put together a 10-play, 77-yard scoring drive, ending with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Percy Harvin with 14:52 left in the second quarter.

It was the first time the Gators were held scoreless in the first quarter this season. The last time the they were shut out in the first quarter was against South Carolina last November – a span of seven games.

Match made in Heaven

Tim Tebow got off to a slow start, missing on his first two passing attempts. But then Tebow found Percy Harvin.

On the Gators' first scoring drive of the game, Tebow connected with Harvin six times. The completions went for 67 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to finish the drive.

Tebow would complete seven consecutive passes before throwing another incompletion.

Bend, but no break

The Rebels' offense sustained several long drives in the first half, but the Gator defense refused to give in. Ole Miss made it into the red zone on three separate occasions and walked away with points on two possessions, but settled for only field goals.

The Rebels got the scoring started after driving 37 yards on their second possession. Ole Miss reached the 20-yard line, but the Gator defense held their ground on a third-and-12, forcing the Rebels to kick a 40-yard field goal.

On the Rebels' next drive, again they drove inside the 20, but came up short on a third-and-17 from the 26-yard line. They had to settle for a 32-yard field goal at the 11:57 mark of the second quarter. On their final trip into the red zone, the Rebels missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.

The secret to the Gators' success came on third downs. Ole Miss was 1-of-6 on third down conversions in the first half and finished the game 2-of-11.

Third Quarter Woes

The Gators are outscoring opponents 167-30 in quarters one, two and four, but are being outscored 42-27 in the third quarter. Until today's match-up with the Rebels, Florida had only one offensive touchdown in the third quarter through the first three games.

Tim Tebow hit Riley Cooper for a 42-yard touchdown strike against Western Kentucky, but with the exception of Dustin Doe's fumble recovery for a touchdown last week agaist the Vols, the Gators were shutout.

Against Ole Miss, though, the Florida offense found the end zone twice. But the Rebels also scored 18 points of their own.

Injury Report

Riley Cooper was expected to play, but he just wasn't right.

"He tried to go, but couldn't," Meyer said.

Tailback Kestahn Moore also suffered a minor injury to his quad, and placekicker Joey Ijjas hasn't been right since last week's win against Tennessee. Ijjas kicked eight extra points, a field goal and 10 kickoffs against the Vols, and that kind of work tends to tire out a leg.

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