clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A month of misery: Florida's inoffensive November ranks with worst in program history

New, 124 comments

The Gators didn't just have an off day or two.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

You know Florida's offense was bad in November. It was "Treon Harris is throwing short of every receiver but FSU's defensive linemen and I cannot yell loud enough" bad. It was "only turnovers can help the Gators score on Florida Atlantic" bad. It was "save us, Kelvin Taylor, you're our only hope" bad. It was "save us, Austin Hardin, you're our only hope!?" bad.

What you might not know is how bad it was in the context of history.

Florida scored 13.8 points per game in November, and only scored more than 14 points in regulation once, against what is currently the nation's No. 70 scoring defense. After scoring 33.5 points per game in September and another 28.5 points per game in October, this was a fall off a steep cliff.

It was also worse than all but one month of Florida football under Will Muschamp. The only time Florida scored fewer than 13.8 points per game in a month under Muschamp was in October 2011, a month in which you may recall Florida playing three quarterbacks, two of whom got hurt, and matching up against both teams that eventually played for the national title. (The worst team Florida saw that month, Auburn, went 8-5.)

These Gators were down to their backup quarterback, too. But they also played one team that will finish with record better than 4-8 this season in November 2015, and still coughed up dust on nearly every series.

And Florida scored more points in every month in its supposedly legendarily bad 2013 season than it did in November 2015.

The two single-digit scoring performances in a single month were a first since 2010, when Urban Meyer's last team managed six points against Alabama and seven against Mississippi State.

That mark of futility had been a first for the program since October 1988, a month in which Florida averaged 9.75 points per game, never broke 20 points, and recorded the most recent shutout in program history, a 16-0 loss to Auburn.

In the 346 games since that blanking by Auburn — which comprise the longest streak without being shut out in college football, one that is more than three full seasons longer than the closest competitor's — Florida had never scored fewer than three points until Saturday against FSU.

Fans (of the Gators and rival teams) often imply that Florida's history only stretches back to 1990, and the hiring of Steve Spurrier; if it did, this would be unequivocally the worst month of offense in Florida history, and I'd say it's inarguably the worst month of offense, adjusting for context, of the Gators' modern era.

But it's even bad compared to some of the worst seasons Florida's ever had.

The Gators' infamous 0-10-1 campaign in 1979 — one brought up endlessly in 2013, as Florida played at levels not seen since then — is one of two Florida seasons since World War II in which the Gators haven't scored 10 points per game (winless 1961 is the other).

Florida scored 55 points in November 2015, only 13 more than it did in November 1979, and those Gators scored just two fewer points over their final four regular season games (that team played Miami on December 1) than these Gators did this month.

And, of course, Florida scored fewer points in regulation over its last four games than that team did. Had Florida simply kicked a game-winning field goal against FAU, rather than scoring a touchdown, things could have been even worse.

And, in addition, one of Florida's touchdowns against FAU was set up by a fumble returned to the FAU 2. And, also, Florida's offense scored more points for FAU (thanks to a Harris strip sack that became a touchdown) than it did for the Gators against FSU.

And, furthermore, Florida's defense had somehow allowed just four offensive touchdowns in a month in which its offense completely abandoned it — Florida gave up five touchdowns against each of Alabama and LSU alone in October 2011, gave up 24 points to a Vanderbilt team that went 3-8 in October 1988, and gave up 30-plus points in four games in 1979 — prior to the final eight minutes of Saturday's game, in which Dalvin Cook ran for 112 of his 183 yards on the night, and scored the fifth and sixth touchdowns the Gators gave up all month. (Cook entered the fourth quarter with just 34 rushing yards on the night.)

And, well, I can keep going, but I think you get it.

The most important point is this: Florida had one of its worst months ever on offense in November 2015, one that rivals ones from seasons in which the Gators won zero games — yet these Gators have also won zero games, but with a one in front of the zero, because their defense is essentially the Avengers, and Jim McElwain is Montana's answer to Gandalf.

And the other one is that there's basically no way things could get worse for the Ga ... oh, they're playing the nation's No. 3 scoring defense, No. 2 total defense, and No. 1 defense by S&P+ by far on Saturday?

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, dammit.