Just when you thought the No. 8 Florida Gators were going to roll past Florida Atlantic, the Gators received quite the scare from the Owls on Saturday at The Swamp. The Gators went scoreless in the first half and were forced into overtime before escaping with a 20-14 win. Here are the particulars:
What the win means for Florida: Its College Football Playoff hopes are still alive. The No. 8 Gators can’t afford to lose if they hope to get in -- the SEC East champions need to win out, including in the SEC title game, to have a shot -- but winning in such an ugly fashion against an FAU team that was 2-8 coming into the contest won’t help when it comes to "the eye test."
What the loss means for Florida Atlantic: It’s tough to be so close to the upset and not come away with it, but it’s an impressive effort from the Owls (2-9), who are playing out the string. Nobody expected them to give the Gators a fight, but they didn’t give in, even when trailing 14-0 in the second half.
How the game was won: After being forced into overtime, Florida scored a touchdown on its possession as quarterback Treon Harris found Jake McGee for a 13-yard score for the 20-14 lead. After their failed point-after attempt, the Gators needed a stop, and got it. FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson threw into the end zone on third down and fourth down, but both passes fell incomplete and were accompanied by good coverage to help the Gators hang on.
Stats of the game: Florida was an ugly 2-for-13 on third-down conversion tries, a big reason why they struggled. FAU outgained Florida 299 yards to 252. Both teams recorded five sacks.