Georgia Southern stuns Florida 26-20 in Swamp

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 23, 2013 at 9:14 pm •  Published: November 23, 2013
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Georgia Southern players and coaches trickled back onto Florida Field long after the game ended.

They had cellphones in hand, ready to snap pictures of a lifeless stadium.

About an hour earlier, they emptied the Swamp in what will go down as Florida's worst loss in school history.

Kevin Ellison ran for two touchdowns, Jerick McKinnon had a huge score late and four-touchdown underdog Georgia Southern stunned Florida 26-20 Saturday without completing a pass.

No lower-division team had ever beaten the Gators, who won their previous seven games against Football Championship Subdivision teams by an average of 45 points.

So this was a shocker, even though Florida (4-7) lost its sixth consecutive game and secured its first losing season since 1979.

"Very disappointed for our program, an embarrassment (to be) in this situation," Gators coach Will Muschamp said. "It's all disappointing. It's hard to measure it at this point."

Georgia Southern (7-4) ran for 429 yards — all of the team's offense and the most against Florida since Nebraska rolled up 524 in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. The Eagles also became the first team this season to beat an FBS team without completing a pass. They were 0 for 3.

McKinnon finished with 125 yards rushing, including a 14-yard touchdown with 2:57 remaining. Ellison added 118 yards on the ground, scoring on runs of 45 and 1. Fullback William Banks also gashed the Gators, getting 94 yards up the middle. His 53-yarder on a third-and-2 play set up the winning score.

Florida had a chance to win it, thanks partly to two missed extra points.

Skyler Mornhinweg, making his second consecutive start in place of Tyler Murphy (shoulder), got the Gators in scoring territory, but his final two throws fell incomplete. He had Quinton Dunbar open in the corner of the end zone on third down from the 17, but his pass floated high. He tried to force one to Solomon Patton on the final play, but two defenders broke it up.

"It's very difficult for us to create explosive plays, to get anything down the field," Muschamp said. "Just don't ever do it."

Georgia Southern, a six-time FCS champion making the move to the Football Bowl Subdivision next season, rushed the field and celebrated wildly. Players and coaches stopped long enough to pose for a team picture near the 30-yard line, and then the party really started.

They ran toward the band and eventually settled down long enough to sing the alma mater. Someone at Florida didn't want to hear it, though.

Just as the visitors got going, the hometown P.A. started blaring music louder than usual.

Nonetheless, the Eagles surely will sing all the way back to Statesboro, Ga. — and long into the night.

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