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Chomp: What will the Mizzou game mean for Mullen?

Florida head coach Dan Mullen watches from the sideline during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against South Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford) (Sean Rayford, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.


Well, the news hasn’t gotten much better since our last newsletter.

But at least we didn’t actually lose to Samford?

Defense has historically bad performance

Florida gave up 42 points — its most ever in any half — but the Gators were able to come from behind to defeat lower-division Samford last week in a 70-52 shootout.

It was the most points a Football Championship Subdivision program has ever scored against a Southeastern Conference team.

The historically poor performance on the defensive side came after the firing of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

GAME RECAP: Florida rallies to beat Samford 70-52 in Swamp shootout

Different records were being broken on the offensive side, with Emory Jones accounting for 550 yards and seven touchdowns. His total yardage broke Tim Tebow’s school record of 533 set in the 2010 Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati. Moving forward, it seems that it’s Jones’ job to lose.

READ MORE: Florida sticking with Jones

Not only did the near-upset garner attention, but so did coach Dan Mullen’s post-game celebration.

“Calling a win disappointing is disrespectful to the game and our players,” Mullen said.

In this episode of Gators Breakdown, host David Waters reviews the lackluster performance on defense, as well as the record-setting day on offense. In another episode, hear from David and Gators Breakdown listeners about the victory.

Will Saturday’s game affect Mullen’s fate?

Last week, David, in a Gators Breakdown episode, looked at the potential replacements for Grantham, but now there’s talk the coaching changes won’t stop with him and run game coordinator and offensive line coach John Hevesy.

Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde wrote this following Florida’s win over Samford: “The Dan Mullen Era has crashed and cannot be revived. It’s over. He may finish the season but he cannot carry on into 2022 in Gainesville with any kind of enthusiastic backing.”

Another national college football insider, Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, had this to say: “The collective toll of the accumulated embarrassments for Florida football has careened Mullen’s head coaching fate at Florida from a possibility of a departure to a virtual inevitability.”

Now the question is: Win or lose, will the outcome of Florida’s road game against Missouri (5-5, 2-4 SEC) even play a role in additional coaching moves? Or is Mullen’s fate already sealed?

Some believe his job is on the line Saturday and next week against rival Florida State.

But Mullen said the matchup against the Tigers is no different, as there’s always “pressure to perform.”

In this Gators Breakdown episode, David and Will Miles, with Read and Reaction, address the mounting outside pressure Mullen is facing.

And in the latest episode, David previews Saturday’s game, with the Gators (5-5, 2-5 SEC) going up against the Tigers and their ground attack, which is led by one of the SEC’s best running backs, Tyler Badie.

The teams split the 10 previous meetings, and nobody has won more than two straight in the series. Florida won 41-17 last season in Gainesville.

The game kicks off at 4 p.m. in Columbia and will be televised on SEC Network.

👀 Uniforms revealed for Missouri game

The Gators on Thursday released photos of their uniforms for the last road game and final SEC matchup of the season.

The Florida players will be wearing orange helmets, white jerseys and blue pants.

You can take a look at the pics tweeted out on the Gators Football Twitter account here.

📺 Top Week 12 games to watch

Here’s who all of the College Football Playoff top 25 teams are playing in Week 12 (all games are on Saturday unless noted otherwise):

  • Charleston Southern at No. 1 Georgia — Noon
  • No. 21 Arkansas at No. 2 Alabama — 3:30 p.m.
  • No. 3 Oregon at No. 23 Utah — 7:30 p.m.
  • No. 7 Michigan State at No. 4 Ohio State — Noon
  • SMU at No. 5 Cincinnati — 3:30 p.m.
  • No. 6 Michigan at Maryland — 3:30 p.m.
  • Georgia Tech at No. 8 Notre Dame — 2:30 p.m.
  • No. 9 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech — 8 p.m.
  • No. 10 Wake Forest at Clemson — Noon
  • No. 11 Baylor at Kansas State — 5:30 p.m.
  • Vanderbilt at No. 12 Ole Miss —7:30 p.m.
  • Iowa State at No. 13 Oklahoma — Noon
  • No. 14 BYU at Georgia Southern — 4 p.m.
  • Nebraska at No. 15 Wisconsin — 3:30 p.m.
  • Prairie View at No. 16 Texas A&M — Noon
  • Illinois at No. 17 Iowa — 2 p.m.
  • Virginia at No. 18 Pittsburgh — 3:30 p.m.
  • No. 19 San Diego State at UNLV — 11:30 p.m. Friday
  • Syracuse at No. 20 NC State — 4 p.m.
  • UAB at No. 22 UTSA — 3:30 p.m.
  • Memphis at No. 24 Houston — 9 p.m. Friday
  • Tennessee State at No. 25 Mississippi State — Noon

🕛 Kickoff time announced for FSU game

Senior Day will have an early start.

It was announced Monday that kickoff is set for noon, Nov. 27, when Florida hosts Florida State.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

🏈 3 Gators accept invites to Senior Bowl

Defensive lineman Zachary Carter, linebacker Jeremiah Moon and running back Dameon Pierce have accepted their invitations to the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl.

It will take place on Feb. 5, 2022, in Mobile, Alabama.

Now-former Gators Shawn Davis, Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney participated in last year’s Senior Bowl.

🏀 Florida ends 7-game losing streak vs. FSU

The Gators ended their seven-game losing streak against Florida State when they defeated the Seminoles 71-55 on Sunday.

The game came 11 months after Keyontae Johnson collapsed on the court in Tallahassee. After Sunday’s game, coach Mike White and “Coach Key” shared an emotional embrace.

“This game was really personal,” said Anthony Duruji. “A lot of factors. I would say Keyontae. I would say it’s been seven years since we beat FSU. It’s a rivalry, so we know we had to come prepared as can be.”

👏 Castleton named SEC Player of the Week

Colin Castleton was named the SEC Player of the Week following his double-double in Sunday’s win against Florida State.

Castleton posted 15 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and six blocked shots against the Seminoles following a season-opening win against Elon with 18 points, six blocked shots and a career-best four assists.

“It was about us and how hard we were going to play, how tough we were, how much heart we had, and we felt like we brought more of that than they did,” Castleton said after the victory. “That helped us get the win. We did a lot more things that helped us win the game — played together and played for one another.”

The Deland native has four career double-doubles and five games with six or more blocked shots.

This marks his third career SEC Player of the Week honor.

🐊 Gators dominate Milwaukee

Castleton didn’t stop there.

On Thursday night, he had his second consecutive double-double to help lead No. 24 Florida (3-0) to a 81-45 win over Milwaukee (1-2) and freshman star Patrick Baldwin Jr.

It was Gators’ first game as a ranked team in nine months.

✉️ Send us your Gators thoughts & questions

David and I want to hear from you. Do you have any thoughts or questions about the Gators football program? Agree or disagree with something we’ve said? Let us know here, and we’ll share our responses to your questions.

🎙️ Listen to more Gators Breakdown

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About the Author:

Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4Jax in March 2016.