Miami (Ohio) at Florida

Shaky, sloppy Florida escapes with defeat of Miami

CBSSports.com wire reports
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Just minutes after Florida's season opener ended, even before players and coaches walked off the field, the scoreboards went blank.

Even with a victory, the Gators were more than ready to erase the memory of this one.

No. 4 Florida opened the post-Tim Tebow era with a resounding thud, maybe the sound of high expectations crashing to the ground. Yes, the Gators got four interceptions, several red-zone stops and two late touchdowns to beat heavy underdog Miami (Ohio) 34-12 on Saturday.

But the real story was coach Urban Meyer's anemic offense, the one quarterback John Brantley had hoped to "keep rolling" after waiting three years behind Tebow.

Miami (Ohio) vs. Florida
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Instead, Brantley and the Gators spent most of the game in reverse.

"I didn't imagine the offense's incompetence that we experienced today," Meyer said.

There were a bunch of fumbles, several bad snaps, some poor throws, six penalties and a whole lot of frustration in The Swamp.

Brantley completed 17 of 25 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. He had a 10-yarder to Omarius Hines that was the offense's longest play of the day until Jeff Demps got loose for a 72-yarder in the fourth quarter. Brantley also threw a 25-yard TD pass to Chris Rainey with 1:21 remaining. That fourth-and-21 pass bounced off a teammate before Rainey hauled it in.

The offense had few other highlights.

"I'm not embarrassed at all," Brantley said. "It was one those days, I guess you could say."

Florida finished with eight fumbles (three lost) and 212 yards, 187 of them in the final 13 minutes. There was plenty of blame to go around, too.

Deonte Thompson, who was miffed by the perception that he had bad hands last year, dropped a perfectly thrown deep ball in the end zone. Mike Pouncey, who moved from guard to center this year, airmailed one snap over Brantley's head and chunked two others into the ground.

The offensive line looked every bit like a patchwork unit. Starting left tackle Xavier Nixon (knee) and backup Matt Patchan (wrist) missed the game, and left guard Carl Johnson didn't play for an unspecified reason.

Demps and Emmanuel Moody were mostly bottled up at the line of scrimmage, Brantley seemed to check down early and often, and every deep pass fell to the ground.

"It'd be tough to win with those turnovers against an SEC school," Brantley said.

The Gators managed a measly 25 yards, including minus-16 rushing, through three quarters. Nonetheless, they led 21-12 thanks to interceptions by Jon Bostic, Janoris Jenkins and Ahmad Black. Jenkins returned his 67 yards for a touchdown that put Florida ahead 7-3 in the second quarter.

Black's pick set up backup quarterback Trey Burton's 2-yard run, which put Florida ahead 21-3. Many figured that would spark the offense in the second half. Instead, the Gators stalled on three consecutive drives in the third quarter, failing to convert on fourth down, fumbling two more snaps and punting, then missing a field goal.

"Frustration? I know I'm beyond that," Meyer said. "Frustration? You've just got to get a little better. We'll fix those things. If you keep seeing them over and over again, then you've got to make changes. We're certainly not going to hit that mode yet. We need to get a lot better."

Zac Dysert completed 25 of 44 passes for 191 yards for Miami, which got a career-high four field goals from Trevor Cook. He was Miami's best weapon.

The RedHawks had opportunities to make it even closer. Not only did they settle for three short field goals, they turned the ball over four times and made two other costly errors. Linebacker Ryan Kennedy missed an open receiver on a fake punt deep in Florida territory and running back Thomas Merriweather was called for a personal foul penalty that gave the Gators a first-and-goal at the 2.

"I think turnovers and a lack of discipline cost us the football game," said Miami coach Michael Haywood, whose team finished 1-11 last year and came to Gainesville as five-touchdown underdogs. "We can't make mistakes on offense and we have to keep pressing forward and eliminating the mental errors."

Merriweather was ejected for apparently punching defensive tackle Dominique Easley in the helmet. Merriweather was booed as he walked to the locker room.

But the 90,178 on hand saved the loudest boos for Florida's offense.

"Once the other team has momentum, and you've got all negative momentum, it just goes downhill from there," Pouncey said. "When we did get stuff going I [messed] up the snap, and then when we did get stuff going again ... we just kept fumbling. It won't happen again."

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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John Brantley feels heat from the Miami defense and his own fans in a less-than-stellar debut as Florida's starting QB.  (US Presswire)
John Brantley feels heat from the Miami defense and his own fans in a less-than-stellar debut as Florida's starting QB. (US Presswire)

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Scoring Summary
MIAOHTrevor Cook 33 yd FG
FLJanoris Jenkins 67 yd interception return (Caleb Sturgis kick)
FLOmarius Hines 10 yd pass from John Brantley (Caleb Sturgis kick)
FLTrey Burton 2 yd run (Caleb Sturgis kick)
MIAOHTrevor Cook 31 yd FG
MIAOHTrevor Cook 31 yd FG
MIAOHTrevor Cook 33 yd FG
FLJeffery Demps 72 yd run (missed kick)
FLChris Rainey 25 yd pass from John Brantley (Caleb Sturgis kick)
 
Team Stats
 MIAOHFL
First Downs1612
Third Down Efficiency4-153-12
Fourth Down Efficiency1-23-5
Plays-Net Yards68-21256-212
Rushes-Yds22-431-99
Passing Yds208113
Kick Return Yds125129
Punt Return Yds015
Passes26-46-417-25-0
Punts3-891-27
Fumbles-Lost0-08-3
Penalties-Yds9-516-51
Time of Poss.34:4425:16
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
MIAOH: Tracy Woods 5-19, Roman Lawson 1-3, Zac Dysert 8-2, Thomas Merriweather 5--2, Jamal Rogers 1--3, Armand Robinson 2--15
FL: Jeffery Demps 8-98, Mike Gillislee 6-55, Emmanuel Moody 5-5, Trey Burton 2-4, Chris Rainey 3-1, John Brantley 3--9, Team 4--55
PASSING
MIAOH: Zac Dysert 25-44-191-4, Ryan Kennedy 1-2-17-0
FL: John Brantley 17-25-113-0
RECEIVING
MIAOH: Armand Robinson 11-111, Jamal Rogers 4-16, Tracy Woods 3--1, Chris Givens 2-25, Thomas Merriweather 2-18, DeMarco Paine 2-11, Kendrick Bruton 1-17, Nick Harwell 1-11
FL: Chris Rainey 6-34, Jeffery Demps 4-4, Omarius Hines 3-49, Deonte Thompson 3-24, Trey Burton 1-2
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
Miami (Ohio)6th Mid American East2-62-10