The Gators were just a few feet away. Trailing 31-23 to the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide with just over three minutes to play, Florida capped off a 75-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown run from Dameon Pierce to bring the game within two. Florida dialed up a read-option play on the two-point conversion, but ‘Bama snuffed it out.
UF got one more chance offensively, but with less than 10 seconds to play, it couldn’t do anything with it. The Gators gave Alabama a lot more anxiety than many expected, but they fell 31-29 on their home field. A missed extra point from kicker Chris Howard after Florida’s first touchdown proved to be the difference, as it forced it to go for two after the potential game-tying touchdown.
The Gators certainly hoped for a different result, but they proved they can hang with the most talented teams in the nation. All of this team’s goals remain on the table, and with a win over Georgia in Jacksonville next month, Florida could very well get another shot at Alabama in the SEC Championship in December. Here are five takeaways from Florida’s hard-fought loss on Saturday.