The previous season's Gators finished the regular season 6–5, with an upset win against no. 9 Georgia. The Gators became bowl eligible after their win against Eastern Kentucky. This was their first eligibility after a 22-season streak was broken in the 2013 season. Florida was invited to play in the Birmingham Bowl against the East Carolina Pirates, where they won 28–20.
On November 16, 2014 and with two regular season games remaining, it was announced that head coach Will Muschamp would be replaced after the 2014 football season. Defensive coordinator D. J. Durkin served as interim head coach for the post-season. Between the regular season and the bowl game, the school selected Colorado State head coach and former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain to become the head coach for the 2015 season.
Jim McElwain's tenure at Florida kicked off with a primetime game against the Sun Belt Conference's New Mexico State Aggies. The previous (and only other) Gators–Aggies encounter was in the 1994 season debut, where the no. 1 Gators opened the season with a commanding 70–21 victory over the Aggies. The Gators would finish that season 10–2–1 and capture a third SEC championship under Steve Spurrier. The 1994 Aggies would struggle to a 3–8 record.
On September 2, head coach Jim McElwain announced that sophomore Treon Harris would be the starting quarterback for the game, but also assured that redshirt freshman Will Grier would play quarterback at some point in the game.
The Gators' first drive of the season ended in a three-and-out. This was their only punt of the game, as the Gators scored on all but one of their succeeding drives—Will Grier lost a fumble behind the line in the second quarter. Quarterbacks Treon Harris and Will Grier combined for 379 passing yards and five passing touchdowns in a promising display of offense, producing a total of 606 yards. Harris had more passing yards than Grier, although Grier did run for a touchdown in the second quarter. On the defensive side of the ball, the Gators defense held the Aggies to a mere 200 yards, allowing only a few big plays. Placekicker Austin Hardin was 2/2 on field goals, and 7/8 on extra point kick attempts, as the Aggies were able to block the extra point attempt at the 0:24 mark of the second quarter. On the previous drive, the Gators blocked the Aggies' extra point kick attempt. The Gators were penalized only once for 10 yards, in contrast to the Gators' 59.2 penalty yards per game in 2014.
The Gators face the Pirates a mere 8 months following their previous encounter at the 2015 Birmingham Bowl. The Gators and Pirates played a close first quarter in Birmingham, but the Gators regained their lead early in the second quarter, and added to it later on. The Pirates were not able to muster a sufficient response, and the Gators went on to win 28–20. The Gators and Pirates also played at Florida Field in 1983 as the no. 6 and undefeated Gators played a close game, winning 24–17 on Homecoming day. The Gators finished the 1983 season 9–2–1. Head coach Jim McElwain announced during the week that redshirt freshman Will Grier would get his first career college start, and Treon Harris would come off the bench. This is a script flip from last week, when Treon Harris got the start before Will Grier played for about half the game. Junior defensive backVernon Hargreaves III suffered a leg injury at practice during the week, and would not dress for the game.
Much like their previous 2015 meeting at the Birmingham Bowl, East Carolina played a close game against the Gators, as the game had a total of four lead changes. In the first half, placekicker Austin Hardin missed 2 field goals. After falling behind 10–14 early in the third quarter, Florida seemed to be pulling away as they led 31–17, however East Carolina would score a touchdown with 3:04 remaining in the game. On the ensuing possession, the Gators went three-and-out, and punted the ball back to East Carolina, who would get well into Florida territory before quarterback Blake Kemp fumbled a pass attempt, which was recovered by defensive end Alex McAlister, who would have scored had his teammate, Jarrad Davis, not tackled him. Florida was able to kneel to run off the final 12 seconds. Head coach Jim McElwain called the Gators' performance "embarrassing," not only speaking of the several missed opportunities to put points on the board, but also of the 12 penalties totaling 105 yards, including two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls following scores. McElwain added that his team "didn't deserve to win the game," and addressed the issue of being penalized 12 times, saying "this is not how it's going to be around here anymore." The 12 Florida penalties sharply contrast last week's season opener, where the Gators showed above average discipline, as they were penalized only once.
Florida traveled to Lexington for this year's edition of the annual intra-divisional series. Kentucky was hoping to avenge a victory against the Gators for the first time since November 15, 1986. In last year's primetime matchup, the Gators and Wildcats played a triple-overtime thriller under the lights at The Swamp. Kentucky scored a game-tying 51-yard field goal with 3:52 left in the fourth quarter. Florida later missed a game-winning field goal, and sent the game to overtime. Florida eventually scored the game-winning touchdown in the third overtime period, thus continuing Kentucky's losing streak against Florida.
For the third consecutive game, Florida would plan on playing both Will Grier and Treon Harris during the game, and would place Grier in the starting position for the second consecutive game. Vernon Hargreaves III was upgraded to questionable on Wednesday, and later listed as probable. Head coach Jim McElwain was hoping for gameplay resembling that of the season debut against New Mexico State, as Kentucky is coming off a 26–22 victory at South Carolina; McElwain says of Kentucky "This team we're playing is not your same old Kentucky ... These guys are really good."
The Gators played another tight game for the second straight year, holding a mere 7–3 lead through the first quarter. The Gators scored another touchdown in the second quarter to extend their lead to a comfortable 14–3. Florida could not score for the remainder of the game, however their defense was able to hold Kentucky's potent offense led by Patrick Towles, one of the SEC's top returning quarterbacks, to only two additional field goals, and intercepted a desperation pass on 4th & 27 to secure the result and kneel off the remaining time. Starting quarterback Will Grier played for the entire game, and was the team's top rusher with 61 yards. Treon Harris did warm up on the sideline when Grier's offense seemed to dwindle, but Jim McElwain asked if Grier could continue, which he affirmed. McElwain called his first SEC victory a "heck of a road win against a team that's going to win a lot of games in this league and is getting better and better."
With the victory, Florida extended their winning streak against Kentucky to 29 games, the nation's longest active win streak against an annual opponent. The all-time record is Notre Dame's 43-game winning streak against Navy from 1964 to 2006.
Jim McElwain would try to lead the Gators to an eleventh consecutive victory – the longest winning streak of the rivalry – against a promising Volunteer team, whose turnaround season last year – which culminated with their first bowl victory in six years – sparked a frenzy of high-prospect recruiting for this season. Last year's game saw a fourth quarter comeback by the Gators, resolving a 0–9 deficit in the fourth quarter.
During the week it was announced that Will Grier would make his third consecutive start. He would be expected to play the entire game due to Treon Harris being unavailable due to a one-game suspension. Josh Grady was promoted in the depth chart for this game in Harris's absence.
The Gators would score a touchdown on their second drive of the game, however the Volunteers scored three drives later, and the first quarter ended at a 7–7 tie. Tennessee would score an additional 10 points in the second quarter, sending the Gators to halftime trailing 7–17. Tennessee scored a field goal on the opening series of the third quarter to extend to a 20–7 lead. Florida would score later in the third quarter as a result of a Kelvin Taylor touchdown run, pulling the Gators within a touchdown of the Volunteers. Tennessee, however, earned a touchdown to finish a 70-yard, 7:26 drive with 10:19 in the fourth quarter. Head coach Butch Jones elected to kick a one-point try, rather than going for a two-point try that would have made given the Volunteers a 14-point lead. This decision would prove fatal for the Volunteers, as Florida scored a touchdown of their own on the ensuing possession, and Tennessee would punt the ball back to Florida on their following possession with 2:18 remaining in the game. The Gators engineered a 52-second drive that culminated with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Grier to Antonio Callaway on 4th-and-14. The Volunteers got the ball back with 1:25 remaining in the game, and drove down the field to set up a 55-yard, game-winning field goal attempt with 3 seconds remaining. Placekicker Aaron Medley missed wide right, allowing the Gators to hold on for a second consecutive one-point victory over the Volunteers.
The Gators extended their perfect record on fourth down conversion attempts, as they were 5/5 on fourth down, including 3/3 in the fourth quarter.
Ole Miss was the only team able to upset reigning Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and the eventual national champion 2008 Gators. The Rebels blocked a game-tying extra point with 3:28 left in the game to hold a 31–30 lead. The Gators were able to regain possession with 2:05 left in the game, but turned over on downs after Tebow was stopped short of the line to gain on 4th & 1 with 41 seconds left. They have not played each other since. The no. 3 Rebels enter the Swamp with a 4–0 record, having won in upset fashion at no. 2 Alabama 43–37. In last week's game, Ole Miss defeated Vanderbilt 27–16, although they entered the game as 261⁄2-point favorites. During a portion of the third quarter, the score was tied at 13.
Ole Miss entered as 7-point favorites against the Gators, but quickly fell behind after Florida put on an offensive attack led by Will Grier's four touchdown passes in the first 30 minutes of play, giving the Gators a 25–0 halftime lead. The Rebels offense was not so much stagnant as the Gators defense was dominant. Ole Miss made their first trip to the red zone early in the second quarter, but the Gators attacked the Rebels defensively, forcing Gary Wunderlich to attempt a 29-yard field goal, which sailed wide right. Ole Miss opened the second half with a drive that lasted 9:35, but Florida's defense forced Ole Miss to settle for a 22-yard field goal, putting Ole Miss on the board. Ole Miss fumbled the ball after 3 plays on their next drive, and Florida converted with a field goal early in the fourth quarter. After a pair of punts, Vernon Hargreaves III returned an interception to the Ole Miss 5-yard line, but Florida once again settled for a field goal following a three-and-out. Ole Miss would fumble the ball only 16 seconds later, however, setting up 1st & goal from the Ole Miss 1-yard line, leading to a one play touchdown drive for the Gators, extending to a 5 touchdown lead. Ole Miss would score on their ensuing drive, before Florida took the final snaps of the game to seal the primetime upset at 38–10.
Florida is 5–0 for the first time since the 2012 season, and holds the sole position at the top of the SEC Eastern Division standings after no. 8 Georgia fell to no. 13 Alabama at home. Mississippi's first loss of the season leaves only two teams with perfect records in the SEC Western Division – no. 14 Texas A&M and no. 9 LSU, who the Gators will play on October 17 in Baton Rouge.
Florida would play at Faurot Field for only the second time as Missouri plays a fourth game against Florida since joining the SEC in 2012. Missouri was sitting on a two-game winning streak against the Gators, defeating a historically underperforming Gator team in 2013, and again in 2014, where Florida fell behind by six touchdowns before entering Treon Harris in the third quarter, who threw for a touchdown and ran for another, allowing the Gators to avoid a primetime shutout at The Swamp.
Missouri's true-freshman quarterback Drew Lock would make his second start in place of suspended senior quarterback Maty Mauk
Following a 7–3 score resulting from the teams' opening drives, Florida scored a second touchdown in the first quarter, pulling to a 14–3 lead. The second quarter saw a pair of missed field goals by both teams; Florida's field goal attempt was set up by a Marcus Maye interception. Both offenses in the second half were rather stagnant, as each offensive series ended with either a punt or turnover on downs, with the exception of a Jalen Tabor interception that was returned for a 40-yard touchdown to extend Florida's lead to 18 points, ultimately resulting in the game's final score of 21–3. Florida's defense held Missouri's offense to 1-for-14 on third downs, with the Tigers' lone third down conversion occurring with 36 seconds remaining in the game.
Florida's defense has yet to give up a touchdown in their road games. Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel remarked of the Gators' defense ""They out-executed us," and "They are a really good defensive football team." He also said "We just made mistakes they didn't make. Obviously, offensively we're still having some problems."
With a 6–0 start, Jim McElwain is the first Gators coach since Galen Hall in 1984 to win his first six games.
Florida would enter Death Valley hoping to avenge the previous two years' losses, with last year's game resulting in another late-night thriller at The Swamp. Florida went into halftime with a 17–14 lead. The two teams played a close second half, until LSU's Colby Delahoussaye made a 50-yard field goal with 3 seconds left in the game, allowing LSU to take a 30–27 victory. Treon Harris would make his second start of the season following Will Grier's tearful announcement of his suspension on Monday due to testing positive for an NCAA-banned supplement. Entering the game, Harris was 5–2 as a starting quarterback, as he was the starter for the last six games of the 2014 season, and entered boasting 1,288 passing yards with a 53.6 percent completion rate, and 401 yards with a 4.7 yard average per carry. The offense would need to adapt to Harris's skill set, as he is less of a dropback passer than Grier, meaning the offense will be more oriented around designed runs, zone reads and moving pockets. McElwain said of the quarterback situation "Now it's Treon's opportunity to take the reins and run with it. He'll do a great job."
After receiving the first half kickoff, Florida gained a first down on their first play from scrimmage before going three-and-out. However, the punt was muffed by LSU's Tre'Davious White, and Florida's Nick Washington recovered at the 13-yard line. Facing 4th-and-1 at the LSU 4-yard line, Florida elected to go for the first down from scrimmage, doing that and more as Treon Harris completed a pass to Jake McGee for a touchdown. On LSU's ensuing drive, Leonard Fournette earned his team a first down on their first play from scrimmage, but was forced to punt three plays later just as the Gators did. The remaining drives that ended in the first quarter resulted in punts. LSU was in possession of the ball to begin the second quarter, and capped off an 11-play, 88-yard drive with a 2-yard run by Fournette to tie the game at 7. After a Florida three-and-out, LSU capped off another long drive with another touchdown, this time from a 9-yard connection from Brandon Harris to Malachi Dupre. Florida again went three-and-out on the following drive, and LSU again scored a touchdown thanks to a 6-yard run by Fournette, set up by a 52-yard flea flicker on the previous play. Florida, however, would manage to score in under a minute to reduce LSU's lead back to a lone touchdown. LSU's ensuing drive, however, once again ended in a touchdown following another big Harris–Dupre connection, and Florida would go into the locker room trailing 14–28. LSU scored a touchdown on each of their second quarter drives. LSU received the second half kickoff, but went three-and-out. Florida's ensuing drive resulted in a touchdown, following a 2-yard run by Kelvin Taylor, which capped off a 10-play, 66-yard drive that took over five minutes. The following three drives ended in punts; LSU's first three drives of the second half would result in three-and-outs. LSU's third punt of the second half was returned 72 yards to the end zone by Antonio Callaway, tying the game at 28 near the end of the third quarter. Beginning the fourth quarter with possession, LSU was driving at midfield. LSU eventually drove to the Florida 16-yard line, and set up for a tiebreaking 33-yard field goal attempt. Placekicker Trent Domingue, however, would score seven points instead of the expected three, as holder Brad Kragthorpe threw a lateral to Domingue, who, after bobbling the ball, ran for 16 yards to score what would become the game's final touchdown. Florida's final two drives would end in turnovers on downs, as LSU held the Gators from scoring again, securing a 35–28 victory.
Jim McElwain said of the fake field goal "They made a helluva play. Give them credit," adding "It's kind of a badge of honor, it took a fake field goal to beat us. That's all right." Many praised the Gators' exceptional play considering the news of Will Grier's suspension that broke less than a week before the game, and that it came down to a fake field goal for one of the better teams in the country to defeat the Gators at one of the nation's most challenging venues.
One of only two neutral-site SEC series (Arkansas–Texas A&M), Florida and Georgia have played a storied series since 1906 (though Georgia contends that they first met in 1904). The game has been held in Jacksonville since 1933, only playing a home-and-home in 1994 and 1995 due to construction of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. Unranked Florida upset no. 9 Georgia 38–20 in last year's game. Florida fell behind early, finishing the first quarter down 0–7, before scoring 31 straight points as Georgia was unable to keep up, managing only 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Gators upset the Bulldogs, winning their first game in the rivalry since an overtime contest in 2010.
Jim McElwain spent the bye week by fixing the mistakes he saw in the loss to LSU, including bad timing on bad passes, missed tackles, and blown coverage assignments.
Florida would receive the first half kickoff, and put on a 10-play, 61-yard drive, and set up for a 45-yard field goal attempt, however Austin Hardin would miss wide right. Both teams' offenses would put on a rather stale performance for the rest of the first quarter—four of the following six possessions ended in three-and-outs; five ended in punts. Georgia committed the first turnover of the game from a Faton Bauta pass intercepted by Marcus Maye. Florida could not capitalize on the turnover, and was forced to punt. Georgia's Reggie Davis, however, who was deep to receive, muffed the punt at the 5-yard line, and the ball rolled into the end zone where it was fallen upon by Nick Washington for a touchdown. The extra point try was blocked, and Florida was forced to kickoff from their own 20-yard line to begin the second quarter due to a personal foul that occurred on the Georgia return. Georgia's ensuing drive ended in a turnover on downs, and Florida gained possession at their own 39-yard line. Florida would punt after four plays, forcing Georgia to start at their own 3-yard line. Georgia managed to drive to their own 35-yard line, before punting back to Florida. The Gators then went 79 yards in five plays to score a touchdown following a 66-yard pass from Treon Harris to Antonio Callaway. Austin Hardin would make the extra point on this try, and Florida took a 13–0 lead just over halfway through the second quarter. Faton Bauta threw his second interception on the third play of the ensuing possessions, which was returned to the 5-yard line. Florida would score a touchdown two plays later. Georgia punted after a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, and Florida ran off the final 1:20 of the first half to go into the locker room with a 20-point lead. Georgia received the second half kickoff, and punted after going three-and-out. Florida, however, would give the ball back to Georgia following a turnover of their own when Davin Bellamy forced Treon Harris to fumble, and recovered. Georgia capitalized on the turnover when Marshall Morgan kicked a 26-yard field goal, cutting Florida's advantage to 17. Florida punted after six plays, and Georgia drove to their own 48-yard line before turning over on downs. Florida would then go on a six-minute drive, but turned over on downs at the Georgia 11-yard line. During the drive, Florida running back Jordan Cronkrite was disqualified for a targeting foul. Georgia responded by driving 86 yards in 9 plays to get to the Florida 3-yard line, but Faton Bauta threw his third interception of the game when Keanu Neal caught a tipped pass in the end zone for a touchback. Florida capitalized on their fourth gained turnover by reaching the end zone in just over three minutes. Georgia's final drive of the game began with 7:10 remaining, and ended after five plays when Faton Bauta threw his fourth interception. Florida was able to run out the remaining time, earning Jim McElwain's first win over bitter rival Georgia 27–3.
Florida was able to all but clinch the outright SEC Eastern Division championship—Vanderbilt was the only team that could possibly win a tiebreaker against Florida. The Gators would need a win the next week to officially secure their berth in Atlanta. By virtue of Jordan Cronkrite's ejection for targeting, he would be suspended for the first half of the following game against Vanderbilt.
Florida and Vanderbilt have split their last two meetings; 2013 saw Vanderbilt defeat Florida at The Swamp for the first time since 1945, and ending the Gators' 22-game winning streak against the Commodores. In last year's matchup, the Gators and Commodores played a tight first quarter as they split two touchdowns, however Florida managed 10 points in the second quarter to take a 17–7 halftime lead. The Gators resumed their scoring routine after a scoreless third quarter, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter, holding Vanderbilt to a mere field goal. Running back Jordan Cronkrite would be ineligible for the first half of the game by virtue of his ejection due to targeting in the previous game against Georgia.
Florida entered the game with one win away from winning the SEC Eastern Division championship outright and securing a berth in the SEC Championship Game.
Florida's Brandon Powell returned the opening kickoff for 71 yards to the Vanderbilt 23-yard line. Jordan Scarlett picked up 20 more yards on the first scrimmage play, setting up 1st-and-goal at the 3-yard line in only 28 seconds. Florida's opening possession, however, would stall when the Gators failed to score after playing from scrimmage on fourth down instead of attempting a field goal. Vanderbilt was only able to reach their own 17-yard line before punting. The Gators put on another good kick return with Antonio Callaway returning the punt for 27 yards to Vanderbilt's 41-yard line. Six plays later, the Gators found the end zone following a 3-yard run by Kelvin Taylor. However, for the second consecutive game, Florida would fail to convert the extra point try, when walk-on Neil MacInnes missed the uprights. Vanderbilt's possession began at their own 25-yard line following a touchback by Austin Hardin. Following a six-play drive that consisted of five running plays, the Commodores punted from Florida's 37-yard line. Florida continued their possession into the second quarter, and drove to the Vanderbilt 26-yard line before facing fourth down. The Gators lined up to attempt a field goal, however holder Johnny Townsend passed the ball up the middle of the field where Cece Jefferson completed it past the line to gain, but Vanderbilt's Caleb Azubike would force a fumble which Vanderbilt would recover at their own 19-yard line. Vanderbilt failed to capitalize on the turnover, as they punted after going three-and-out. Antonio Callaway returned the punt once again into Commodore territory at the 45-yard line. Facing 3rd-and-13, Treon Harris would rush over the left end past the line to gain to the 18-yard line, but Vanderbilt was able to force another fumble, which was recovered by Zach Cunningham, resulting in Florida's second consecutive drive ending in a turnover. Vanderbilt, however, once again would fail to capitalize on the turnover, and punted back to Florida after gaining five yards in 6 plays. The next two possessions resulted in punts following three-and-outs. Florida gained possession after Vanderbilt's three-and-out at their own 36-yard line with 3:26 remaining in the second quarter. They would drive into Vanderbilt territory before they committed their third turnover of the second quarter when Treon Harris threw a pass which was intercepted Ryan White at the 26-yard line. With 59 seconds remaining, Vanderbilt had Ralph Webb run a draw play, which went 74 yards for a touchdown. Hayden Lekacz converted the extra point try to take a one-point lead over the no. 11 Gators. Florida took over possession at their own 25-yard line with 48 seconds remaining, but failed to reach midfield and punted to Ryan White at the 6-yard line, and the Commodores kneeled to run off the final seconds of the first half to go into the locker room leading 7–6. Vanderbilt received the second half kickoff, but went three-and-out and punted. Every possession of the third quarter ended with a punt. Vanderbilt punted to Florida with 14:39 in the fourth quarter, and the Gators began their drive from their own 31-yard line. Florida would go 57 yards in seven plays, but committed their fourth turnover at the Vanderbilt 12-yard line when Jay Woods forced Demarcus Robinson to fumble. Vanderbilt's drive would take 5:29 off the clock before they punted from their own 33-yard line. Johnny Openshaw's punt would only go 12 yards before going out of bounds, and Florida took over from the Vanderbilt 45-yard line with 5:37 remaining. Florida drove to the 25-yard line in 3:10 before facing 4th-and-1. Austin Hardin would attempt 43-yard field goal, which went through the uprights to give the Gators their first lead since late in the first half. Vanderbilt returned the ensuing kickoff to their own 13-yard line, and soon faced 4th-and-10. Johnny McCrary's pass was incomplete, but Florida committed a holding foul, which gave Vanderbilt an automatic first down. On 2nd-and-10 from the 24-yard line, Johnny McCrary was sacked by Jordan Sherit, but Sherit was controversially flagged for targeting, which gave Vanderbilt another automatic first down and required that Sherit be disqualified. Following a pair of incompletions, a sack, and a false start penalty, Vanderbilt faced 4th-and-25. Johnny McCrary made only his third completion of the game to Sam Dobbs for only 21 yards, allowing Florida to take over on downs to run off the final seconds of the game and escape with a 9–7 victory.
By virtue of Jordan Sherit's second half ejection for targeting, he would be ineligible for the first half of the next game at South Carolina With the victory, Florida was able to secure a berth in the SEC Championship Game for the first time since 2009, and Jim McElwain became the first Florida coach to win the Eastern Division in his first year.
Florida had dropped four out of the last five games against South Carolina, with their last victory in 2012. Last year's game went to overtime as both teams were playing their last SEC game of the season. At the time, Florida still had a slim chance at staying in the hunt for the SEC Eastern Division title. The Gamecocks took a 10–0 lead in the first quarter, but the Gators scored 10 points of their own in the second quarter, and went into halftime tied. The Gators then scored a touchdown in the third quarter, only to have the Gamecocks match that in the fourth quarter. The Gators settled for a field goal in overtime, but the Gamecocks were able to pull away as Dylan Thompson ran for the 4-yard touchdown, defeating the Gators 23–20. Linebacker/Defensive lineman Jordan Sherit will be ineligible for the first half by virtue of his second half ejection for targeting in the previous game against Vanderbilt.
Florida would receive the first half kickoff and punt from their own 39-yard line after five plays. South Carolina was able to drive 27 yards to the Florida 45-yard line before punting 32 yards to the Florida 13-yard line. The Gators put on a 15-play, 87-yard drive that culminated with a 3-yard touchdown run by Jordan Cronkrite. After a three-and-out forced another South Carolina punt, Florida took over at their own 24-yard line. The Gators would put on another grueling drive—12 plays for 76 yards—again ending with a Jordan Cronkrite score, this time through the air from Treon Harris for 41 yards. South Carolina would once again punt, forcing the Gators to take over from their own 15-yard line. This time, the Gators went three-and-out and punted. However, Jalen Tabor would intercept a Perry Orth pass 2 plays later, setting up the Gators inside the red zone at the 18-yard line. The Gators would drive to the 5-yard line before T.J. Gurley intercepted Treon Harris pass in the end zone, returning it to the 3-yard line. South Carolina would pick up with 1:01 remaining in the second quarter, and the clock would expire after two plays. South Carolina would go three-and-out after receiving the second half kickoff. After the punt, the Gators took over at their own 33-yard line. South Carolina would get the ball back three plays later following Treon Harris's second interception of the game, this time caught by Gerald Dixon. However, South Carolina could not capitalize, and went three-and-out again. Florida would go on its third double-digit play drive of the game, with Austin Hardin kicking a 39-yard field goal to cap off a 12-play, 70-yard drive. Florida would again gain possession following a South Carolina three-and-out, and would go on their fourth double-digit play drive of the game, but turned the ball over on downs at the Gamecocks' 36-yard line. The Gamecocks would finally be able to capitalize on a stalled Gator drive by 64 yards in 8 plays to score a touchdown with 8:59 remaining in the game. Florida's ensuing possession ended in a three-and-out, and South Carolina was able to continue their momentum, scoring their second straight touchdown with 4:49 remaining. Now holding a slim three-point lead, Florida took over at their own 25-yard line following a touchback. The Gators would need only six plays this time to score their third touchdown of the game from a 1-yard run by Kelvin Taylor, following up his 53-yard run on the previous play, and the Gators took a 10-point lead with 2:01 remaining. On the Gamecocks' ensuing drive, they would get to the Florida 48-yard line, but defensive back Quincy Wilson would intercept a Perry Orth pass, and the Gators were able run out almost all of the remaining time, but punted back to South Carolina, who took over with three seconds remaining, and ran one play before time expired.
With the win, the Gators snapped a two-year losing streak to the Gamecocks, and finished with a perfect record against SEC Eastern Division opponents. It was also the first Florida–South Carolina game with both teams having first-year coaches since 2005, when Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier were coaching the Gators and Gamecocks, respectively.
This was the third game between the Owls and the Gators. The Gators opened their 2011 season against the Owls, and took a commanding 24-point lead before yielding a field goal late in the second quarter, and went to halftime leading 24–3. The Gators continued their impressive performance in the second half, holding the Owls to no further points, eventually winning 41–3.
The first three drives for both teams ended in punts before Florida's Antonio Callaway was able to execute a 52-yard punt return to the Owls' 18-yard line in the second quarter. Florida would leave the end zone empty handed, however, as Austin Hardin hit the left upright on a 33-yard field goal attempt. On the ensuing Florida Atlantic possession, the Owls drove 51 yards in ten plays to reach the Gators' 29-yard line before junior kicker Greg Joseph went wide right on a 45-yard field goal attempt. The two teams would punt to end their remaining drives and the first half concluded as a scoreless tie. The first half saw both teams miss a field goal, exchange nine punts, and go a combined 1-for-13 on third down conversions, the Owls with the lone third down conversion through the first half. Additionally, Florida Atlantic's offense outperformed the Gators in total yardage by more than twice, garnering 150 yards of offense to Florida's 69.
Offensive struggles persisted for both teams during the first portion of the second half as the teams' initial second half drives ended in punts. The second Florida Atlantic possession was halted by a forced fumble by Antonio Morrison which was recovered by defensive lineman Tavin Bryan at midfield and returned to Florida's 2-yard line. Kelvin Taylor punched in the ball in two plays to break the tie with a 7–0 lead. After a Florida Atlantic punt, the Gators scored again with a 53-yard Treon Harris–Antonio Callaway connection with 5:34 to go in the third quarter. Florida Atlantic responded on the ensuing drive by scoring on 9 plays to relegate the Florida lead back to 7 points. Florida's next possession ended with a deep pass from Treon Harris being intercepted in the end zone by Florida Atlantic's Sharrod Neasman for a touchback, and the Owls took over on their own 20-yard line. The Gators would reclaim possession three plays later when Jalen Tabor intercepted FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson at the Owls' 21-yard line. The Gators would not score however, as Hardin again missed a field goal, this time from 34 yards out. With new life and still down by 7, the Owls picked up a first down but had to punt after 5 plays. The Gators picked up at their own 10-yard line. Jordan Scarlett was able to pick up 6 yards before Harris fumbled after being hit by Trey Hendrickson. Ocie Rose jumped onto the ball in the end zone and after the successful FAU try, the Owls had managed to tie the game at 14. With 8:03 remaining in the game, Florida took over, only to go three-and-out. Three plays into the ensuing Owls drive, however, Nick Washington forced a fumble that was recovered by Marcus Maye giving the Gators their third takeaway of the game. Florida's offense once again stalled, however, and all of the drives that followed in the fourth quarter ended in punts before the Owls ran out the clock deep in their own territory to send the game into overtime. Florida had the first possession of the overtime period and scored in three plays on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Treon Harris to Jake McGee, but led only by 6 after Austin Hardin's extra point attempt was blocked. Florida Atlantic would reach the 9-yard line before the Gators defense stuffed a quarterback run for a loss of three yards followed by forcing three consecutive incompletions to preserve a final 20–14 overtime lead.
The win gave Jim McElwain his tenth win with the Florida Gators, the most wins of any first year Florida coach.
Like the series against South Carolina, Florida has dropped four out of the last five games against rival Florida State, with their last victory in 2012. Last year saw a tight game against the no. 1 Seminoles, as the Gators opened with three consecutive field goals before yielding a touchdown in the first quarter. The second quarter saw the Seminoles score two additional touchdowns before the Gators answered with one of their own, and sent the top-ranked Seminoles into halftime with a mere five-point lead. The Gators pulled to within a safety of the Seminoles with a field goal in the third quarter, but could not manage to score in the rest of the game, as the Seminoles scored a field goal in the fourth quarter, earning the final score of 24–19.
Since defeating Alabama in the 2008 SEC Championship Game, Florida has lost the last four games against Alabama. Florida trails 14–25 in the all-time series, but has a 4–3 record when playing the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game.
Florida Gators football
The Florida Gators football program represents the University of Florida in American college football. Florida competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and they play their home games in Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the universitys Gainesville campus. The Gators have won three championships and eight SEC titles in the 108-season history of Floridas varsity football program. The Florida football program has evolved from its beginnings and achieved notable successes. Florida has had a home field since the beginning of their football program. Since 1930, their home field has been Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the stadium was known as Florida Field until 1989 when its name was extended to honor alumnus and sports benefactor Ben Hill Griffin. During the 1990s, football coach Steve Spurrier called the stadium the Swamp, the quickly became popular. Since 1906 Florida has had twenty-five head coaches, including three who were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for their coaching success and their first head coach was Pee Wee Forsythe in 1906, the 2015 season was the first for their twenty-fifth head coach, Jim McElwain. During the programs early years, Florida was a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, in 1932 the University of Florida was a founding member of the Southeastern Conference, and it is currently one of fourteen member institutions. The Gators have competed in the SEC Eastern Division since the league began play in 1992. Florida plays an eight-game SEC schedule, with six games against the other Eastern Division teams, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, the schedule is filled out with an annual game against Louisiana State and a rotating SEC Western Division team. Until 2003, the Gators also played Auburn every season, Florida has also played in-state rival Florida State every year since 1958, usually facing off in the last game of the regular season. The two teams emergence as perennial football powers during the 1980s and 1990s helped build the Florida–Florida State rivalry into a game often has national-title implications. The remaining dates on Floridas regular schedule are filled by non-conference opponents which vary from year to year, previously known as the worlds largest outdoor cocktail party, it is most commonly called the Florida–Georgia game by Gator fans. The game is held at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, the designated home team alternates, with ticket distribution split evenly between the schools. In the rivalrys early years, games rotated among locations in Savannah, Georgia, Tampa, Florida, Jacksonville and, occasionally, Gainesville, since 1933 the game has been played in Jacksonville, except for 1994 and 1995. Georgia had early success in the rivalry, winning the first six games, after the 2014 game Florida had won 21 out of the most-recent 27 games, and holds a 38–28–1 advantage in the series since 1950. The Bulldogs lead the overall, 49–43–2
2015 SEC Championship Game
The 2015 SEC Championship Game was played on Saturday, December 5,2015 in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, and determined the 2015 football champion of the Southeastern Conference. The game was played between the East Division champion Florida Gators and West Division champion Alabama Crimson Tide, Alabama was the designated home team. CBS televised the game for the fifteenth consecutive year, the winner of the SEC Championship Game had gone on to compete for a national championship each of the last nine years. The SEC went 7–2 in the final eight BCS Championship games and this is the eighth time Florida and Alabama have faced each other in the championship game, but the first since 2009, which was the last time Florida competed in the SEC Championship Game. The Gators got off to an unexpected 6–0 start after entering their first four games unranked in the AP Poll, the Gators next victory came over the no.3 Ole Miss Rebels 38–10. Treon Harris started in his place, and the Gators narrowly lost, the Gators rebounded after a bye week with a 27–3 victory over rival Georgia. The following game against Vanderbilt saw low offensive production, as the Gators won 9–7, the offense would struggle for the rest of the season, needing overtime to overcome the Florida Atlantic Owls and not scoring at all against rival Florida State in a 2–27 loss. The Crimson Tide would get off to a 2–0 start before losing to no.15 Ole Miss for the second straight year 37–43, the Tide were able to clinch the Western Division title with their 29–13 victory over rival Auburn
2015 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
The 2015 Alabama Crimson Tide football team represented the University of Alabama in the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. It marked the Crimson Tides 121st overall season, 82nd as a member of the Southeastern Conference, the team played its home games at Bryant–Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. They were led by head coach Nick Saban. Alabama also secured its 10th Associated Press national title, the 2014 Alabama Crimson Tide finished the regular season 11–1, 7–1 SEC, with their only loss to Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide won the Western Division of SEC and qualified to play in the 2014 SEC Championship Game against the Missouri Tigers, Alabama defeated the Tigers, 42–13 in Atlanta, Georgia, clinching the programs 24th SEC title. The team was ranked no.1 in all including the new College Football Playoff Rankings entering bowl season. As the no.1 seed in the inaugural College Football Playoff, Alabama fell short against the Buckeyes in a 35–42 upset loss, finishing the 2014 season 12–2. Notable departures from the 2014 squad included juniors Amari Cooper, T. J. Yeldon, and Landon Collins, on National Signing Day, Alabama signed 18 additional players out of high school that completed the 2015 recruiting class. The class was highlighted by 19 players from the ESPN300, Alabama signed the No.1 recruiting class according to ESPN. com and 247Sports. com, and No.2 according to Rivals. com and Scout. com behind USC. Alabama had seven returning players on offense, five on defense, Alabama started spring practice on March 16 and concluded 15 practices later on April 18 with the annual A-Day game. Alabama head coach Nick Saban entered his ninth year as the Crimson Tides head coach for the 2015 season. During his previous eight years with Alabama, he led the Crimson Tide to a record of 86 wins and 17 losses. The 2015 schedule was released on October 14,2014, Alabama faced all six Western Division opponents, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M. They faced two Eastern Division opponents, official SEC rival Tennessee and Georgia, Alabama was not scheduled to play SEC opponents Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina or Vanderbilt – although ultimately faced Florida in the SEC Championship Game. Henry opened up the scoring, breaking off a 37-yard run in the first quarter to put Alabama ahead 7-0. He put up two scores in the third quarter, including a 56-yard touchdown rush that put him over 100 yards for the night. Senior quarterback Jake Coker, making his debut as the Crimson Tides starting quarterback, was an efficient 15-of-21 for 213 yards, sophomore Cooper Bateman also saw action in the second half, finishing 7-for-8 with 51 yards. Defensively, Alabama was dominant at the line of scrimmage, holding the Badgers to just 40 yards rushing on 21 attempts, senior linebacker Reggie Ragland recorded 12 total tackles, including five solo
2015 Michigan Wolverines football team
The Wolverines competed in the East Division of the Big Ten Conference, and played their home games at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan was led by head coach Jim Harbaugh, who was in his first season. Michigan finished the season with a 10-3 record, 6-2 in Big Ten play, to finish in place in the East Division, and was invited to the Citrus Bowl. The team was the first Michigan team to go undefeated on the road in conference play since the national champion 1997 Michigan Wolverines football team, in 2014, Michigan compiled a 5–7 record and was not bowl eligible for the first time since 2009. As a result of the poor record, head coach Brady Hoke was fired on December 2. His job status had been in jeopardy since September 28,2014 when QB Shane Morris was reinserted after a concussion, Harbaugh hired D. J. Durkin for the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach positions and Tim Drevno for the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach positions. Michigan also retained Greg Mattison from Hokes staff as the line coach. Michigans recruiting class consisted of a total of 14 recruits, Radio coverage for all games was broadcast statewide on The Michigan IMG Sports Network and on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. The radio announcers were Jim Brandstatter with play-by-play, Dan Dierdorf with color commentary, to open the season, Michigan faced the Utah Utes. Utah dominated the meeting, winning 26–10 in a game that featured an almost two-and-a-half hour weather delay. After a starting quarterback was not named during the teams preseason, Utah opened the scoring in the first quarter via a 30-yard field goal from Andy Phillips. Michigan responded in the quarter with a 29-yard field goal from Kenny Allen. Utah extended its lead in the quarter to 14 points via a 14-yard touchdown run from Travis Wilson. Utah recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock to complete its victory. Jake Rudock completed 27 of his 43 pass attempts for 279 yards, DeVeon Smith ran 17 times for 47 yards, while Jake Butt recorded eight receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. Joe Bolden recorded his 200th career tackle during the game, the announced attendance of 47,825 was the largest crowd in the history of Rice-Eccles Stadium. Following its game against Utah, Michigan hosted Oregon State for its home opener and this was the first meeting between the two schools since 1986, when Michigan defeated Oregon State 31–12 as Jim Harbaugh accounted for three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing. After falling behind early in the first quarter, Michigan rallied to defeat Oregon State 35–7, Oregon State opened the scoring on its first drive of the game, moving the ball 79 yards in seven plays and scoring on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Seth Collins to Hunter Jarmon
The Southeastern Conference is an American college athletic conference whose member institutions are located primarily in the Southern part of the United States. Its fourteen members include the public universities of ten states. The conference is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, the SEC participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I in sports competitions, for football, it is part of the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A. The SEC was also the first NCAA Division I conference to hold a game for college football and was one of the founding members of the Bowl Championship Series. The current SEC commissioner is Greg Sankey, the conference sponsors team championships in nine mens sports and twelve womens sports. The SEC consists of 14 member institutions located within the borders of 11 contiguous states and these divisional groupings are applied exclusively to football and baseball as well as their scheduling and standings. The other charter members were, The University of the South left the SEC on December 13,1940 and it is currently a member of the Division III Southern Athletic Association. Georgia Institute of Technology left the SEC in 1964, in 1975, it became a founding member of the Metro Conference, one of the predecessors to todays Conference USA. Georgia Tech competed in the Metro Conference in all sports except football, in 1978, Georgia Tech joined another Southern Conference offshoot, the Atlantic Coast Conference, for all sports, where it has remained ever since. Tulane University left the SEC in 1966, along with Georgia Tech, it was a charter member of the Metro Conference. Unlike Tech, however, Tulane remained in the Metro Conference until it merged with the Great Midwest Conference in 1995 to form Conference USA, Tulane remained an independent in football until C-USA began football competition in 1996. Tulane left C-USA in 2014 for the American Athletic Conference, in 1990, the SEC expanded from ten to twelve member universities with the addition of the Arkansas Razorbacks and the South Carolina Gamecocks. The two new members began SEC competition with the 1991–1992 basketball season, at the same time, the SEC organized competition for some sports into two divisions. Initially, the format was used in football, baseball. The divisional format was dropped for mens basketball following the 2011–2012 season, the 1992 and 1993 championship games were held at Legion Field in Birmingham, and all championship games from 1994 onward have been held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. On November 6,2011 the SEC commissioner announced that the University of Missouri would also join the SEC on July 1,2012, for football, Texas A&M was scheduled to compete in the Western Division, and Missouri in the Eastern Division. Texas A&M and Missouri both left the Big 12 Conference, the office of Commissioner was created in 1940. Under the leadership of Michael F, the SECU rebranded its mission to better serve as a means through which the collaborative academic endeavors and achievements of Southeastern Conference universities would be promoted and advanced
Douglas Keith Doug Nussmeier is an American football coach and former player. He is the coordinator at Florida under head coach Jim McElwain. Born in Portland, Oregon, Nussmeier is a 1989 graduate of Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego and he did not start at quarterback for the Pacers football team until his senior season. Though he followed Pac-10 quarterbacks Erik Wilhelm and Jason Palumbis at Lakeridge and he played college football at Idaho under John L. Smith, and won the 1993 Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the Division I-AA player of the year. That year, Nussmeier threw a school-record 33 touchdown passes, leading the Vandals to an 11-3 record, during his final two seasons at Idaho, the offensive coordinator was Scott Linehan, later an NFL offensive coordinator and head coach. Linehan was the Vandals starting quarterback for three seasons, a four-year starter at quarterback, Nussmeier succeeded John Friesz, another Walter Payton Award winner in 1989, Nussmeiers redshirt season. As a fifth-year senior in 1993, Nussmeier had a QB rating of 172.2 - completing 185-of-304 throws for 2,960 yards, Nussmeier still ranks among the NCAA I-AA all-time leaders in passing and total offense. Nussmeier set Vandal career records for passing yards, TD passes, passing efficiency, completion percentage, Nussmeier earned his bachelors degree in business from the University of Idaho in 1994. Nussmeier was selected by the Saints in the round of the 1994 NFL Draft. He was the fourth quarterback selected, behind first round selections Heath Shuler, Nussmeier was a reserve quarterback in the NFL for five seasons in the mid-1990s, spending four years with the New Orleans Saints and one with the Indianapolis Colts. During that time, he played in only eight regular-season NFL games, in 1998, Nussmeier spent part of training camp with the Denver Broncos, but was released prior to the regular season and picked up by the Colts. He is one of only 32 left-handed quarterbacks to play in the NFL, Nussmeier finished his playing career with the BC Lions of the CFL in 2000, and stayed with the organization as the quarterbacks coach for 2001. 8 Games 82 Attempts 46 Completions 56 and he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Fresno State for a season in 2008, then was hired in the same capacity at Washington in Seattle in early 2009. His annual salary at UW was just under $300,000, on January 18,2012, Nussmeier was announced as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide, replacing outgoing coordinator Jim McElwain. Under his guidance, junior quarterback A. J. McCarron set the record for touchdowns in a season with 26. On January 9,2014, Nussmeier was hired by the University of Michigan, on December 23,2014, Nussmeier was hired by the University of Florida. Michigan profile Alabama profile Fresno State profile Idaho Vandals Hall of Fame profile Career statistics and player information from NFL. com • Pro-Football-Reference • Databasefootball. com
Randy Leonard Shannon is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the coordinator at the University of Florida. As a player, Shannon was a linebacker for the Miami Hurricanes from 1985-1988, Shannon was born in Miami, Florida, and grew up in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. When he was 3 years old, his father was murdered and his older twin brothers, who became addicted to crack cocaine when Shannon was 10, both died of AIDS, as did his older sister. Shannon attended Miami Norland High School, where he earned all-state honors playing football at the position of linebacker in his senior year and he also excelled at basketball, averaging 19 points a game, and was a member of the track and field team. Shannon received a scholarship to attend the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. He was the starting linebacker for the Hurricanes 1987 national championship team. Shannon graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in 1988. The Dallas Cowboys drafted Shannon in the round in the 1989 NFL Draft. The Cowboys were coached by his former Miami Hurricanes coach, Jimmy Johnson, Shannon played in 17 NFL regular season games for the Cowboys during the 1989 and 1990 seasons, starting four of them. Miami Hurricanes head coach Dennis Erickson hired Shannon in 1991 to be a graduate assistant and he later became the teams defensive line coach and linebackers coach. Shannon worked as an assistant for the NFLs Miami Dolphins in 1998 and 1999. In 2001, Miami Hurricanes head coach Larry Coker hired Shannon to be the Canes defensive coordinator and that year Miami won the BCS National Championship, and Shannon received the Broyles Award recognizing him as the best assistant coach in college football. The Hurricanes 2001 national championship team is considered to be one of the greatest college football teams of all time. Shannon reportedly agreed to a deal worth over $4 million. He was the sixth African-American head coach at the time in Division I-A NCAA football, Coker stayed on to coach the team to a 21–20 MPC Computers Bowl victory over the University of Nevada, Shannon assumed all other functions, including recruiting, immediately upon his hiring. Shannons first decision as head coach was to remove the players surnames from their jerseys, some fans complained the decision made the game more difficult to follow. The season opened with a victory over Marshall in his first game as head coach, the second game was a 51–13 loss to No.6 University of Oklahoma