Defense Comes Through Again staff
Posted Oct 25, 2009

The Florida Gators escaped another close game where turnovers and lack of production in the red zone almost cost them the game. Again, it was the defense that came up with the stops to keep the offense’s mistakes from causing them to lose to Mississippi State. It didn’t matter that four starters including Brandon Spikes could not play Saturday, the defense still led the Gators to a 29-19 victory.

Even though the 19 points is three points more than what the Gators defense defines as a good defensive game, it was not responsible for 13 of those points.

The Bulldogs’ two touchdowns were scored by safety Johnthan Banks on interceptions he returned for touchdowns.

“Guys are emotional especially if you are giving up interceptions for touchdowns. If I would have turned on my TV, it would have looked like the defense wasn’t playing well, but we played pretty good,” Ryan Stamper said

The offense has struggled mightily the last two games and turned the ball over in costly situations, putting more pressure on the defense to keep the opponents out of the end zone.

The defense made stop after stop against the Bulldogs. The Gators held MSU to 237 total yards and had three interceptions, one of which for a touchdown.

If there is hostility towards the offense, the defense won’t let anyone know.

“If there was, I wouldn’t tell y’all,” Stamper said.

Stamper, who finished with 12 tackles sliding over to middle linebacker to replace Brandon Spikes, is not surprised the offense has been taking heat for its problems especially with the big numbers it has put up in the last few years.

He’s not worried about how the offense performs as long as it doesn’t affect the team’s record.

“A lot of people are used to the offense we had last year and previous years putting up all kinds of points and things like that, but if that don’t happen and we still get the victory, then a win is a win.”

Although the offense isn’t as explosive as it was last year, Stamper has a more positive outlook on the season.

“It’s been ugly. Definitely not like last year,” Stamper said. “Last year around this time we weren’t 7-0, we had a lost, I’d take that any day.”

The best part of the team having issues and still winning is it can improve.

Stamper fully expects the Gators to look better on both sides of the ball before the end of the season.

“I feel like we haven’t played our best football. I really think we have yet to play our best football.”

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