A rain of booing descended on former head coach Dan Mullen as he and his new team took the field. By the end of the game, Mullen left Davis Wade with a smile on his face as the University of Florida (4-1) beat Mississippi State University (3-2) 13-6.
Head coach Joe Moorhead thanked the 61,000 fans at the game for creating a loud and energetic atmosphere.
"I want to thank everyone for coming out, it was a great atmosphere," Moorhead said. "Definitely disappointed in the loss. I thought for the second week in a row we couldn’t get anything going offensively."
The first points in the game came from Jace Christman, who put the Bulldogs on the board with a 34-yard attempt to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.
Florida then answered with a 39-yard field goal made by Evan McPherson, making it 3-3 before Christmann would kick a 39-yard field goal to give MSU 6-3 lead going to half time. Those were the last points MSU scored during the game.
At the press conference following the game, Moorhead said his play calling needs to improve along with play execution.
"I got to put a plan together offensively that is going to put us in a position to be successful," Moorhead said. "I got to call good plays, and when we call good plays, we got to execute them. We got to find a way to start scoring some more points on offense."
Florida came out firing after halftime with a trick play in which wide receiver Kadarius Toney threw a pass to another wide receiver, Moral Stephens, for a touchdown. Florida had a 10-6 lead going into the 4th quarter, where they added on to it with a 21-yard field goal made by McPherson, finishing the game at 13-6.
Jeffery Simmons, a junior defensive lineman from Macon, said MSU should have known the trick plays were coming.
"We got to expect the unexpected, all I could think about was the trick play against Georgia last year," Simmons said. "We have bad eyes, and we couldn’t see that. I kind of figured they would do a trick play."
Possibly the biggest missed opportunity was in the third quarter in a dropped pass on a post-route that prevented MSU from scoring a touchdown.
"You capitalize on that thing, you catch it and run it into the end zone," Moorhead said. "I think that is a shift on the scoreboard and a shift in momentum. That didn’t make or break the game, but it definitely didn’t help us."
The game ended with a sack on Nick Fitzgerald, and the Florida Gators kneeling out the clock in the victory formation. After the clock ran out several MSU players were seen at midfield talking to Mullen after the game.
However none of the players who were available for interview after the game mentioned Mullen with the exception of Nick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was asked if he got a chance to say anything to Mullen, he shook his head and said, ‘Nope.’
Through out the week the players said the game was not about Mullen, but there did seem like a weight of disappointment on Simmons’ shoulders as he said the team wanted to win it so badly for the fans who of course did make it about Mullen.
"I know they wanted this game," Simmons said. "I can control, and the team can control what we can control. As bad as it hurts for these fans and this organization, you just got to control what you can control."
MSU fell to 3-2 with a 0-2 conference record, while Florida improved to 4-1 with a 2-1 conference record. MSU will play Auburn at home next Saturday, and game time will be announced later this week.