Florida extends 33-year NCAA record scoring streak in embarrassing Las Vegas Bowl loss to Oregon State

By OnlyGators.com Staff
December 17, 2022
Florida extends 33-year NCAA record scoring streak in embarrassing Las Vegas Bowl loss to Oregon State

Image Credit: UAA

The Florida Gators have faced plenty of adversity changing coaches like clothes while struggling to keep up with many of the other powerhouse programs in the sport since the departure of Urban Meyer. On Saturday in the 2022 Las Vegas Bowl against the No. 14 Oregon State Beavers, the lone flame that endured for Florida was nearly extinguished.

The Gators fell 30-3 in Las Vegas, coming 37 seconds shy of ending their NCAA-record streak of consecutive games scoring. Instead, with a 40-yard field goal by redshirt freshman kicker Adam Mihalek in the final minute, that streak continued to 436 games, 57 games longer than any other team has achieved in college football history.

The streak spans 33 years dating back to Oct. 29, 1988 (16-0 vs. Auburn).

Unfortunately, that was the lone bright spot for Florida on the afternoon as Saturday marked the worst loss in any game by margin since the 2020 Cotton Bowl (55-20 vs. Oklahoma).

The Gators had three prior opportunities to score in the game. Mihalek missed a 52-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter. Faced with a potential kick from the same spot shortly thereafter, Napier chose to go on fourth-and-8, an attempt that failed. Florida also found itself at the Oregon State 20-yard line earlier in the fourth quarter; however, three false starts complicated the drive and Napier chose to go on fourth-and-2 (resulting in a 4-yard loss) rather than kick the easy field goal.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Miller III, making his first career start and seeing his first playing time at all for the Gators, engineered the lone scoring drive. UF took over from its own 13-yard line with 5:51 left and drove all the way to the OSU 5 thanks to a 15-yard pass to freshman Caleb Douglas and a 38-yard hook-up with sophomore Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman. Napier was likely seeking a touchdown at that point; however, the ensuing series saw no gain on first down, an 8-yard loss on second down and a 9-yard loss on third down, tying Napier’s hands and forcing him to kick the sad field goal.

Florida had its reasons for Saturday’s poor performance. Namely, it was down nearly two dozen players who had saw action on the season, including its offensive and defensive leaders (quarterback Anthony Richardson, linebacker Ventrell Miller) along with its best player (offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence) and primary backup signal caller.

Still, none of that is an excuse for how the Gators played. They continued a trend by committing numerous unconscionable penalties in key situations, giving the Beavers new life and additional scoring opportunities. Florida committed 11 for 82 yards lost in the game. The offensive playcalling was suspect at best, and the defensive playcalling was frequently soft.

Perhaps worst of all was special teams, which continued to be a detriment with the missed 52-yard field goal, a fake punt conversion allowed and blocked punt given up. (Redshirt freshman cornerback Jordan Young did block a field goal, though, UF’s first in 46 games since 2019.)

None of that is to say Florida had it easy in this game or during the season as a whole. Oregon State was an extremely talented team at nearly full strength that entered aiming to complete its third 10-win season in program history. The Beavs were also the seventh opponent the Gators faced this year that was ranked at the time of kickoff and fifth listed in the final College Football Playoff Rankings.

Saturday marked the furthest West that Florida played a football game in 33 years and its first ever game in the state of Nevada. The Gators also played two Pac-12 opponents in the same season for the first time in program history.

Florida’s eyes since the final whistle against Florida State have been firmly focused on recruiting and the transfer portal. That’s not to suggest Napier & Co. did not prepare the Gators for this game, but everyone knew entering this contest that it would be a tall task for them to pull out a victory.

UF has now finished 6-7 in consecutive seasons. It has three losing campaigns in its last six and four that ended below .500 in the last 10 years.

Napier this season became the first Gators coach to lose all of the program’s traditional rivals in the same year (Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Florida State). While those defeats hurt fans but were perhaps understandable, Florida also lost to Kentucky and Vanderbilt — both in frustrating fashion — and dropped its final three games of the season to end on a particularly sour note.

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