Posted: 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013
By Jason Lieser
In a game full of bad judgment and mistakes by Florida, the personal foul by LB Neiron Ball was not the reason the Gators lost.
However, it did hurt UF’s chances of pulling off a stunning comeback. Georgia held off the Gators to win 23-20 at EverBank Field today.
Florida was down 20-0 early in the second quarter before rallying to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 23-20 at the start of the fourth. The Gators had a chance to win after stopping Georgia RB Todd Gurley on fourth-and-one at the Bulldogs’ 39-yard line with 11:20 left, but that opportunity was hindered when Ball was flagged for taking his helmet off after making the tackle.
The 15-yard penalty knocked Florida back to its own 46 to start the drive and it ended up punting with 8:17 remaining.
It was difficult to tell on replay whether Ball got his helmet knocked off by another player or pulled it off as a celebration. He said afterward the helmet was pushed into an uncomfortable position on his nose and he removed it to relieve the pain.
“I believe it was by one of my teammates,” he said. “I was under the pile, and my helmet slid up.”
Florida coach Will Muschamp was furious about the call and could be heard yelling at the official that Ball’s helmet was knocked off by another player.
“It’s all a judgment call,” Muschamp said after the game. “What they call, they call.”
Ball’s penalty was one of many for the Gators. They were flagged seven times for 70 yards, and that figure does not count three personal fouls and an offsides that were either declined or wiped out due to an offsetting penalty.