Florida Gators Can't Pull Off Upset, Fall 31-29 to Alabama Crimson Tide

The No. 11 Florida Gators held their own in a highly competitive contest against the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide.
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Two points. That's what the game would ultimately come down to for the No. 11 Florida Gators as they fall 31-29 to the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.

There's no question that Florida showed today that it belonged among the elite, even with a loss. The Gators showed off plenty of heart, toughness and athleticism throughout the contest, never giving up and even climbing back out of an early 21-3 hole.

RELATED: Gators Trail 21-9 Against Top-Ranked Alabama Crimson Tide at Halftime

Still, the Gators were ultimately unable to pull off the upset but showed plenty of fight during the contest, never looking like the game was completely out of hand beyond the first quarter of the contest. Florida would start the first quarter falling behind 21-3 quickly before netting a touchdown during the latter portion of the first half.

In need of some life, the Gators orchestrated perhaps its two best drives of the season during the third quarter of action. The first drive taking 4:40 off of the clock, with the tema driving 75 yards down for the score. The second drive would consist of 99 yards on 11 plays, taking 4:04 off of the clock.

The Gators, for the first time all season perhaps, showed an identity, running the football at will throughout the third quarter of action, and seemingly effortlessly running through the Alabama defense.

The score would be 28-23 heading into the fourth quarter of action, with The Swamp as loud as ever, certainly the loudest the stadium had been in years since the team's 2019 victory over the Auburn Tigers.

With an announced attendance of 90,887 during today's game - good for the fifth-highest recorded all time, the Gators used the crowd to its advantage all day. It was the largest crowd recorded since the team faced off against FSU in 2015.

A second-half rally gave life to a place that appeared deflated on multiple occasions throughout the day.

The Gators defense was an issue during the early portion of the contest, however, they would come on throughout the remainder of the game, holding Alabama to three consecutive punts until the end of the first half, and allowing just a touchdown and a field goal with just 9:25 remaining in the game.

With redshirt freshman QB Anthony Richardson held out of the contest, Gators quarterback Emory Jones would play the entirety of the contest, his passing did help Florida sustain some drives.

Jones would finish the game completing 18 out of 25 of his passes for 195 yards and an interception. It wasn't always pretty, but he was able to manage the game as head coach Dan Mullen has often asked of him.

Florida's offense would primarily come from its run game, with three players, including Jones, netting 50 or more rushing yards on the day.

The Gators would score yet again with just over three minutes remaining in the contest. Yet another well-orchestrated drive led by Jones, Gators running back Dameon Pierce would score from 17 yards out, closing the Alabama lead to just two points with 3:10 remaining.

The score would be 31-29 after a failed two-point conversion.

The difference for Florida? Three-straight drives that looked like some of the most efficient play-calling and execution Florida has had on offense since former Florida QB Kyle Trask was at the helm last season.

The Crimson Tide had no answer, and it showed as the Gators continued to climb back.

The game would ultimately get away from Florida in the end due to a lack of time on the clock. With four seconds remaining, Florida would get the ball back following an Alabama punt. Jones would take the snap but was unable to find any room to run. Ball game.

Ultimately, Florida showed that it belonged today. While it didn't pull off the victory, there's no question the team is ready to compete this season, perhaps with anyone.