TALLAHASSEE — When Chauncey Gardner was racing around cradling an interception on Florida State’s side of the field Saturday night, you thought there was a chance.

You’d been there before.

You’d learned to love your flawed football team no matter how many drives ended without points. So you believed it was possible.

Just a few minutes later, you knew better.

Florida got only three points out of the Gardner interception and FSU — with its sophisticated passing game that makes Florida’s look like plays were drawn on a cave wall — finally hit a big one.

The 46-yard touchdown pass to Travis Rudolph pretty much ended it, even though there was a lot of football to play.

Time is no factor with this offense. Give it four more quarters and it might have kicked a couple more field goals. If not for a big special teams touchdown, it might have been really embarrassing.

Not that it wasn’t.

This is a sobering statistic — in its last 51 possessions against FSU, Florida has scored two offensive touchdowns. That’s not all on this staff, but the last eight quarters (zero offensive TDs) are.

Jim McElwain has checked a lot of items off his to-do list at Florida.

Beating UF’s biggest SEC rivals.


Winning the SEC East.

Double check.

Getting a significant road win over a ranked SEC team.


But beating the hated Seminoles is still an empty box. While winning conference championships is the No. 1 goal for any Gator, losing six of seven to FSU is like pouring a vinegar and salt cocktail into a wound that won’t heal.

To be fair, McElwain has been hamstrung each year, first by a mess at quarterback and then by so many starters missing Saturday night you seriously needed a program to

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