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NCAAF: Florida hoping to halt freefall against Samford

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Things have gone south quickly for the Florida Gators.

So much so that Gators head coach Dan Mullen fired defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach John Hevesy after the Gators gave up 459 yards in a 40-17 loss to South Carolina last week.

Florida (4-5) will try to snap a three-game losing streak when it hosts FCS program Samford (4-5) on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville, Fla.

Florida and Samford, which competes in the Southern Conference, will meet for the first time since 1922. The Gators have won both games in the series.

The Gators, who need two more wins to secure bowl eligibility, will face three opponents currently under .500 to finish the regular season. But Florida has lost its last two games by an average margin of 25 points and allowed 41 points per game during its current skid. Meanwhile, Florida has been held to only 24 points over its past two games.

“It’s always hard,” Mullen said of the staff changes. “Those guys are friends of mine. I have a lot of respect for them. Both excellent football coaches. But my responsibility as the head coach is to do what’s best for the Florida Gators. That comes above it all.”

Gators linebackers coach Christian Robinson will handle play-calling duties on defense, and assistant Michael Sollenne was promoted to offensive line coach.

Samford is coming off a 35-14 victory over The Citadel last week. Running back Jay Stanton led the Bulldogs, rushing for a season-high 134 yards and a touchdown.

Montrell Washington added a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown and Midnight Steward scored on a 94-yard fumble return.

Bulldogs quarterback Liam Welch has been a catalyst for their offense, completing 256 of 385 passes for 2,697 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while rushing for 391 yards and five touchdowns.

But Samford’s defense has allowed 35.9 points and 480 yards of total offense per game.

“I think we have a really good team,” Samford coach Chris Hatcher said. “Our record does not show that. I still believe that, and I may be the only one who does. But I do. I believe we have a really good team. And if we didn’t, I’d tell you.”

–Field Level Media

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