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Short-yardage woes gone for the Gators

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It looks like Florida has fixed its short-yardage problems.

After struggling early in the season to convert on second and third down in which they had 3 yards or fewer to go, the Gators have been nearly perfect in those situations in their last two games. That includes going 8-for-9 last Saturday against LSU, which entered the game with the Southeastern Conference’s No. 2 rush defense (86.0 yards per game).

“We’ve put a huge point of emphasis [on short yardage] since the first couple of games,” UF coach Will Muschamp said. “To be at [almost] 100 percent against a front like that [LSU] says a lot about our players and the scheme that our offensive staff put in place.”

Florida only converted a first down six times in 21 chances in which it faced 3 yards or fewer to go for a first down in its first three games, which doesn’t include a kneel-down and a fake field goal against Texas A&M. In the Gators’ last two games, however, they’re a combined 17-for-18. The only time they failed came against LSU when RB Mike Gillislee gained 2 yards on a second-and-3 play. However, Gillislee gained 3 yards on the next play and the Gators got the first down.

Florida scored three short-yardage touchdowns against Kentucky, all coming on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. UF went 9-for-9 on short-yardage plays against the Wildcats.