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STUMBLING TOWARD GLORY!: MISS. STATE/UF RECAP

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Our brains, in addition to being fine tools for remembering where we kept food, how to talk someone into mating with you, and remembering whole Aqua Teen Hunger Force scripts verbatim, is evidently one big happy forgetting machine. The act of forgetting is a physiological process, one performed by the frontal lobes of your brain, a higher brain function that kicks in whenever a painful memory is processed in your brain. Rather than just being one big mushy Chutes and Ladders board, the brain performs an active role in remembering and forgetting, playing fat goalie to the puck of a traumatic memory.

So there's good news and bad news for all of us. First, our chances of remembering the time we got into a fight in public while wearing a pair of heels and a nice black evening dress while cranked on rum and cokes diminish with each passing day. (Fun party, bad choice of footwear.) That's good news, we think. The bad news is that large swaths of memory--like, say, three whole years you'd rather forget--don't budge so easily. The Zook years aren't going anywhere, Gator fans; ditto for all those wishing to erase the Goffs, Mackovics, and Hacketts of the world from their hard drives.

You will try to forget, but this man was your coach last year.

One downside of this is that individual bumps in the road, felt so acutely at the time of their occurrence, tend to disappear in the process, as well.

That's ultimately going to be the case with this past Saturday's game with Mississippi State: a bumpy victory in a middling-to-good year that won't be seen on its own merits and flaws, but instead as part of a long process ending either with Meyer marching through Gainesville in a sedan chair bedecked with gold leaf and silk, or with him toting his personal effects out of his office in a white cardboard box hurriedly one pleasant Tuesday morning in Gainesville.

Oh, the offense looked bad--well, yes and no. Leak's shoulder is , according to your source, somewhere between "bruised" and "held together with baling wire and happy thoughts." He sailed passes all day as a result, but still managed to complete 18 of 33, though he did toss two Doug Johnson-esque picks--double coverage, hands-to-the-face "no-don't-open-that-door-nubile-camp-counselor" horror movie interceptions that had Gator fans remembering the crosseyed one himself. The running back key party continued, this time with Markus Manson playing the role of the "tantalizingly close to being there" back. Florida's down to two wideouts who can play big-boy ball, and the offensive line alternated between solid run blocking and putting on their matador's capes and epaulets while giving ole! blocks for Leak.

That's all things we'll forget, of course, thanks to some choice editing by our frontal lobes. We might remember the pleasant memory of watching the shambolic Miss. State offense--the worst we can remember seeing in the SEC for a while--stumble punch drunk into two safeties, with the second one providing Brandon Siler the moment he'll likely think about during his last moments on this planet, hog-tackling hapless freshman Michael Henig in the endzone for the second safety of the day. We might also remember Dallas Baker carrying defenders down the field on screen passes, Demetrice Webb getting yet another uncanny block on special teams, this time batting down a punt into the waiting hands of Terrence Holmes for a TD, or watching the furious Reggie Nelson dogfight his way into the starting lineup with a TD-saving tackle, a sack, and downing a punt at the one.

Safeties still count even versus Miss. State, right?

For all the hiccups, this team is playing with a pulse for four quarters and winning. It's an ugly Franken-team at times, especially on offense: a pretty-boy drop back passer of a qb trying to play the unlikely part of tough guy, a puddle-deep corps of wide receivers dropping like flies from injury, a revolving door at running back getting blocks from a patchy and often overwhelmed offensive line. Ugly, lurching, and unable to hide the bolts in its neck from the world--it's a monster all right, just not the one most Gator fans imagined in their most deluded fantasies would be pacing the field in Ben Hill Griffin at this point.

It is, however, a 5-1 monster, which bears repeating for those Gator fans whose happy forgetting machines have already begun work on the past three years of football. While forgetting can certainly make for a happier fan, no one ever said it made fans smarter. Right now the grumbling Gator Nation is certainly living proof of that.