Florida coach wants to pack stadium despite rising COVID-19 cases

Virus or not, Dan Mullen wants to see Gators fans fill up The Swamp next Saturday.

The Florida coach, following a roller-coaster 41-38 upset loss at Texas A&M, pointed to the home-field advantage the Aggies enjoyed and wants to see it replicated for his team against defending national champion LSU.

ESPN reported that 24,709 fans attended Saturday’s game, but it sure looked like a lot more.

“It was a great day of football, great atmosphere out there. [The] crowd was certainly a factor in the game, I will certainly say that,” Mullen told reporters after his fourth-ranked Gators lost for the first time this year. “I know our governor passed that rule so certainly, hopefully, the university administration decides to let us pack The Swamp … Hundred percent, because that crowd was a major factor in the game, and so, I certainly hope our university administration follows the governor.

“Our governor has passed a rule that we’re allowed to pack the Swamp. We have 90,000 in The Swamp to give us that home-field advantage that Texas A&M had today.”

Florida has allowed only 20 percent capacity for games so far this year. This week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he will allow football stadiums to fill every seat.

After that decision, the school released a statement to Gator Bait Media that read: “We will continue to follow the guidance provided by our experts at UF Health as well as campus officials.”

Florida’s COVID-19 numbers have seen an increase over the last week, according to the Florida Department of Health. On Friday it reported that 118 people with the virus died recently. There were 182 new hospitalizations in the state and 2,908 new cases, it said.

More than 214,000 Americans have died from the virus and more than 7.7 million people have been infected, studies show.

“Absolutely want to see 90,000 in The Swamp,” Mullen said. “The section behind our bench, I didn’t see an empty seat. It was packed. The entire student-section—must have been 50,000 people behind our bench going crazy. So, hopefully, like I said, hopefully that creates the home-field advantage for us next week, because now we’ve passed the law in our state that we can do that. “

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