Florida’s Dan Mullen wants 90,000 fans in The Swamp following loss at Texas A&M

No. 4 Florida suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday, a 41-38 nailbiter that saw No. 17 Texas A&M earn Jimbo Fisher’s first victory over a top-five team during his Aggies tenure.

While there were several factors in the Gators’ loss — such as a late lost fumble and the defense giving up 543 yards of offense — a “major factor” coach Dan Mullen listed by name was the crowd at Kyle Field, which was announced as 24,709, about 25 percent of capacity.

Because of that, Mullen said, he wants university officials to allow fans to pack The Swamp for upcoming Florida home games, starting with the game vs. LSU on Oct. 17.

“I know our governor passed that rule, so certainly, hopefully the university administration decides to let us pack The Swamp against LSU,” Mullen told reporters after the game. “I certainly hope our university administration follows the governor. The governor has passed a rule that we’re allowed to pack The Swamp and have 90,000 in The Swamp to give us the home-field advantage Texas A&M had today.

“Absolutely want to see 90,000 in The Swamp,” Mullen said. “Hopefully, that creates a home-field advantage for us next week because now we passed a law in our state that we can do that. We want our students out there cheering us on to give us that home-field advantage.”

The rule Mullen was referencing was from earlier this week. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted attendance restrictions at sports stadiums as part of Phase 3 of the state’s reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. Doing so allows universities to fill their stadiums, if they choose; for Florida, that would increase The Swamp’s capacity from roughly 17,000 to about 88,000.

That said, not every sports team in Florida will make use of the lifted restrictions. The NFL’s Miami Dolphins, for example, will continue to limit attendance: roughly 13,000 at Hard Rock Stadium.

Florida remains one of the states most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from The New York Times, the state has 728,913 confirmed coronavirus cases (third-most in the U.S.) and 15,185 confirmed deaths (fifth-most).

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