The Florida Gators sent out their seniors and coach Will Muschamp the right way today as they thrashed the Eastern Kentucky Colonels 52-3. With this win, the Florida Gators are now bowl eligible!
The Gator offense embraced more of an air raid approach in this game as they threw the ball for 326 yards. Treon Harris and Jeff Driskel were near mirror images of one another as they threw for 162 and 164 yards, respectively. Harris threw two touchdowns and Driskel threw three touchdowns. Harris did get banged up in the second quarter of the game, but it was nothing serious as he was back out on the field by the next drive.
On the ground, the Gators had just 104 yards. Redshirt freshman Adam Lane led the team with 60 rushing yards while Kelvin Taylor and Jeff Driskel rushed for one touchdown a piece. In his last game in the Swamp, senior tailback Matt Jones had nine carries for 27 yards.
For what I am pretty sure is the first time all season, the Gators had two receivers with over 100 yards receiving in a game. They were sophomore Demarcus Robinson with 137 yards on a team-high four catches, and senior Quinton Dunbar with 107 yards on three catches. Both of them caught two touchdowns a piece.
It is also worth mentioning that senior Michael McNeely, the heralded hero from the Georgia game, caught a touchdown pass as well. The final senior to record a reception was tight end Clay Burton. He had one catch for 19 yards.
Defensively, the Gators smothered Eastern Kentucky as they held the Colonels to just three points on 142 total yards. Redshirt senior Michael Taylor led the defense with nine tackles (0.5 tackles for loss). Fellow seniors Jabari Gorman, Darious Cummings, Michael McNeely, Mack Brown, and Matt Jones combined for nine tackles as well.
The Gators got after Eastern Kentucky's quarterbacks today as the defensive line notched three sacks. Two of these sacks can be attributed to sophomore Joey Ivie and the other can be credited to redshirt sophomore Alex McCalister.
In the secondary, Vernon Hargreaves III and company shut down the passing game as they combined for four pass breakups and 26 total tackles. VH3 had three tackles and two pass breakups.
Compared to last week against South Carolina, special teams was on point today. Redshirt sophomore kicker Austin Hardin nailed his lone field goal attempt of the game from 48 yards out while senior Frankie Velez converted both of his extra point tries.
In his last game in The Swamp, senior punter Kyle Christy was once again phenomenal. He punted four balls for a total of 196 yards. He averaged 49 yards per punt with his longest punt being 55 yards. Christy was not named a semifinalist for the 2014 Ray Guy Award, but that does not take away how great of a punter he has been for the Gators this year.
Unlike last year's pitiful performance against Georgia Southern, the Gators (6-4) crushed the cupcake team like they were supposed to this year. Now bowl eligible for what seems like the first time in eternity (even though it's been just a year), the Gators will look to pull the upset of the year as they head to Tallahassee to take on undefeated rival #3 Florida State (11-0).
The players made it evident that they won today's game for ex-head coach Will Muschamp, who coached his final game in The Swamp. Now with state pride on the line and Muschamp in his final game ever as the Gators head coach, I can promise you that this Gators team is going to give all they got next Saturday. To me, this game feels like a National Championship for the Gators.
Florida State continues to tread the line of losing after narrowly beating a Boston College team that ran all over them! This is great news for the Gators as they have been a run-first team all year. If Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor can duplicate the performances they had against Georgia, then FSU better watch out.
I have more faith in the Gators this time around than I did last year considering the less amount of injuries that have plagued the team. If the Gators can somehow a pull a miracle out of thin air and beat FSU in Tallahassee, then Will Muschamp will forever hold a somewhat positive place in my mind.
I will still never forget what has been a string of tumultuous seasons, but a win knocking FSU out of the playoffs will, for the most part, help me forgive Muschamp for driving the program into the ground.
The game is set for 3:30 p.m. next Saturday on November 29th. I hope to catch at least the end of the game as I will be on a bus ride from Orlando to Gainesville during most of the game. Go Gators! Go and end a winning streak that should have been stopped weeks ago starting with Notre Dame!
Shifting to Eastern Kentucky now, they fall to 9-3 on the year and will await their fate regarding the FCS playoffs. They are currently in second place in the Ohio Valley Conference behind a 10-1 Jackson State University, so they will need to rely on an at-large bid to get into the playoffs. If they do get in, other FCS teams better be on watch as this team can do some damage. I wish my best to them the rest of the way!
*All stats accredited to Gatorzone.com