Final: Florida 48, Colorado State 10
1st Quarter: Gators 6 Colorado State 0
Gainesville, FL- After a humbling loss at home last week, many wondered how the Gators would respond to adversity. Head coach Dan Mullen seemed pleased with the team’s approach to improving in practice this week for the most part and many players claimed that it was the most intense week of practice that they’ve experienced yet. Tonight was their first opportunity to display the fruits of their efforts.
After missing tackle after tackle last week and being bullied in the trenches, the Gators looked as though they took it personally. There is still much work to be done with this team but they showed marked improvement over last week as they imposed their will over Colorado State.
This game was originally set as a condition of Jim McElwain‘s buyout and cost the university $2 million. For what it’s worth, the Gators got their money’s worth as the Gators put on a show.
It wasn’t perfect but with every play the Gators are getting a little closer to the team that Mullen expects them to be. After a three and out to open the game, Florida’s defense returned the favor, forcing a punt. A bad snap led to a fumble and the Gators would take possession on the Rams 12 yard line.
After a couple of miscues and self inflicted wounds, the Gators would have to settle for an Evan McPherson field goal.
Colorado State, brought with them a passing offense that was ranked 10th in the nation and the ability to strike from anywhere on the field. Florida had their work cut out for them as their secondary has been depleted by injury. None the less, Florida’s defense contained the Rams aerial attack and limited them to their weakest output of the season.
After 12 plays, the Rams were forced to attempt a 52 yard field goal that never had a chance, sailing wide right. Very wide. With that, the Gators went back to work but the offense would leave in a hurry as Feleipe Franks threw his second interception of the season. One play later, the Gators defense forced and recovered a fumble.
The offense still sputtered along and ultimately would settle for another McPherson field goal. This time, he hit from 48 yards out and gave the Gators a 6-0 lead.
Franks: 8/15, 119 YD 2 TD 1 INT
Carta-Samuels: 21/33, 217 YD 1 TD
2nd Quarter: Gators 21 Colorado State 3
After a slow and awkward first quarter, the offense finally began to find its footing.
Franks began the game 0/6 but would complete every attempt he made in the second quarter. On the first possession of the second quarter, Jordan Scarlett would score the first rushing touchdown by a Gators running back of the season.
As the Gators defense continued to oppress the Rams offensive attack, the Gators offense began to hum. Franks would find Freddie Swain for an 18 yard touchdown strike on the very next Gators possession.
After seeing success by the offense and the defense, the special teams decided that they wanted a piece as well. And they were absolutely special tonight. From punting to field goals, the Gators special teams could do no wrong. After the defense, once again shut down CSU, the Gators special teams unit came away with a blocked punt that was recovered in the endzone by Tyrie Cleveland.
Florida had put together a 27-0 lead and seen the Rams miss field goals to right and to the left before they would finally find themselves on the scoreboard. Wyatt Bryan would give the Rams 3 points from 53 yards out, as time expired in the first half.
Jefferson: 2 REC, 62 YD 1 TD
Swain: 1 REC, 18 YD 1 TD
Williams: 9 REC, 106 YD
McBride: 3 REC, 60 YD 1 TD
Johnson: 5 REC, 43 YD
3rd Quarter: Gators 0 Colorado State 7
After being outdone in all phases of the game during the first half, Colorado State would need to pull off some of their late game heroics. Previously, they rallied from a 37-7 deficit vs Hawaii only to come up just short and just last week, overcame an 18 point Arkansas lead to beat the Razorbacks.
With their first possession out of the halftime break, it looked like they just might tap into that second half magic once again when Carta-Samuels found Trey McBride for a 48 yard touchdown. With the lead cut down to 27-10, the remainder of the third quarter was a power struggle going back and forth between the teams.
Pierce: 5 CAR, 87 YD 17.4 AVG 1 TD
Scarlett: 6 CAR, 56 YD 9.3 AVG 1 TD
Perine: 7 CAR, 37 YD 5.3 AVG
Kinsey: 15 CAR, 79 YD 5.3 AVG
4th Quarter: Gators 21 Colorado State 0
The fourth quarter began with some more special teams fireworks as Freddie Swain returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown. This marked the first time the Gators had returned a punt for touchdown in three years.
The defense got back to work and just 6 plays later, forced another fumble to get the ball back. Carta-Samuels was under heavy pressure for the majority of the night as Jabari Zuniga, Jachai Polite, and even Chauncey Gardner-Johnson took turns putting him (and the ball) on the turf.
With the ball back in his hands, Feleipe Franks threw a dart to Van Jefferson. The 38 yard touchdown strike is Franks’ ninth of the season and the third to Jefferson. Keep in mind, we are three games in and Franks has now matched his season total from a year ago.
With nothing to do but run out the clock, QB Kyle Trask would enter the game on Florida’s next possession but that would be short lived. On the first play, Trask handed the ball to freshman Dameon Pierce who took it 68 yards for another Gators touchdown.
There are still things to work on but for now, the Gators are back in the win column. If they keep improving each week, this can still be a special season.
Colorado State 22
Colorado State 83
Time of Possession
Colorado State 38:33
Colorado State 240
Colorado State 70
Colorado State 6-33
Colorado State 310
Colorado State 3
East Standings Conference-Overall
Georgia 1-0 3-0
Kentucky 1-0 3-0
Mizzou 0-0 2-0
Vandy 0-0 2-1
Florida 0-1 2-1
South Carolina 0-1 1-1
Tennessee 0-0 2-1
*Some games may still be in progress
Florida takes on the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. The game will be broadcast live at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN 2. Be sure to check out the live game threads on the ChompTalk.com Facebook and Twitter accounts too!