Florida 63, Idaho 10
Gainesville, FL – Things went according to plan on Saturday afternoon as the Gators dismantled the Idaho Vandals. It was a great send off for the twenty seniors in this year’s class and a perfect opportunity to get experience for the younger players.
Florida has had trouble with slow starts this season, scoring just 33 points in the first quarter entering today’s game. In fact, they hadn’t scored a touchdown in the opening quarter since their trip to Rocky Top on September 22nd. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, made sure that wasn’t the case in what will likely be his final game in the Swamp.
Idaho took the field on offense, first. On their opening play, Mason Petrino went with a play action fake to Isaiah Saunders before throwing a quick screen pass toward the sideline. Gardner-Johnson recognized the play and jumped the route with expert timing before returning it for a touchdown.
This was a microcosm of how things went for the Gators all day.
Florida’s defense stifled Petrino and the Vandals for most of the day, giving up just 73 yards through the air and 154 on the ground. It wasn’t until Idaho’s final possession of the first quarter that they were able to gain a first down.
Petrino battled through the game, taking all of the punishment that the Gators defense meted out but in the end, he would throw more touchdowns to the boys in orange and blue than to his own receivers.
With the lead and the ball, Feleipe Franks led the Gators on a three play, 47 yard drive, that was capped off by a 17 yard touchdown run by Franks. He would finish the game with 4 touchdowns and nearly 300 yards before being pulled late in the first half.
During his short game, Franks completed passes to 12 different receivers and connected with 3 of them for touchdowns. These numbers might have been even more impressive if not for a handful of overthrown passes.
In all, 13 different receivers caught passes on Saturday. Five different pass catchers hauled in touchdowns for the Gators in an offense that was entirely by committee.
Freshman quarterback, Emory Jones came in for the final two series in the first half and played almost the entire second half as well. While there were a few fumbled snaps, Jones played very well completing 75% of his passes and throwing a pair of touchdowns.
When he was in with the first unit offensive line, it appeared that Jones was more than capable of leading this Gators offense. Things got a little dicey with the backups but that had more to do with poor protections than it did with Emory’s play.
With a blowout victory, Florida was able to get valuable experience for the next generation of Gators. There is now good film for the coaches to teach the young players how to play to the Gators standard with. You could see coach Mullen passionately coaching up his young talent even late in the game when the outcome was beyond question.
The Gators have a real chance to make a New Year’s Six bowl game this year. They took another step towards reaching that goal, Saturday. The next step is of great importance for this season and even more so for the program. They must defeat Florida State next week and end the losing streak.
A win over FSU next week puts the Gators at 9-3 on the year, keeps them in NY6 bowl contention, gives them bragging rights, and most importantly, will be a big statement in the recruiting war.
Franks: 19/27, 274 YDS 3 TD
Jones: 12/16, 125 YDS 2 TD
Petrino: 12/31, 70 YDS 1 TD 2 INT
Pierce: 13 CAR, 77 YDS
Franks: 2 CAR, 21 YDS 1 TD
Hammond: 1 CAR, 21 YDS 1 TD
Petrino: 12 CAR, 87 YDS
Saunders: 14 CAR, 33 YDS
Jefferson: 3 REC, 35 YDS 1 TD
Cleveland: 3 REC, 51 YDS 1 TD
Hammond: 3 REC, 30 YDS 1 TD
Cotton: 3 REC, 38 YDS 1 TD
Time of Possession
SEC East Standings
Georgia 6-1 8-1
Kentucky 5-2 8-2
Florida 5-3 8-3
South Carolina 3-4 4-4
Tennessee 1-3 4-4
Vandy 1-5 4-6
Mizzou 2-4 6-4
*Some games may still be in progress
What’s next? Rivalry Week. The Gators will face Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee. The game will be broadcast live on ABC at noon EST.