GAINESVILLE -- On a gloomy, rainy Saturday in The Swamp, Florida sent the seniors and dismissed coach Will Muschamp out in style with a 52-3 rout over Eastern Kentucky.
It was a bittersweet finale, but the Gators managed to have some fun following an emotionally trying week.
OFFENSE – B
Florida’s usual grit-and-grind offense was nowhere to be found. Instead, the Gators turned to an Air Raid attac, passing their way past the Colonels.
UF’s offense was sluggish and slow early, unable to run the football despite a massive size disparity up front. But the Gators hit a couple big throws late in the second quarter, turning a barnburner into a blowout.
Treon Harris was sporadically spectacular (4-of-12 for 162 yards and two touchdowns) before exiting with a leg injury, while much-maligned backup Jeff Driskel was nearly flawless (9-of-11 for 164 yards and four scores) in relief.
Little-used tailback Adam Lane, a fourth-stringer, led the Gators in rushing (60 yards), while UF posted a pair of 100+ yard receivers for the first time in the Muschamp era.
DEFENSE – A
EKU was limited to just 142 total yards, as UF stifling defense strangled the Colonel’s prolific rushing attack. EKU couldn’t pass either (63 yards), resorting to gimmicks for potential game-changing plays.
Florida forced a slew of fumbles, recovering only one.
The Gators played a bunch of backups in the second half, but regular rotational guys like Alex McCalister (2 sacks) and linebacker Michael Taylor (team-high 9 tackles) delivered solid performances.
SPECIAL TEAMS – A
A week after collapsing against South Carolina, UF’s third unit was primed for EKU’s bag of tricks.
The Gators stopped a fake punt, fake field and onside kick. Meanwhile, Andre Debose had a 39-yard punt return, while Kyle Christy averaged 49 yards on four punts.
Austin Hardin supplanted Frankie Velez as the team’s first-string kicker, drilling a 48-yard field goal on his lone attempt.
OVERALL – B+
The Gators overcame a slow start to rout an FCS school.
Considering the circumstances and the way UF played against an FCS foe last season (Georgia Southern, anyone?), it was a fitting, feel-good win for a team desperate for some fun.
Florida is now bowl eligible and Muschamp will roam the sidelines one final time Saturday at No. 1 Florida State.
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