Burned by the memories of Jevan Snead and Shay Hodge shocking them seven years ago, the Florida Gators were finally able to avenge that sour defeat against the Ole Miss Rebels on the first Saturday in October.
And boy did they make a statement in the process.
The No. 3 Rebels were unseated from their lofty position in the world of college football unceremoniously, and were subsequently then thumped, thrashed and thrown down to the turf of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. That ferocious Florida defense that was talked about prior to the game's commencement? It ate on Saturday night. Chomped, some might say. The Ole Miss Rebels have been one of the most potent and prolific teams in the nation from an offensive standpoint. Saturday, they mustered up merely three points, and barely hummed near the 300-yard mark.
To put that in perspective, Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly was averaging 344.5 passing yards per game.
The Gator defense is certainly great. Jon Bullard, Vernon Hargraves III and Bryan Cox, Jr. all showed up in their own ways. But the Florida offense deserves to have their praises sung, too. Freshman Will Grier followed up his great performance against the Tennessee Volunteers with another one for the books against Ole Miss. The Landsharks couldn't faze him much, as the youngster threw for 271 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions and missed the mark on just five throws all night.
Running back Kelvin Taylor complemented the play of Grier with a 83-yard, 27-carry performance. His consecutive games with a rushing touchdown streak was snapped but the UF running game still found a way on the board. The final touchdown of the night was scored by freshman Jordan Cronkite. The Miami native took a pitch by the QB Grier and sauntered into the end zone, sending the tens of thousands of Gator fans in attendance into a total frenzy.
There are, of course, two sides to every story.
The Ole Miss Rebels were high and mighty not too long ago after a stunning win in Tuscaloosa over the Alabama Crimson Tide, Now, they find themselves on the receiving end of a road game shellacking. How they respond from being punched in the mouth after doing much of the dishing out throughout the season will be quite the storyline to watch in Oxford.
For now, the Gators are 5-0 and likely to ascend up the rankings and into the national discussion again. For many Gators fans, that, in itself, is quite a reason to be happy as the month of October has commenced.