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Florida uses special teams and turnovers to overwhelm Colorado State

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Florida Gators used special teams plays and turnovers to blow the score wide open.

NCAA Football: Colorado State at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators entered the Swamp 1-1 after their historic loss to Kentucky, and faced the Colorado State Rams for the first time ever. The game even happening was part of a buyout from when Florida hired Jim McElwain in 2014.

Oh, how things have changed.

The Gators got off to a rather slow start, with Feleipe Franks going 0-for-6 to begin the game. That included an interception where Franks made the right read, but threw it a few seconds too late and put the ball into the hands of Colorado State. The Gators left the first quarter with 0 passing yards, but were up 6-0.

After that, the dam broke open. The Gators went on to score another 42 points, while holding a high-powered Colorado State offense to 10. This was largely due to incredible special teams plays and turnovers. Those include:

  • Fumble recovery - scored a field goal next drive
  • A second fumble recovery - scored a field goal next drive
  • Blocked punt recovered for a touchdown
  • Punt returned for a touchdown
  • A third fumble recovery - scored a touchdown the next drive

On actual offense, the Gators did rush for 222 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown run on the first touch for true freshman Dameon Peirce. The offensive line was not dominant, but improved from the week prior. Franks only passed for 119 yards in total, but looked more comfortable as the game went on. Wide receiver Freddie Swain had the biggest day of everyone, scoring twice off a touchdown catch and a punt return touchdown.

The Florida defense was able to keep Colorado State to only ten points due to three turnovers and a pair of fourth down stops late in the game. The Rams’ only touchdown came right out of the half as K.J. Carta-Samuels caught the inexperienced defense in a play-action fake. Throughout the game, the Gators exercised a “bend-don’t-break” defensive strategy. It worked, especially on wide receiver Preston Williams, who was held to underneath plays and not allowed to beat the defense deep.

The Gators move to 2-1 and have to travel to Tennessee Volunteers next week for their first road game of the season. The Colorado State Rams move to 1-3, and travel home to take on the Illinois State Redbirds next week.