For the fourth time under Dan Mullen, the Florida Gators are 1-0 to open the season. Florida breezed to a 35-14 victory over in-state rival Florida Atlantic Saturday night in Gainesville.
For as much as the score would indicate the game was a rout, it was actually a bit ugly for the Gators. Emory Jones struggled to find consistent play, finishing the night 17-27 with 113 yards and one touchdown to two interceptions. Jones added 74 rushing yards. It’s worth noting Anthony Richardson came in in relief of Jones in the fourth quarter and went 3-8 with 40 passing yards and was Florida’s leading rusher with 149 yards in just six attempts and one touchdown. It probably won’t lead to a controversy, but it’s something that will certainly stay on many minds if Jones struggles again in the immediate future.
It comes as no surprise that the rushing attack led the way for the Gators, considering the losses of Kadarius Toney and Kyle Pitts. Malik Davis had 104 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown, and Damien PIerce found the endzone twice on six carries. Having a rushing attack to lean on while Jones finds his way will benefit the Gators, but they’ll have to figure it out quickly with Alabama looming in a couple weeks.
Defensively, the Gators looked mostly fine. They got to FAU quarterback N’Kosi Perry six times, with Zach Carter being responsible for three of the six. Florida didn’t allow a touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter. They would obviously go on to allow another one later in garbage time, but the reasoning could very well be that it was garbage time.
You’ll never complain about a 21 point win, but as noted, there are absolutely some things the Gators need to tighten up next week against USF before Alabama comes to town the following week.