#9 Florida finally turned in a performance that Gator fans can point to and say “that is our football team” with some pride. Behind the heroic effort of true freshman “do it all” QB Trey Burton, who scored 5 rushing TDs out of the zone read option and caught another for a school record 6 touchdowns. Not even Tim Tebow scored that many in 1 game. He propelled #9 Florida to a convincing 48-14 win over previously undefeated Kentucky. Burton ran for 40 yards on 5 carries, caught 5 balls for 37 yards, and passed for 42 yards to go along with his 6 TDs.
As I hoped and expected, the Gators finally got on the board early. After holding the Wildcats to a 3 and out on their opening drive the Gators took their first possessions and marched down the field for 64 yards on 6 plays. The drive was capped off with a Burton QB keeper up the gut for an 11 yard TD run. It didn’t take long for Florida to get the ball back. Kentucky went for 5 plays drive but was held short by a defensive stuff on 3rd and 3 around midfield.
Florida took its second possession and again drove methodically down the field. This time Brantley hit 4 different receivers and RB Emmanuel Moody added 20 yards on the ground. The drive was punctuated by Burton’s second TD of the game, an 11 yard catch and run into the corner of the endzone. The 5 minute drive went for 85 yards in 12 plays, the Wildcats looked overwhelmed on all fronts, Florida fans were finally enjoying their offense for the first time this season. Just like that the Gators scored their first opening quarter touchdowns of the season, and there was still 2:55 left to play in the first quarter.
After Florida jumped to a 14-0 lead, the two teams exchanged a couple of punts and interceptions. Then with 8 minutes left in the half CB Jeremy Brown stepped in front of a Mike Hartline and returned it 52 yards untouched for the 21-0 lead. Game, Set, and Match.
Kentucky would cut the lead just before halftime with a fake field goal that resulted in a touchdown, but Florida would never look back. Trey Burton ran in touchdowns of 3, 7, 9, 10. He also completed a 42 yard pass to Omarius Hines, who could have given Burton a 7th TD (passing) had he not stumbled after the catch. QB John Brantley was accurate, passing for a career high 238 yards on a 24 for 35 day with 1 TD and 1 INT. He led the Gators 6 times inside the 15 before giving way to the running Burton. This was the break out party the offense was hoping to have before it set its focus on the #1 team in the nation. In all the Gators racked up 464 yards of offense on 72 plays. Had it not been for a sloppy 18 penalties, the offense could have done even more. The Gator D forced another 2 turnovers and held the high powered Wildcat offense to 352 yards of total offense, 60 of which came on the last meaningless drive, and just 5 for 14 on 3rd down.
Several Gators played their best game of their young careers. This includes both QBs, freshman WR Andre Debose saw his first meaningful action with 4 catches, WR Deonte Thompson had a nice day, 6 receptions for 96 yards and WR Carl Moore was a big play threat, producing 62 yards on only 3 catches. Florida will need more career days from several players if it hopes to shock the Crimson Tide next week in what is shaping into another classic between Saban and Meyer.
The only concern coming out of Saturdays 48-14 thrashing is that starting RB Jeff Demps went out before half with a lower leg injury. He was seen walking gingerly under his own power into the locker room. 3 starting offensive linemen, Mike Pouncey, Carl Johnson, and Xavier Nixon went down and needed assistance during the game at one point or another. All three seemed hobbled, but returned.
The stage is now set for the showdown in Tuscaloosa. Alabama will probably open the week as a 10 point favourite, but after today’s game, Florida fans can at least hope that their team has some hope of scoring against an Alabama secondary that looked awfully shaky against the pass.
The Gators played their best game of the year right against Kentucky and that will serve to build some confidence and momentum for the young team. Now they need to turn in their best week of practice, and follow that up with another improved performance against the Tide and this team might just shock the nation.
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Written by The Gator Great