It wasn’t pretty, but the Florida Gator football team was able to pull out a win in its season opener against the Bowling Green State Falcons on Saturday afternoon in The Swamp.
The Gators beat the Falcons 27-14, after only being up 14-7 at the half, thanks to a productive run game and a solid defensive effort. Senior running back Mike Gillislee led the way for the Gators in the first start of his college career. The 5’11” 209 pound tailback ran for 148 yards on 24 carries, scoring two touchdowns. In total, Florida rushed for 220 yards on the day. Gator head coach Will Muschamp says establishing the run game is essential to the team’s success.
The main story heading into Saturday’s game was the ongoing battle for the Gators’ starting quarterback position between true sophomores Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett. Coach Muschamp had announced earlier in the week that both quarterbacks would play in the season opener, specifying that one would play the first quarter, the other would play the second, and they both would be evaluated at halftime to see how the rest of the game would pan out.
Driskel played the majority of the game, as he took all the snaps in the first, third, and fourth quarters, while Brissett played in the second. Neither quarterback seemed to separate himself from the other as Driskel completed 10 of 16 passes for 114 yards, which included a 50 yard touchdown pass to redshirt senior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr., and Brissett was 3 of 5 for 31 yards. Muschamp explains why Driskel took the bulk of the snaps and adds he and his coaching staff still do not know who will start in the future.
Both quarterbacks actually started the game. On Florida’s first offensive play Brissett was under center while Driskel lined up outside at the slot position. Coach Muschamp says he felt both players deserved to start because of their hard work and even performances during camp.
Other game statistics: Florida sophomore cornerback Marcus Roberson intercepted a pass from Bowling Green quarterback Matt Schilz, which led to Hammond’s 50 yard touchdown catch; Gator senior kicker Caleb Sturgis made 2 of 3 field goals, including a 51 yarder; the Gators were one for eight on third down and short situations; Bowling Green quarterback Matt Schilz was 24 for 49 for 204 yards and one interception.
Florida will play its next game against the Texas A & M Aggies on Saturday, September 8th in College Station. It will be the Aggies first game of the season as their opening game against Louisiana Tech was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac.