The Florida Gators are back in the National Championship picture after a 23-0 win over Jacksonville State and several upsets throughout the college football universe.
There’s not much to tell about the Florida Gators sleepwalking through its game against Jacksonville State. Sophomore quarterback Jacoby Brissett made his first start of the season on Saturday. However, he did little to prove that he was an improvement over Jeff Driskel, throwing for 154 yards in the win. One noticeable improvement over Driskel was the ability of Brissett to avoid sacks, only giving up one sack. Brissett did a good job of throwing the ball away, instead of taking a loss. Driskel by comparison has been sacked 29 times over the course of the season.
Yes, the competition level was noticeably worse, but the instincts to get rid of the football and live to play another down were evident.
Florida’s coaching staff decided to stay with the same offense it has used throughout the season. The Gators kept the ball on the ground most of the day with senior halfback Mike Gillislee rushing for 122 yards and a touchdown, while freshman halfback Matt Jones had his best game of the season running for 65 yards.
“We need to do better to be more consistent offensively,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “I know I have been saying that, and I know it’s a broken record, but we will continue to work at it and do what we have to do to put ourselves in a situation where we have the game under control defensively.”
The Gators defense was its usual stingy self in only allowing 48 yards rushing. In his final game in the Swamp, senior linebacker Jon Bostic recorded his first touchdown, off an interception that the team leader returned seven yards for a touchdown.
Despite yet another lackluster performance against sub-par competition, the Gators are still alive in the National Championship race despite being locked out of the SEC Title game. That, of course due to the upsets of No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon, respectively, on Saturday.
Kansas State got blown out by a .500 Baylor team, 52-24, while Oregon took on No. 13 Stanford. The Cardinal outlasted the Ducks in overtime, winning the game 17-14 on a 37-yard field goal by Jordan Williamson. When the latest BCS Poll is released come Sunday night, Notre Dame will be the new No. 1, followed by Alabama, Georgia and then – potentially – Florida at No. 4.
Notre Dame will take on rival Southern California next week. The Trojans will be steamed after losing to rival UCLA on Saturday. However, if USC quarterback Matt Barkley can’t go against Notre Dame due to a shoulder injury, then an upset bid might prove difficult. Alabama and Georgia are set to meet in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game. The winner will be presumably headed to the ‘Ship, but the loser, with two losses, out of the running altogether. Florida, on the other hand, might receive a bump for not having played in the conference championship in that it will only have one lose heading into bowl season.
Unfortunately none of this matters if Florida doesn’t beat No. 10 Florida State in Tallahassee next week.
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