Florida Gators football: Brissett not asked to do much vs. Jacksonville State

Florida Gators quarterback Jacoby Brissett (12) throws the ball during the second quarter against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. (Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)

Brissett or Driskel? Driskel or Brissett?

Such was the debate members of Gator Nation fretted over in the summer and into fall as the rest of the nation pondered whether to punch a ticket for Romney or Obama.

The biggest problem with Gator Nation’s fears, of course, was that the team’s choice at quarterback was not going to be made in democratic fashion.

Head coach Will Muschamp had spent the summer keeping practices and media sessions veritably locked down. No one except he, his staff and his players knew how the team’s two uber-talented true sophomore quarterbacks were looking day-in-and-day-out.

When Week 1 and an opening kickoff against Bowling Green finally arrived, Muschamp could not hide behind the shroud of practice-time secrecy any longer.

Brissett or Driskel? Driskel or Brissett?

Fittingly, it would be both.

Brissett took the first snap and Driskel lined up at wide receiver, just so they were both able to ceremoniously enjoy starting in the team’s first game.

From there, Driskel took over under center for the first quarter and Brissett was allowed to show off for the coaches in the second.

Coming out of halftime, Driskel was handed over the reins of the squad and we had not seen Brissett since.

Driskel would go on to lead the Gators all the way up to a No. 2-overall BCS ranking and an 8-1 record as the team’s starter. He outplayed current Heisman Trophy frontrunner Johnny Manziel in Florida’s 20-14 comeback win at Texas A&M in the first career start for either quarterback. He passed and ran for a combined 300 yards in being named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week in the Gator’s Week 3 drubbing of Tennessee, 37-20.

In short, Gator Nation has seen enough of Driskel to levy a fair, and approving judgement of the team’s leader.

However, Driskel sustained an ankle injury against Louisiana-Lafayette in UF’s Homecoming game, and Brissett was forced to come in cold and try to lead the offense to a tying score late in the game. He succeeded, completing 6-of-8 pass attempts for 64 yards and his first passing touchdown on the season.

Practices are still closed, however, so really the only thing fans had ever seen before Saturday’s Senior Day was one quarter in Week 1, one drive in Week 10, the blowout against South Carolina, and almost unwatchable material from his freshman year we won’t even bother getting into.

With a rivalry matchup looming in the season finale against Florida State, fans were excited to see Brissett over a full sixty minutes against a team the Gators were expected to stomp in FCS-foe Jacksonville State.

However, as the game against the 100th-ranked defense in the FCS unfolded, a funny thing happened: Brissett was never really given a chance.

Muschamp fed senior running back Mike Gillislee early and often on the the afternoon, to the tune of 19 attempts for 122 rushing yards.

Linebacker Jon Bostic, with the team up a mere 10-0, picked off a Marques Ivory throw and took it to paydirt, giving the Gators the type of insurance Coach Boom loves to milk. Muschamp continued to run the ball, giving freshman Matt Jones 8 carries for 65 yards for an 8.1 yard per carry average and a new career high.  He was comfortable accepting three Caleb Sturgis field goals for the team’s efforts.

Brissett finished an efficient 14-for-22 for 154 yards on the afternoon, outgained by Ivory, who needed 26 pass attempts – and an equal 14 completions – to reach 169 yards.

The Florida Gators, and the aforementioned Bostic, stole the show once again, recording its second shutout of the season in the team’s 23-0 win.


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