Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators off and Running; Brown Leads Way as Florida Grinds out Victory over Toledo in Opener

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators off and Running; Brown Leads Way as Florida Grinds out Victory over Toledo in Opener

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

GAINESVILLE | Another year of the Will Muschamp Era, another underwhelming home opener for the Florida Gators.

Muschamp isn't the type to assign style points to a victory. The UF coach said simply about his team's 24-6 victory over Toledo on Saturday in front of 83,604 at The Swamp (about 10,000 less than the crowds who flock to SEC games) that winning by any score beats the alternative.

"The best thing about being 1-0 is you've got a chance to go 2-0," he said. "It's always good to get a win."

So let's ride the bottom-line along with Muschamp: it was Florida's 24th consecutive home-opener victory, the longest streak in the SEC by 10 games and a topped only by Nebraska's 27 openers in a row.

Toledo also wasn't your average MAC fodder. The Rockets were 9-4 last season, spent a week in the AP Top 25 and counted Arizona among its 2012 victories. Toledo returned almost all of its skill-position players and with their taste for playing up-tempo, with no huddles, Muschamp played it safe offensively to keep his defense from wilting.

"We did not want to take 80 or 90 snaps on defense," Muschamp said. "We wanted to run the ball, and we did."

Muschamp also may not have wanted to show Miami, the Gators' opponent next week, his entire playbook. So the plan was a steady diet of junior bulldozer Mack Brown at running back (25 carries, 112 yards, two TDs) and relatively safe passing plays for junior Jeff Driskel (17-of-22 for 153 yards).

Florida ran the ball on nine of its first 10 first-down plays, and on 26 of 31 for the game.

While effective, it certainly wasn't the usual opening Saturday fireworks that Gator fans have come to expect.

Consider the previous three Florida coaches. Steve Spurrier's teams averaged 51.9 points per opening game. Urban Meyer's teams averaged 44.5. Even the reviled Ron Zook lit up the teams who ventured into The Swamp to start the season at a clip of 52.3 points per game.

Muschamp's Gator teams are averaging 30.6 points per opening game. And more than one fan was unhappy with beating a MAC team by less than three touchdowns on the sweltering day, judging from scattered boos heard when UF began yet another possession with a handoff to Brown on first down. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.