Rapid Reaction: Florida pulls away in second half to thump UT Martin 45-0
Florida started slow, leading only 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, but eventually cruised to a lopsided 45-0 victory over UT Martin. It wasn’t a record-setting night in The Swamp by any means, but the Gators took care of business to get to 2-0 going into SEC play.
Gators coach Dan Mullen called a game in the first half where it looked like he wanted to directly address the issues that were evident in the Miami game, such as run blocking, which is an area where improvement is still needed when UF gets back to facing FBS defenses that won’t wear down easily.
In the first half, RB1 Lamical Perine was limited to 22 rushing yards on six carries. Feleipe Franks, Malik Davis and Dameon Pierce helped lift the overall rushing effort to 83 yards on 16 carries for the half, boosted largely by a 22-yard run by Franks. In the second half, Davis and Perine found the orange end zones.
After a quiet first quarter, Florida scored its first touchdown in the second quarter, a 69-yard pass play from Q Feleipe Franks to WR Van Jefferson. It was an absolute dime from the redshirt junior.
— InAllKindsOfWeather.com 🍑🏆 (@AllKindsWeather) September 8, 2019
Franks started the game 15-of-15, throwing his first incompletion on a Hail Mary to the end zone to end the first half after the refs put: 02 on the clock after initially signaling the end of the half. He also had a first-half touchdown pass to Tyrie Cleveland.
On defense, Florida’s tackling looked better even with many freshmen playing in the first half. The defensive line was able to predictably get consistent pressure on the UM Martin offensive line. The nature of the game allowed Florida to get some freshmen some playing time. Newcomers Chester Kimbrough, Jaydon Hill and Khris Bogle all made noticeable first-half contributions. In the second half, freshman DB Kaiir Elam intercepted his first pass, an impressive catch in the end zone.
The questions leftover from the Miami game were not going to be answered against an FCS team. At the end of Saturday’s game, the biggest questions are the status of the No. 1s. Kadarius Toney and CJ Henderson both left the game with injuries and did not return. Henderson was observed using crutches and sporting a boot on the sideline in the second half. Losing either player would be a big loss for the Gators heading into SEC play, which starts with a Week 3 trip to Kentucky.