Bama Throttles Florida, 38-10
Alabama surrendered a 60-yard touchdown on the first offensive play of the game, a fast start indeed for Florida. But the Crimson Tide, not really slow, stayed steady and trounced the Gators, 38-10, in Gainesville Saturday.
Alabama improved to 5-0 on the season and 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play with the victory over 12th ranked Florida. The Gators fell to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in conference games.
Alabama continues in SEC play next Saturday when the Crimson Tide hosts Vanderbilt for Homecoming. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m. CDT from Bryant-Denny Stadium.
A rocky start to the game was put on kilter by the Gators. It took two kickoffs to start the game (both teams committed a penalty on the first and on the re-kick Alabama kicked off out of bounds, giving the Gators the ball at the 35. Florida had a false start, and then John Brantley found Andre Debose behind Dre Kirkpatrick on a 60-yard touchdown play. Only 19 seconds had elapsed in the game, and the Gators had a 7-0 lead after Caleb Sturgis kicked the extra point.
Alabama's offense responded with a good drive, but faltered in the Red Zone, having to settle for a field goal. Bama marched to the Gators 14 in nine plays, Trent Richardson picking up 34 yards on five rushes and A.J. McCarron completing two passes to Michael Williams for 10 yards and one to Kenny Bell for seven yards. But then McCarron had a pass for Marquis Maze broken upa busted play on which he got a pass to Bell in the end zone that was dropped, and overthrew Darius Hanks in the end zone.
With 9:47 to play in the first quarter, Jeremy Shelley kicked a 32-yard field goal to pull the Tide to 7-3.
Florida wasn't getting much out of the running game, but the Gators passed it down to the Tide four-yard line. After two incomplete passes, Sturgis kicked a 21-yard field goal and Florida was up by 10-3 with 5:19 to play.
A Marquis Maze runback with the ensuing kickoff went for 70 yards to the Florida 29, From there the Tide got a five-yard touchdown run from Trent Richardson, Bama having to overcome two costly red zone penalties. The big play in overcoming a holding call was an `8-yard screen to Maze to the one. After an illegal substitution call and an incomplete pass, Richardson took it in from the five and Shelley kicked it to a 10-10 tie with 52 seconds left in the first quarter.
The game was beginning to settle into a "Florida pass can't be stopped, Alabama run can't be stopped" affair, but then Bama stopped a pass. The Gators had driven to the Tide 43. Courtney Upshaw got a sack for seven yards. After a semi-busted play on which Brantley had to try a run lost a couple, Brantley tried an inside screen to Trey Burton. Upshaw stepped in front of the pass and returned it 45 yards for an Alabama touchdown. With 12:57 remaining in the second quarter, Bama had taken the lead at 17-10.
Alabama increased its lead to 24-10 with a 10-play, 61-yard drive that ended with McCarron sneaking in on a first-and-goal from the one. McCarron had completed a 16-yard third down pass to H-back Brad Smelley and a 22-yard quick screen to Richardson in the drive.
Florida had one final chance for points on a potentially costly drive. The Gators drove from the Florida 34 to the Alabama 15 with just over a minute and a half remaining in the first half. After a running play gained a yard, Brantley was sacked on consecutive plays by Alex Watkins (11 yards) and Upshaw (10 yards) the Gators had to attempt a 52-yard field goal. It missed and with five seconds remaining, the Tide was satisfied to take its two touchdown lead to the dressing room.
Waiting for his teammates in the Florida dressing room was Brantley, who had to be helped from the field and went directly to the locker room after the sack by Upshaw. Freshman Jeff Driskel took over in the second half for Florida at quarterback.
Alabama received the kickoff to start the second half, but neither Bama nor Florida could do anything with it. Each team had three punts in the third quarter, the last putting Bama back at its eight yard line with just 2:52 to play in the period.
Alabama turned that into a 92-yard touchdown drive with Richardson going the last 36 over right guard on a third-and-short situation with 12:25 remaining in the game. The 11-play march took 5:27 and gave the Crimson Tide a 31-10 lead.
Driskel fumbled a snap that was recovered by Bama's Nico Johnson at the Florida 36. It took just four plays -- a couple of them Richardson out of wildcat formation -- to increase the Bama lead to 38-10. Back-up tailback Eddie Lacy went the last 20 yards for the touchdown with 8:45 remaining in the game and the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium exits very busy and stayed that way until the end of the game.
Alabama dominated statistically. The Tide had 21 first downs (14 rush, 6 pass, 1 penalty) to only 9 for the Gators (1 rush, 7 pass, 1 penalty).
Alabama had 226 yards rushing to 15 for the Gators. Florida had 207 yards passing on 14 of 23 completions with one interception. Bama had 12-25 passing for 140 yards and no interceptions.
In total offense, the Tide had 68 plays for 366 yards, an average of 5.4 yards per play. The Gators had 52 plays for 222 yards, an average of 4.3 per play.
Florida fumbled four times, losing one. Alabama did not have a fumble.
The Tide was penalized three times for 29 yards, Florida four for 20.
Alabama had nearly a 10 minute advantage in time of possession, 34:41 to 25:19.
Alabama's offensive leaders were Richardson with 29 rushes for 181 yards and two touchdowns (an average of 6.2 yards per carry) and he also had two receptions for 27 yards, a total of 208 all purpose yards. Tight end Michael Williams had three catches for 32 yards and Marquis Maze had two for 36 yards. A.J. McCarron completed 12-25 passes for 140 yards with no interceptions.
Cody Mandell punted five times for a 39.8 average.
Defensively, Courtney Upshaw had four tackles, including three for losses totaling 21 yards, and intercepted a pass which he returned 46 yards for a touchdown. Nico Johnson had four tackles and a fumble recovery that led to a Tide touchdown. Dont'a Hightower also had four tackles.
Florida's high-powered offense didn't deliver much after the first pass of the game. Quarterback John Brantley completed 11 of 16 passes for 190 yards, but his back-up, Jeff Driskel was good on only 2-6 for 14 yards. The running duo of Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey was ineffective. Demps had only three rushes for four yards, while Rainey got his four yards on 11 carries.
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