Driskel unleashes ground game in win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With all eyes on Mike Gillislee after the statistics the senior running back has put up, quarterback Jeff Driskel decided to pounce. The Gators pounded the ball 34 times with Gillislee last week against LSU, and the Vanderbilt defense was ready for it again. Driskel used that mindset against them, burning the Commodores for a record-setting 177 yards on the ground.

After Tim Tebow left Gainesville as one of the most well known running quarterbacks in the country, Jeff Driskel decided to erase his name from the record books on Saturday in Nashville.

The 177 yards Driskel totaled on Saturday were more than any other quarterback ran for in Florida history.

"They were keying in on Gillislee all night, which they should," Driskel said. "He's had a great season. When two or three guys go for him, it opens up lanes. I had great blocking."

The blocking was so good at times that he ran freely in the secondary and wasn't touched. Driskel couldn't recall being touched on any of his three rushing touchdowns.

The last one served as the knockout blow, giving Driskel the record, as he completed a 70-yard touchdown run. He ran right and went untouched through the line. Despite members of the Vanderbilt secondary having angles on him, it didn't matter. Driskel simply outran them.

It's a part of his game that is becoming expected. Defenses underestimate the speed, and Driskel makes it hurt.

"It seems like sometimes they don't take as good of angles on me. Hopefully they keep doing the same thing. (Defensive backs) definitely don't expect me to run by them. So keep that a secret," Driskel said with a laugh to the media standing around him.

It wasn't a new play design or scheme that earned Driskel the open running lanes. The Gators didn't change much as the game continued. It was a simple read play where he read the defense keying on Gillislee and decided to keep it.

Open lanes seemed to follow whenever he did.

"We kept running really the same play," Driskel said. "They didn't make adjustments to it. If something is working, keep going to it. That's really what we did."

For the second week in a row, the throwing stats aren't impressive. Driskel went 11-for-20, throwing the ball for 77 yards. There were drops that kept him under the 100-yard plateau, but the sophomore didn't blame his teammates. The pass rush was heavier than normal because of three starters on the offensive line being hurt, but that didn't phase him either.

He adjusted. And he delivered an impressive performance on the ground.

"You always have to have good quarterback play," Driskel said. "I did feel like I needed to have a good game, which I do every game. We played well across the board."

While the rushing yards continue to tally up, the wins do, too. The Gators know they'll play a game that will dictate the offense throwing the ball. It could come next week when South Carolina makes the trip to Gainesville. Whenever it happens, Driskel and the Florida offense believe they'll be ready.

For now, it's about continuing to do what works.

"We're going to run the ball if it works," Driskel said. "It doesn't matter to me. We're 6-0 and getting great wins on the road."

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