Ankle doesn't slow Driskel's performance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As the medication wore off at the end of the game and Jeff Driskel started to feel his ankle sprain more, the Florida quarterback welcomed the pain. The real damage had already been delivered on the field while the Gators were running out the clock for a 37-26 win. It would have taken much more than Driskel's ankle sprain to keep the sophomore quarterback off the field.

"In a game like this, a little ankle injury can't be an issue," Jeff Driskel said. "You have to be able to play through that. Everybody is playing through injury. A little ankle sprain isn't going to hold me out of a game like this."

Driskel said the ankle felt better after every day of treatment since it happened on November 10 against Louisiana. He was spotted on the sideline against Jacksonville State without any noticeable brace or tape on the ankle.

When the Gators took the field to warm up on Saturday in Doak Campbell Stadium, Driskel wasn't out with the first group of quarters. He emerged with the rest of the team closer to game time with a brace on the ankle.

"It felt good tonight," Driskel said. "I had a lot of adrenaline going. Near the end, it started to wear off and I started to feel it, but I'm fine."

Florida head coach Will Muschamp complimented Driskel's work ethic throughout the week to spend time in the training room and continue to get treatment on the injured ankle. Muschamp, noting that the sophomore was between 85-90 percent healthy, also said that growing up instate helped Driskel have an understanding of the rivalry and make it even more important for him to be on the field.

He fought through the injury to go 15-23 for 147 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He added 39 positive yards rushing on the night.

"Jeff is a tough kid," Will Muschamp said. "He wanted to play this game. It was important to him to play."

The Florida offense came out with a plan to be aggressive. It accounted for 13 points in the first half although the Gators were dominating the game.

"We got the ball moving and picked up some first downs and big plays," Driskel said. "It's huge. We kept our defense off the field. We took a shot to start the game but just wanted to show that we're here, and we're going to take shots."

Just as it has multiple times this season, the Gators took advantage of a tired defense in the second half. The goal of the offense is to possess the ball and wear down the defense on the other side of the line of scrimmage. It showed again in the second half when Mike Gillislee and Matt Jones had a field day.

It wasn't much of a surprise for the Florida offense. Despite Florida State being the top statistical rush defense in the country, the Gators ran for 244 yards.

"We physically beat them down," Driskel said. "We wore them down and kept going back to our run game because we knew that eventually they were going to pop.

The fourth quarter served as a celebration. Once the Gators took a comfortable lead, the sideline spent the last half of the fourth quarter in celebration. When the clock went to all zeros, the Gators held their own party in the corner of the stadium in front of the Florida band and section of fans.

The rest of the stadium was empty.

"When we go on the road, that's always our game—empty the stadium," Driskel said. "That's what we did. We're happy to come out of here with a win."

The Notre Dame win on Saturday night eliminated Florida from possibly playing for a national championship. The bowl matchup won't be determined until Sunday, but Driskel is confident in his team no matter who they face.

"Nobody wants to see us right now."

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