Murphy comfortable in first start

The preparation didn't change for Tyler Murphy. He has been preparing for every game as a starter in recent years, so last week didn't provide much of a difference. His play on the field showed it. The junior quarterback was in command of the Florida offense, checking plays at the line of scrimmage and making throws down the field when they were open.

He opened the game 11-for-11 through the air, throwing for 120 yards and one touchdown while adding a rushing touchdown. Murphy became the first Florida quarterback to open a game 11-for-11 since Tim Tebow did it in Florida's 2010 Sugar Bowl win over Cincinnati.

His knowledge of the offense is easy to see and has cleaned up Florida's issues on offense before he took over under center.

Since Jeff Driskel's injury put Murphy on the field against Tennessee, Florida is 7-for-7 in the red zone with six touchdowns and one field goal.

"Outstanding," Florida head coach Will Muschamp said of Murphy's composure. "I mean really good. He's a very cerebral kid and he's very smart, he gets the game. I think we've done a good job, I think (offensive coordinator) Brent (Pease) did a really good job of putting him in some good situations. We checked everything at the run game based on the look that they were a three-down and four-down team.

"Just really proud of his performance, he continues to improve and gain confidence in his play. Our football team has always had confidence in him, this coaching staff has always had confidence in him but he really played well."

Murphy showed that knowledge before snaps. Muschamp and Pease allowed him to check plays at the line of scrimmage, depending on the look the Kentucky defense put on the field. Before running back Matt Jones ripped off a 67-yard run, Murphy flipped the play to a run left instead of a run right because of what the Gators saw on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

"It felt good, especially having all the guys supporting me and having my back," Tyler Murphy said. "They are very encouraging. They said, ‘just do what you do, don't try to do too much.' We have a good defense and special teams. It was a good team win today."

That was the message from the coaches, too. They didn't want Murphy to feel like the outcome of the game was on his shoulders. The Florida defense played well again -- allowing only a touchdown on a fake field goal -- and shut down the Wildcats to in the second half to help the Gators run out the clock.

Murphy showed off his ability throughout the game, even leading the Gators on a 13-play, 93-yard dive to open the game and take a 7-0 lead. He hit Trey Burton for a touchdown in the back of the end zone later in the half before capping it off with a rushing touchdown of his own.

There nerves were there a little more than normal. Against Tennessee, Driskel was the starter, and there wasn't much of a different feel to the pregame for Murphy. But on Saturday, he practiced and warmed up as the team's starter.

"I had a few nerves just like every game," Murphy said. "I was able to hand off the ball to Matt Jones and throw a swing route to get the offense going. I was then able to settle down. I felt really calm as I had the support of my teammates. They made my job real easy."

The goal was to simplify Murphy's job, and the offensive game plan did that. Once Florida had the lead in hand during the second half, the Gators went to a run-heavy offense and didn't go away from it because of the push the offensive line was getting. They rode Matt Jones for 28 carries and trusted to the defense to secure the win.

"We want to win -- that's the bottom line," Muschamp said. "(Murphy) put us in a position to be successful, in and out of the right run game based on what they were giving us. He put the ball in the right spots in the throwing game and was very accurate.

"I think he just played outstanding."


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