Mark Thompson part of dangerous Gators' backfield

The Gators earned their first shutout since 2014 Saturday night against North Texas, 32-0.  There is no question that the Gator defense was on point, only allowing North Texas 53 yards and racking up seven sacks; but parts of the Gator offense really caught some eyes as well. 

The running backs played well. For the first time since September 2003, Florida had four different running backs rush for a touchdown. Mark Thompson counted for the most yards on the night at 85 and one touchdown.

It seems that when it looks like one is going to come in and separate from the pack, all of the other backs follow up.  There is strength in this ground game, and they all continue to build each other up as a team. 

“It’s exciting because when someone does well, it gets everyone else rowdy and everyone else pumped up,” Thompson said.  “So when I see Lamical score a touchdown, Cronkrite score a touchdown, Scarlett score a touchdown, that makes me want to score a touchdown.  And that’s just points, on points, on points, and that’s what you need to win.”

This new running game may be exciting, but there is still a lot to work on as the season goes forward.  Next weekend Florida will finally see some competitive play against Tennessee.  Thompson said for this upcoming week, it is crucial to watch film and also begin to really finish their drives.

“When we’re in the red zone, we need to finish drives,” Thompson said.  “That’s the key thing.  We’re in the red zone a lot and no matter what happens we just don’t get into the end zone, and we have to.  We have to finish every drive because it’s going to be crucial in conference play.”

A shot to Luke Del Rio’s knee by the Mean Green threw him out of the game and backup quarterback Austin Appleby right in.  Just as Gator Nation began to stand behind Del Rio, this was a huge worry with Tennessee just around the corner.  Although every player and coach McElwain have no worries in the world about it.  If Del Rio cannot return, they may have lost a great leader, but they are just as completely confident and comfortable with Appleby.

“Because Luke went down, that’s nothing to worry about,” Thompson said.  “Austin has a handle, we have a handle, Coach Mac and Coach Nuss have a handle, so we’re not worried about it.”

Thompson said the Gator’s ground game and passing game go hand in hand this season as they both are able to pick each other up.  Looking forward: The Gators have no worries heading into Tennessee.

“It helps us out because the ground game opens up the air game and the air game opens up the ground game.  So if we play successful on the ground, eventually we’ll play successfully in the passing game.”


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