Florida Stomps San Jose State

Defense and special teams prove Gators aren't ready to be brushed aside....

For now, forget about the questions. Forget about the quarterback controversy. Forget the youth-laden roster that faced countless preseason questions.

Because everything Florida's season opener against San Jose State was supposed to be, all the hype and all the drama included, stepped aside for another show.

In a critic-silencing statement, the Gators' defense embarrassed the Spartans' offense 65-3 on Saturday in front of 90,011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

"I was very excited about the defense," Florida coach Ron Zook said. "[San Jose State] was a good offensive football team."

Saturday, the Spartans didn't show it.

Among the highlights, the Gators' defense blocked a punt and returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

But it wasn't as though the offense struggled – they racked up 512 total yards. And it's not as if the young Gators didn't make plays – 29 rookies saw action.

Instead, the defensive and special teams units simply performed far better than everyone, players included, expected.

"We wanted to come out here and make it as easy as we could on those young quarterbacks," Zook said.

And they did.

Three quarterbacks, including former Lincoln High standout Gavin Dickey, threw the first touchdown passes of their careers.

While Zook said Ingle Martin likely earned the role as next week's starter, the probability of a rotating quarterback system will clearly remain the plan.

"There's no question Ingle played a great game," Zook said. "He doesn't get too excited. He just does what he has to do."

Martin finished the game 14-of-23 for 196 yards. And despite Zook's praise, Martin wasn't as impressed with himself.

"I wasn't pleased at all," Martin said. "I had a lot of guys open tonight, and I think if I would have hit half of them, we would have had at least one more touchdown."

Trailing closely behind Martin, and proving the rotations will go on, was freshman Chris Leak. Leak completed 10 of his 14 attempts for 111 yards.

Dickey only played quarterback in the fourth quarter. He completed 3-of-4, but threw the game's only interception.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with playing more than one quarterback," said Zook, who made his first quarterback change after the second series. "Sometimes last year, I wish I had someone to settle Rex [Grossman] down."

Overall, it couldn't have gone much better for the Gators heading into its rematch with Miami. Not only did Florida score more points than it ever has under Zook, it had standout performances from several individuals.

Seniors Ran Carthon and Kelvin Kight each scored two touchdowns, and senior safety Guss Scott returned an interception for a touchdown, recovered a fumble and batted down two passes.

"We showed that we still have that senior leadership," Carthon said. "We showed that this team is for real."


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