The Florida defense gave up a few yards in that first quarter- very few. The Golden Knights picked up most of their yardage on their first two possessions. The Gators flat shut them down afterward. They pounded their visitors from Orlando until the offense caught fire.
When they caught fire it was of the five alarm variety.
Team Florida bonded and unleashed a second quarter storm that vanquished any pre-game discussion UCF coach George O'Leary might have had with his troops about shocking the college football world and making a name for themselves nationally.
Gone are the days when three or four guys make plays for the Florida defense. An experienced front four should make plays. But, they don't always play as well with the reserves. These guys pick-up after each other regardless of who steps into the game- and that is the mark of a great team. A great defensive team. Certainly, when the coaches emptied the benches in order to give the younger guys some playing time, the experience factor went right to the bench.
The Team Florida defense shut out the Golden Knights and forced them to punt nine times. They allowed just 132 yards rushing on sixty plays for a paltry 2.55 yards per play. They held UCF to a pitiful 3 of 16 third down conversion rate and 1 of 4 on fourth down.
Offensively, Team Florida secured 637 yards of total offense while averaging 8.6 yards per play. They converted 11 of 14 first down opportunities. Both quarterbacks picked up each other and played very well. The offensive line looked much improved after week one. And what can you say about a group of backs and receivers who ran by Golden Knights defenders and made plays.
The Gators have a lot of experience and even those that don't have experience possess superior speed, quickness, speed, athleticism, speed and coaching. Did I fail to mention speed?
Could it have been much more obvious?
It didn't really matter which side of the ball- the Gators dominated with speed. Marcus Thomas made life a living hell for the Central Florida interior offensive line. Huh. He did much of the same thing to the Florida offensive line minus Jim Tartt last month in practice. I think it safe to say the Golden Knights haven't seen many defenders run like Jarvis Moss, Derrick Harvey, and a few members of the Florida secondary.
Things were even worse on the opposite side of the ball. It was all too obvious that the Central Florida defense hadn't seen speed and quickness like that of Percy Harvin, Andre Caldwell, Jarred Fayson, Jemalle Cornelius, and others before.
Make no mistake- teamwork and speed were the keys to Florida's victory Saturday night. Making them a consistent part of each Saturday is the job of the Florida coaches and the leaders of Team Florida.