After countless stories on the cancelled contest against Idaho, more talk about starting fresh after a disappointing 2013 season, and up-to-the minute checks on the weather, the Florida Gators finally opened up the season against Eastern Michigan Saturday afternoon. The Eagles came into Gainesville having defeated Morgan State last week 31-28.
FLORIDA 3, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0: Customary with the Will Muschamp-led Gators, the defense set the tone, forcing a three-and-out on Eastern Michigan’s opening drive. Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper’s new offense was as advertised, moving up the field quickly through the air and ground for a 16-play, 63-yard drive that ended in a 33-yard field goal completion by Frankie Velez with 6:44 left in the first quarter.
FLORIDA 10, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0: A fumble recovery by defensive lineman Caleb Brantley provided Florida with a short field with the Gators offense taking over Eastern Michigan’s 31 yard line. Running back Kelvin Taylor would burst through the line for a 31-yard touchdown run. Velez’s successful extra point would put Florida up by 10 with 6 minutes remaining.
FLORIDA 17, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0: Receiving the ball after another EMU three-and-out, Florida attacked the Eagles’ secondary on the first play, which led to a defensive pass interference. The following play, running back Matt Jones broke off a 40-yard run up the middle for the Gators’ second rushing touchdown of the day. Velez scored the point after with 4:48 remaining.
FLORIDA 24, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0: Three rushes and a nine-yard completion from Jeff Driskel to Quinton Dunbar would put Florida near midfield, where the two would link up on a 42-yard pass to Dunbar. Two plays later, running back Brandon Powell would rush 12 yards the Gators’ third touchdown of the half. Velez would complete the point after with 13:49 remaining.
FLORIDA 27, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0: Florida ran a 10-play, 25 yard drive that included five rushes and two screen passes. However, a holding penalty would set the Gators back 10 yards. Driskel would find Demarcus Robinson for a 10-yard play, but the team would settle for a 36-yard Velez field goal with 6:30 remaining.
Florida 30, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0: The Gators started out at their 29-yard line, moving through the air. Tight end Clay Burton had most of the catches on the drive, with four. While Florida got down the field, the drive would stall around the Eagles’ 12-yard-line with two consecutive incomplete passes. Velez would kick a 29-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the half.
Halftime Score: FLORIDA 30, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0
Halftime Superlatives: Jeff Driskel- 22-33, 178 yards; Matt Jones- 7 carries, 61 yards, TD; Kelvin Taylor- 4 carries, 41 yards, TD.
FLORIDA 37, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0: Florida would open up the quarter with a 15-yard run by Kelvin Taylor, following it up with two passes to move the chains for another Florida first down. Driskel would find Robinson for an 11-yard reception and the team would continue to mix it up with runs and short passes, moving inside the Eagles’ 10-yard line. Matt Jones would run for a four-yard touchdown and a Velez extra point added to the Gators’ total with 9:18 left.
FLORIDA 44, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0: Wide receiver Andre Debose’s 55-yard punt return gave initially gave Florida great field position; however, a sideline interference penalty moved Florida back to the EMU 20. A six-yard Taylor run capped off a three-play, 20 yard drive. Velez completed the point after with 3:33 remaining in the third.
FLORIDA 51, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0: Florida’s defense gave Eastern Michigan headaches all day, pressuring the quarterback and controlling the line of scrimmage. The pressure would result in an interception by true freshman cornerback Duke Dawson, who returned it for a touchdown, the first interception touchdown return by a true freshman in Gator history.
FLORIDA 58, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0: Freshman quarterback Treon Harris entered the game in the fourth quarter and had a memorable first play, connecting with Robinson for a 70-yard touchdown pass. Velez completed the point after with 14:47 remaining.
FLORIDA 65, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0: After the defense forced another three-and-out, the Gators would use three plays to score as Harris connected with Mark Herndon on a 78-yard touchdown pass. Velez’s extra point completion with 12:08 remaining would be the team’s final points of the game.
Final Score: FLORIDA 65, EASTERN MICHIGAN 0
Final Superlatives: Jeff Driskel- 31-45, 248 yards, TD; Treon Harris- 2-2, 148 yards, 2 TDs; Kelvin Taylor- 8 carries, 68 yards, 2 TDs; Matt Jones- 8 carries, 65 yards, TD; Clay Burton- 7 receptions, 42 yards; Demarcus Robinson- 6 receptions, 123 yards, TD; Quinton Dunbar- 5 receptions, 81 yards.