Florida coach Urban Meyer demanded more big plays. He got them on both sides of the ball. Defensive tackle Marcus Thomas and safety Tony Joiner sparked a tremendous Florida defensive effort as the Gators held Central Florida to a single yard in the second quarter. Meanwhile, quarterbacks Chris Leak and Tim Tebow were equally outstanding in the opening stanza.
True freshman Percy Harvin had just scorched the Golden Knights with yet another big gainer, this time a 19 yard run on a shovel pass, but fumbled the ball away. Three plays later, Joiner popped Central Florida quarterback Stephen Moffett to the Florida Field turf stopping the Golden Knights drive and forcing a punt back to the Gators offense.
The offense failed to convert. Fear not, here comes the Gators defense.
On third and long, Thomas recorded the Gators first sack of the season for -11 yards on Moffett and put the offense back in business.
Another three and out.
Leak connected with Dallas Baker for 28 yards on the second play and Jemalle Cornelius for 16 yards on the following play. He then teamed with DeShawn Wynn and Percy Harvin moving the ball 12 more yards into the red zone. From the UCF 20, Leak found Wynn for 12 yards to the Golden Knights eight yard line before Wynn took the ball behind several outstanding blocks for Florida’s second score of the game.
The Florida offense was finally off to the races.
As UCF took their turn the Florida defense once again feasted on the Golden Knights to the tune of three and out. Meyer called for true freshman quarterback Tim Tebow to provide an additional spark- and Tebow delivered. Three runs by the fiery quarterback yielded 38 yards. He hit Kenneth Tookes for an 11 yard pass before handing the ball off to running back Kestahn Moore a 28 yard touchdown run, which gave the Gators a 20-0 lead.
Overall, Florida had 27 offensive big plays. Plays that went for ten yards or more and/or a touchdown. The Gators rolled up 274 yards of total offense in the second quarter alone.
Quarterback Chris Leak was outstanding. He hit on 19 of 29 passes for a career high 352 yards and four touchdowns. His numbers should have been even better as at least three of his passes were dropped.
Reserve Tim Tebow perfectly blended with Leak at a position world where the two-headed monster usually creates a huge ego problem. Tebow brings a different style that should drive defensive coordinators crazy and keep them up very late at night preparing for both..
We all knew what Percy Harvin brought to the table. This week Meyer unveiled another superstar freshman- Tampa native Jarred Fayson who had three carries for 28 yards.
Harvin, Baker, Caldwell hauled in four passes each, while Jemalle Cornelius, Cornelius Ingram, and David Nelson significantly add to the Gators lethal dose of wide receiver talent.
One guy doesn’t appear to be stepping up at the running back position, but DeShawnWynn, Kestahn Moore, and Mon Williams should each bring their respective strengths to the position.
All of this speed and talent adds up to big plays- and Florida certainly had plenty of that tonight.