The Dan Mullen era of Gator football began in dominating fashion. Florida throttled an over-matched Charleston Southern team 53-6; that final score was not indicative of how much of a rout this game truly was.
In what looked like more of a glorified scrimmage between a varsity and a junior varsity, the Gators jumped out to a 38-0 halftime lead and never looked back.
The Gators offense was nothing short of fantastic.
Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks threw five first half touchdowns and finished the game with 219 yards passing. Perhaps most importantly, Franks did not commit a turnover.
A big story this off-season was how much of an impact transfers Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes make at the wide receiver position? Well, in game one for the orange and blue, they did not disappoint.
Grimes and Jefferson combined for seven catches for 84 yards and three touchdowns in their Florida debuts.
The Florida passing game has a whole was terrific. Florida had 10 different players record at least one reception and all told the Gators threw for 241 yards.
The Gator ground attack was not as sharp, but Florida still ended up rushing for 203 yards and a touchdown.
Florida was led on the ground by true-freshman tailback Dameon Pierce who carried the ball eight times for 75 yards, all in the second half.
Just as it was the debut of Dan Mullen, it was also the debut of new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
Grantham’s defense was smothering in the first half as the Gators didn’t allow even a first down to Charleston Southern until late in the second quarter. The Gators defense forced three turnovers and was in the Charleston Southern backfield all night.
The Gator defense did this without the services of defensive end CeCe Jefferson, who was out due to suspension, and linebacker David Reese who was held out with an injury.
It is important not to lose sight of what Saturday night was in Gainesville.
This was a paycheck game for Charleston Southern. If Florida did not win this game by 40 plus points, there would have been cause for concern among the Gator Nation. Florida did what it was expected to do and what it was supposed to do.
The challenge will become significantly tougher for Florida next Saturday as Kentucky comes to Gainesville for both teams SEC opener.
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