The No. 4 ranked Florida Gators were looking forward to continuing their dominance on offense heading into the 2010 College Football season without Tim Tebow at quarterback. Their first test began Saturday as they faced Miami (Ohio) at the Swamp in their season opener.
After the first half of play, it appears as though they still have a lot of work to do. Despite just getting 212 yards of total offense, the Gators managed to eke out a 34-12 win in the new John Brantley era. Florida was backed by their defensive play to keep them from suffering a devastating upset. The Gator defense recorded 4 interceptions and made several red-zone stops to get the win.
The Gator offense dealt with a bunch of fumbles and bad snaps in the center-quarterback exchange that led to their disappointing performance. Brantley finished the day completing 17 of 25 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. But the offense did not come alive until late in the game. Their longest play from scrimmage was a 10-yard pass completion to Omarius Hines until Jeff Demps’ 72-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t imagine the offense’s incompetence that we experienced today,” Head coach Urban Meyer said.
Of the Gators 212 total yards, 187 of them came in the final 13 minutes. Through three quarters, they had just 25 total yards and -16 rushing yards. The miscues on offense were abundant the entire game. They had eight fumbles, three turnovers and the offensive line had problems as well. Brantley knows they must turn things around quickly.
“It’d be tough to win with those turnovers against an SEC school,” Brantley said.
The RedHawks took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter on 33 yard field goal by Trevor Cook. The Gators responded early in the second on a 67 yard interception return for a touchdown by Jamoris Jenkins to take a 7-3 lead. Hines then hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass and Trey Burton added a 2-yard touchdown run to give the Gators a 21-3 lead. The Redhawks would get another field goal to close out the first half to cut the Gators lead to 21-6.
Cook would add his third field goal of the game midway through the third and then his fourth to open the fourth quarter to bring Miami (Ohio) within 9. Demps would then put the game away on his 72-yard touchdown run to put the Gators up 27-12. Chris Rainey would put the final nail in the coffin with 1:21 remaining on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Brantley.
The Gators offense is probably the reason they did not live up to NCAA Football sportsbooks’ prediction of being 30 1/2 point favorites over the RedHawks. The Gators will face a much tougher test next Saturday as they host South Florida.