It’s weird to say with such joy, but: the Florida Gators are going bowling.
On senior day in the Swamp, Florida crushed hapless Eastern Kentucky 52-3 to get their sixth win of the year. Without the Idaho game to bolster the record, Florida now sits at 6-4 for the year. Again, it’s kind of sad to be relieved to clinch bowl eligibility, but… I’m relieved.
Jeff Driskel actually threw for more yards than Treon Harris did, but by the time he came into the game, it was all over, courtesy of two Harris TD passes and a nifty run by Kelvin Taylor. Harris looked good for most of the game, hitting several deep balls and putting some nice touch on the intermediate routes that have to be perfect. He did under throw Quinton Dunbar on one deep ball, but Dunbar adjusted, caught it, broke a tackle and scored anyway.
Defensively, it was a joke. Eastern Kentucky got a long field goal off a 36 drive that started at their own 30; aside from that, the Gator defense was flawless. Eastern Kentucky never scored again, and didn’t even really threaten to. The Colonels were held to 142 yards of total offense. That’s a damned good last defensive performance by Will Muschamp’s group.
In any case, it was no surprise that Florida blew Eastern Kentucky out of the water in a fashion that was only slightly less convincing than what we did to Eastern Michigan. Then again, Florida did lose to Georgia Southern last year… But this is a much better team than the glorified hospital ward the Gators rolled out last year. And that gives us hope looking forward, both next year and more importantly for now, next week.
Florida State appears to be obscenely overrated. The Noles have struggled every week against even the worst of their opponents. Yet they find ways to win every week, kind of like Florida did in 2009. This is a decent FSU team, but decent is about equivalent to being about the fifth or sixth best team in the SEC. The Gators may not be world beaters, but I am convinced that they can beat FSU if they play their best game. Treon Harris is throwing the ball with some confidence, the running game is beginning to flourish and the defense is playing better football now than they were in September and October. And hey, this team has nothing to lose, while FSU has literally everything to lose. Just like in 2004.
There’s much more to come during the week about the big rivalry game. For now, let’s just enjoy the fact that we’ll be playing around Christmastime.