GAINESVILLE, Fla. — This adventure against a team called the Eagles sure went better than the last one.
Florida junior QB Jeff Driskel passed for 248 yards and a touchdown as the Gators shut out the overmatched Eastern Michigan Eagles by a blowout 65-0 margin in a non-conference game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The 65 points for the Gators is the most for the program in a single game since the 2008 season, and the most scored during Will Muschamp’s tenure at Florida. And it’s Florida’s largest shutout pitched since a 65-0 defeat of Kentucky, which occurred back in 1996.
Driskel completed 31-of-45 pass attempts for the Gators, setting career highs in both completions and attempts. Treon Harris tallied 148 yards and two touchdowns on his only two pass attempts. Sophomore WR Demarcus Robinson caught six passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, and Kelvin Taylor rushed eight times for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
EMU QB Brogan Roback was one of three quarterbacks who took snaps for the Eagles, completing 5-of-10 pass attempts for just 29 yards.
Gators kicker Francisco Velez converted a 33-yard field goal to put the Gators on the board midway through the opening quarter.
Less than a minute later, the Gators recovered a fumble on defense and then the offense came on the field and sophomore RB Kelvin Taylor’s 31-yard touchdown run put them on top 10-0.
Florida Junior RB Matt Jones added another score with a 40-yard touchdown run with 4:48 left in the first quarter.
Early in the second, freshman RB Brandon Powell made it 24-0 after a 12-yard touchdown run. Francisco Velez made another field goal midway through the quarter, this one from 36 yards out.
Matt Jones caught a four-yard pass from Driskel for his second touchdown on the day, this one just under six minutes into the second half.
Late in the third quarter, Kelvin Taylor ran in his second touchdown, extending Florida’s lead to 44-0.
Freshman defensive back Duke Dawson intercepted Eagles backup quarterback Rob Bolden on his first pass attempt less than a minute later, and ran it back 36 yards for yet another score, making it 51-0.
In the first minute of the fourth quarter, true freshman and backup QB Treon Harris came in the game and on his first pass threw a 70-yard bomb to Demarcus Robinson for a touchdown. Harris then one-upped his first completion just over two minutes later by connecting with RB Mark Herndon on a 78-yard scoring strike.
Florida held Eastern Michigan to a measly 125 total offensive yards in the game, while the Gators compiled 655 total yards of offense in the crushing victory in new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper’s debut.
This win felt different then most do early in the season to overmatched teams that come into the Swamp to get taken to the woodshed. It felt like a huge weight was lifted off of the shoulders of a program that was in the midst of a dumpster fire.
The Florida Gators now look ahead to next Saturday night when it hosts an up-and-coming Kentucky Wildcats team (2-0) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the SEC Network at 7:30 pm EST.