Notebook: McElwain emotional about Davis accident

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Florida's Tyrie Cleveland (89) makes a 49-yard catch late in the first half Saturday against Vanderbilt at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Suspended Florida junior defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis was involved in a scooter accident earlier this week.

Florida coach Jim McElwain visited Davis in the hospital Friday. While McElwain said that Davis’ injuries aren’t life threatening, McElwain got choked up talking about the 6-foot-3, 243-pound former Miami Central High standout following UF’s 38-24 win over Vanderbilt.

“Those scooters,” McElwain said. “Just feel bad for him. He’s beat up pretty good, has had a couple of surgeries already. Nothing life threatening, but he’s got a long road ahead.”

According to sworn complaints from the State Attorney’s office released Monday, Davis was one of nine UF players involved in a credit card fraud scheme of transferring money from stolen credit card numbers into their UF bookstore accounts. All nine players, who include wide receiver Antonio Callaway and running back Jordan Scarlett, have been suspended since the beginning of the season.

“I feel for him,” Florida sophomore receiver Freddie Swain said. “No matter what he did, he’s a teammate, he’s a brother. Just praying for him.”

Cleveland injures ankle

Florida sophomore wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland rolled his left ankle in the third quarter against Vanderbilt while making a block on a running play. Cleveland had two catches for 67 yards before leaving the game.

“I don’t know if he’ll go this week (against LSU),” McElwain said. “I would think it would be one that you’d want to go play in, but time will tell.”

Florida linebacker Kylan Johnson returned to action after missing UF’s previous two games against Kentucky and Tennessee with a hamstring injury. Johnson had three tackles.

“It was good to see him out there,” McElwain said.

McElwain said defensive lineman Khairi Clark was limited throughout the game with a calf issue.

“We need to get him healthy,” McEwain said. “In saying that, we had some young guys in there that I thought did an outstanding job.”

Fourth-down magic

Florida went 3-for-3 on fourth-down conversions against Vanderbilt. The biggest came with 1:49 remaining in the game, when Florida freshman running back Malik Davis broke through the line and raced 39 yards for the clinching touchdown to put the Gators up 38-24.

Florida running back Lamical Perine converted the other two fourth-down conversions. With the conversions, the Gators improved to 7 of 9 (77.8 percent) on fourth down for the season.

“In those situations, I’ve got total trust and confidence in those guys,” McElwain said. “We’re gonna continue to do that and that’s just the way it’s gonna be. You know what, they’re not gonna come to the sideline. We’re gonna go for it.”

Gators corral Webb

While the Gators struggled in the secondary against Vanderbilt, Florida’s front seven was able to keep Vanderbilt senior running Ralph Webb in check. Webb, a former Gainesville High standout, finished with just 29 yards on 11 carries.

“We did a great job of making them one dimensional early,” Florida sophomore linebacker David Reese said. “We stopped the run early.”

Webb had averaged 114 yards rushing in his prior two meeting against the Gators. Webb’s best run of the afternoon came on a nine-yard run in which he knocked back Florida sophomore safety Chauncey Gardner. But on the next play, Webb was stopped for a three-yard loss when Florida freshman defensive lineman Tedarrell Slaton broke through the line and tackled Webb in the backfield.

Swain’s diving catch

Swain came up with a highlight-reel play late in the third quarter when he stayed with a ball tipped by a Vanderbilt defender for a 33-yard, diving catch down to Vanderbilt’s two-yard line. The former North Marion standout said the play was instinctive.

“That, and it was me just running and trying to make a play and not giving up,” Swain said.

Gators tie NCAA record

When Perine scored on a one-yard TD run in the first quarter, Florida moved into the NCAA record books.

It marked the 365th straight game that Florida has scored, tying Michigan (1984-2014) for most consecutive games without being shut out.

The last time Florida was shut out was Oct. 30, 1988 against Auburn. The Gators lost 16-0.

Etc …

Captains for the game were senior wide receiver Brandon Powell, Swain, senior defensive lineman Jordan Sherit and junior defensive lineman Taven Bryan. … Florida’s 2016 SEC champion volleyball team and 2017 SEC champion softball team were recognized on the field during the game. Florida softball pitcher Kelly Barnhill also was recognized for being named the NCAA’s pitcher of the year for the 2017 season. … With an 11-yard reception in the second quarter, Powell eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving for his UF career. … Tight end Moral Stephens had a career-high 45 yards receiving on two catches. … Sept. 30, 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of integration in SEC football. Florida’s first African-American player to appear in a game was Willie Jackson Sr., while the first African-American player to sign a scholarship with the Gators was Leonard George. … McElwain improved to 16-3 in SEC games, tying Steve Spurrier for the best start in conference play in school history. … The announced attendance was 84,478.

 

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