Burton shines on a night of crazy 8s
Published: Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 11:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 11:30 p.m.
Next week is about the four-letter word.
You know, Bama.
Saturday night was about numbers.
So many numbers.
They were coming at us fast on a beautiful night in The Swamp.
There was the big round one — 100. That's how many wins Urban Meyer has. Only five guys have gotten there faster. One of them is named Rockne. Another is named Wilkinson. Ask your dad who they were.
There was the one that has to stick in the big blue paw of the Wildcat Nation like a thorn soaked in salt — 24. Florida has now won 24 straight against the Wildcats. The last three have been by a combined 152-26.
But mostly there was the number that was on everybody's mind as they filed out of The Swamp. Rex Grossman wore it. Percy Harvin wore it for a year. None of them did what Trey Burton did last night.
Burton switched from 13 to 8 this week so that he and Dee Finley could be on the field at the same time on kickoffs. What we didn't know is that there was a rule put in before the game that only players wearing No. 8 could score touchdowns Saturday night. All nine were scored by players wearing the number, including six of them by Burton.
Who needs Tim Tebow?
Just kidding, folks, but Florida's version of Tebow Light put on an amazing show against the Wildcats. Certainly, he gave Nick Saban and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart some things to think about when they push "play" this morning on the Tide VCR.
Florida gave the Tide defensive wizards a lot to think about during this week with the best offensive showing of the year. See, Gator Nation, all that grousing about the offensive play-calling and getting Andre Debose involved and throwing more on first down? All of that complaining worked.
Maybe it was a group of guys finally getting comfortable in their own skin.
Maybe it was the cool night air and a crowd that had adequate time to loosen up the larynx for a big game.
Maybe it was a coaching staff finally stepping on the throat of an opponent.
Maybe it was simply another bad Kentucky defense.
But whatever the reason, whether it was your screaming or their comfort level or that blue and white defense, Florida looked like an offense Saturday night. It came out firing and needed only six plays to score their first touchdown. Burton, Trey, 11-yard run.
On their second drive they needed 12 plays to go 85 yards for their next score. Burton, Trey, 11-yard reception.
They stumbled through the second half but got a defensive touchdown. Brown, Jeremy, 52 yards. He wears No. 8, too.
And then came the steamroll in the second half.
Burton from 10 yards. Burton from 9 yards. Burton from 3 yards. Burton from 7 yards.
Burton, Burton, Burton.
The last time a guy named Burton had a night this great he was honeymooning with Elizabeth Taylor. Ask your dad.
"I thought he was a good player when we recruited him," said Meyer. "We had no idea what we had until we figured it out during training camp. Versatility, intelligence, competitiveness. Those are things you just don't know until you get your hands on a player."
They knew Debose was a good player as well.
We finally saw a glimpse of it — four catches for 36 yards.
"We simplified things for him," Meyer said. "He was a deer in the headlights. If it's too complicated for a great player, we need to simplify it."
The numbers piled up for Florida. John Brantley had his first 200-yard passing game. The Gators had more than 400 yards for the first time this season.
Now it's time to turn to the letters.
Big-boy football is here.
"All three phases clicked," Meyer said. "But you see what's coming down the road. It better click even better."
Florida has been allowed to take baby steps leading up to this point even if the Gator Nation has been screaming for a giant leap. The schedule has led a young team down the path to here.
To Bama week.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at email@example.com. You can listen to The Pat Dooley Show weekdays from 4-6 p.m. on 104.9 FM. And follow at http://Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.
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