Nice new look on Florida Field

Florida players prepare to take the field for the Gators' season opening game against Bowling Green Saturday September 1, 2012 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville Fla.

Rob C. Witzel/Staff photographer
Published: Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 7:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 12:45 a.m.

Best Decision

The block “F” in the middle of the field had been painted there since early in the Steve Spurrier administration and was also there when Spurrier was a player. But when Florida went to artificial turf and the logo on the helmets changed, it went away for awhile. It has been replaced by the large Gator head that is UF's brand and it is a much better way to go. It's bigger and badder. Now we'll have to wait and see who will be the first team to disrespect it by stomping on the head. There are two F's on the field at the 25-yard lines in the new, modern font.

Worst Decision

Why get cute? Florida had a fourth-and-6 on the Bowling Green 42 and sent Jeff Driskel back into the game. The Gators lined up as if to run a play. But when Driskel dropped back a few extra yards, everyone in the stadium knew it was going to be a quick-kick. Driskel shanked the punt for 15 yards giving Bowling Green the ball on its 27. If you're going to punt it, bring in your punter.

Best Catch-and-Run

Frankie Hammond Jr. hadn't done much all day when he caught a short pass from Driskel in the fourth quarter. The catch meant a first down for the Gators, but Hammond turned it into much more by breaking a tackle attempt and then weaving for a 50-yard touchdown play. That's something we didn't see a lot of last year -- yards after the catch.

Worst Way to Start a Drive

After Bowling Green scored, we saw the Falcons use a sky kick to try to pin the Gators back. To also keep the ball away from Andre Debose, the Falcons kicked the ball to Mike Gillislee. He muffed the catch and Florida started its second offensive drive from it own 15-yard line.

Best Debut

Freshman running back Matt Jones had a great camp and he showed a flash on his first-ever carry as a Gator. One play after a false start penalty turned a second-and-1 into second-and-5, Jones took a handoff, found a hole and made a spin move on his way to a 17-yard carry and the first down.

Worst Trend

A year ago, Florida was 89th in the nation in penalties with an even 100. By the time the first half was over, the Gators already had committed 10 for 76 yards and that doesn't include one that was offset by a Bowling Green penalty. Sure, it was the first game of the season, but that's embarrassing.

Stat of Game

It wasn't a game where a lot of good things happened on third downs for either offense. The Gators were able to hold Bowling Green to only four third-down conversions in 17 attempted in the game. The Gators were only a little better (5-of-16), but what was especially disconcerting for a team that has preached physicality is that the Gators were 1-of-8 on third-and-2 or less.

Play of the Game

It was a lucky bounce that Florida needed. On the first play of the fourth quarter with Bowling Green threatening to take the lead, Falcons quarterback Matt Schilz fired a pass to Shaun Joplin. The pass was a little high but catchable except that it bounced off Joplin's hands and into the arms of UF cornerback Marcus Roberson. He returned the interception 31 yards to the Florida 47 to set up an important score.

What's up with That?

When Bowling Green's John Pettigrew was stuffed at the 1-yard line in the first quarter, several Florida defenders tried to grab at the ball rather than continue to push the pile backward. As a result, Pettigrew found new life and -- with an assist from one of his teammates -- made it into the end zone to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead.

-- Pat Dooley

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