Roberson's play key for UF

Florida Gators defensive back Marcus Roberson returns an interception against the Bowling Green Flacons during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012 in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Bowling Green 27-14.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, September 3, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 3, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.

At the start of the fourth quarter on Saturday, things weren’t looking good for the Florida football team.

The Bowling Green offense moved the ball throughout the third quarter, only trailed by three points and had the ball in UF territory following a fumble by UF running back Omarius Hines.

But on the quarter’s opening play, Marcus Roberson shifted the momentum in favor of the Gators.

In his first game back since suffering a neck injury last season, the UF sophomore cornerback intercepted Matt Schilz off of a tipped pass and returned it 31 yards to the Gator 47-yard line. It was Florida’s first takeaway and came at an opportune time for coach Will Muschamp and the Gators.

“He made a nice break on the ball,” Muschamp said. “He’s a guy that’s got really good ball skills and he’s got some return skills. Marcus is a good player.”

The game-changing pick provided great field position for Florida’s offense — which hadn’t found the end zone in the second half — and led to Frankie Hammond Jr.’s 50-yard touchdown reception.

The score put the Gators ahead 24-14 after they were just in jeopardy of losing their lead.

“It was a critical situation, so it really helped the offense put points on the board and it was a team thing,” Roberson said.

That team thing was absent in 2011.

“On a good team, offense, defense and special teams play off each other,” Muschamp said. “I don’t think we did that very well last year at all. Hopefully that will be something for us as we move forward.”

Going into the game, Muschamp said he knew Bowling Green’s passing attack would be frustrating for Florida because it’s a West Coast system with short passes and quick releases.

Roberson said it wasn’t easy to defend, but the lessons learned should help the secondary as they enter SEC play.

“It was kind of hard,” Roberson said, “but lucky enough we made a couple plays on the ball and now we’re just getting ready for next week.”

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