Driskel deals in clutch for UF

Florida's Jeff Driskel sets to throw during the first half against Texas A&M at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, Saturday, September 8, 2012.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 9:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 9:09 p.m.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — His statistics showed just how up-and-down Jeff Driskel's game was Saturday.

He completed all but three passes and picked up 56 yards on six rushing attempts. But he was also sacked eight times for 48 yards in losses.

There was only one statistic that mattered for the sophomore.

Florida got the win in his first start at quarterback.

“It was awesome,” he said.

Driskel was 13-of-16 for 162 yards and made two of the biggest plays in the game in the fourth quarter. His perfectly thrown 39-yard pass to Omarius Hines set up the winning touchdown and his 21-yard run on a quarterback read play clinched the 20-17 win over Texas A&M later in the game.

On the pass to Hines, Driskel said he knew it could be a big play.

“I told the offensive line, ‘This is it,' ” Driskel said. “It was a deeper route and I needed a little more time and they did the job. I saw the defender had his back to me and I knew I had to make a play.”

Driskel's 21-yard scamper later in the game came when Florida needed one first down to wrap up a hard-fought game. After faking to tailback Mack Brown, Driskel ran around the end on second-and-10 to pick up the first down.

“When the play came in, I was excited,” he said. “I knew the defense was going to bite. I just tried to stay in bounds and take care of the ball.”

The play by the Florida quarterback was exactly what coach Will Muschamp was looking for — no turnovers, make some plays, manage the game.

And win.

“They asked me after the game what did you learn about Jeff Driskel,” Muschamp said. “I said nothing. I knew it going into the game. The guy is a tough guy. He plays through it. I didn't learn anything I didn't already know. That is a big-time compliment to him.”

After a first half when Florida only had three possessions and came away with 10 points, Driskel said it was a very composed team in the locker room.

“No one hung their head,” Driskel said. “No one was pointing fingers. We knew the defense was going to step up.”

Driskel said he knows eight sacks, five of them in the first half, are too many. Muschamp said he would rather have a drive end in a punt than a turnover.

“He took care of the football,” Muschamp said. “There's such a thing as a good sack, too.”

But Driskel said he needs to work on getting rid of the ball sooner instead of taking the lost yardage.

“We knew they were going to come after me,” Driskel said. “I've gotta get rid of the ball, plain and simple. I've got to work on that a little bit.”

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