Gillislee screen play of game for UF

Florida's Mike Gillislee makes the catch as teammate Jon Halapio runs upfield to block against Missouri during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday, November 3, 2012. (Doug Finger/Staff Photographer)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 7:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 7:08 p.m.

With the score tied in the fourth quarter, Florida needed a spark on offense.

The Gators received it by turning another short throw into a big gain.

Senior running back Mike Gillislee’s 45-yard touchdown on a screen pass was the game-winning score in Florida’s 14-7 decision over Missouri. Gillislee’s first receiving TD of the season came as a result of a heads-up play call.

Florida coach Will Muschamp noticed Missouri brought pressure on second down throughout the game. Muschamp consulted with offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who called for the screen early in the fourth quarter on second-and-12 from the 45-yard line.

“Mike has got outstanding hands and it was well-executed by our offense and blocked extremely well down the field,” Muschamp said. “I saw (Florida center) Jon Harrison was about 30 yards down the field blocking. So again that was effort and guys doing what they were supposed to do the way they were supposed to do it. I’m proud of that.”

The Gators have used Gillislee more in the screen game of late. Last week, Gillislee had a 29-yard catch-and-run on a screen against Georgia.

“He’s really dangerous in space,” Harrison said. “I love him for that. When you think he’s down, he’s really not down. He’s still going and we love that about him. He has a high motor.”

Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel said the Gators work on screen passes extensively each Thursday in practice.

“It’s paid off,” Driskel said. “We’ve had some huge plays. Screens are going to have to be good for us, especially with the speed rushers that the SEC has.”

Driskel and Harrison both said timing is a challenge in developing big screen pass plays. But it clicked for the biggest completion of the game against Missouri on Saturday.

“It means a lot because it’s just another aspect to the offense that we weren’t really establishing earlier this year,” Harrison said. “If we can develop a screen game then we can have a screen, run and pass game. It will help us be more successful as an offense.’ ”

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