Gillislee is golden vs. FSU

Florida running back Mike Gillislee breaks free for a touchdown run during the second half of the Gators' 37-26 win against Florida State University November 24, 2012 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. (Rob C. Witzel/Staff photographer)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 9:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 9:17 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE — Soft-spoken Florida senior Mike Gillislee smiled when asked how it feels to be a 1,000-yard running back.

“It feels great,” Gillislee said. “Hopefully, the tradition never ends.”

Gillislee more than broke through the 1,000-yard barrier on Saturday afternoon against rival Florida State. He keyed a strong ground attack that helped UF snap a two-game losing streak against the Seminoles.

The 5-foot-11, 209-pound Gillislee rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns during UF’s 37-26 win over Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium. His 37-yard TD run in the fourth quarter put UF ahead to stay at 23-20.

Gillislee posted his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season and at 1,104 yards is UF’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Ciatrick Fason ran for 1,267 yards in 2004.

“It’s much deserved,” Florida center Jonotthan Harrison said. “He earned every yard. He’s a tough running back. He took so many hits. He keeps swinging back, and I love him for that.”

Through injuries to the offensive line and defenses stacked up to stop him, Gillislee didn’t lose focus during a long season. After gaining a career-best 146 yards against LSU, Gillislee went five games before his next 100-yard game last week against Jacksonville State.

“I never got frustrated,” Gillislee said. “I just knew I was going to keep on doing what I had to do to help my team to win. I wasn’t worried about the yardage.”

Gillislee rushed for a 9-yard TD in the second quarter, giving the Gators an early 13-0 lead. He said he had “a little miscommunication” on a third-quarter fumble off a botched exchange with quarterback Jeff Driskel. It was UF’s lone turnover of the game.

“We just moved on from it,” Gillislee said.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said during the offseason he felt he should have used Gillislee more last season. In 2012, Gillislee emerged as the workhorse back and centerpiece for UF’s physical, ball-control offense.

“It speaks where we’re headed with our offense,” Muschamp said. “It’s more of a pro-style offense that you see (in the NFL) on Sunday.”

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