Evan McPherson hit a 24-yard field goal at the 10:48 mark of the first quarter to give UF a 3-0 lead.
The score was set up when Colorado State punter Ryan Stonehouse was snowed under by the Gators rush and fumbled when hit by James Houston IV. The ball was recovered at the 11 by Josh Hammond.
UF couldn’t do much offensively with the prime field position, bringing in the freshman kicker.
CSU came up short on its ensuing possession, going 11 plays to the UF 23, but Wyatt Bryan was wide right with a 41-yard field goal attempt at the 4:26 mark.
After picking up a first down with an 11-yard run, UF quarterback Feleipe Franks is intercepted by CSU cornerback V.J. Banks at the Rams 32.
Florida got the ball back at the 29 on the next play when CSU QB K.J. Carta-Samuels fumbled and defensive tackle Elijah Conliffe recovered.
Franks couldn’t move the Gators after a run and two incomplete passes to bring in McPherson, who kicked a 48-yard field goal for a 6-0 Florida lead at the 2:14 mark
Note: UF senior defensive lineman Cece Jefferson is in the lineup after sitting out on a two-game suspension because of academic issues. … Junior linebacker David Reese missed his third game due to injury. … 96 degrees at kickoff. Ties hottest game at Florida Field.
What went right: Basically only two things: the Gators’ punt-block team got on top of CSU punter Ryan Stonehouse and he fumbled, giving UF the ball on the 11; and a fumble recovery by defensive tackle Elijah Conliffe on the CSU 29. The only other positive was CSU missing a 41-yard field goal.
What went wrong: The Gators had to settle for Evan McPherson field goals — from 24 and 48 yards — after both of those turnovers. And there was much, much more than just that. Quarterback Feleipe Franks had a nightmare first quarter, completing zero passes for zero yards along with an interception. As a result, the offense went nowhere against a CSU defense that has struggled throughout the first part of the season. In his defense, Franks didn’t get much help. There was no push in the running game and the receivers were not getting open. As a result, the Gators had only one first down and 27 total yards.
Play of the quarter: The special teams caving in the CSU punt protection that led to the fumble and gave the Gators the ball on the Rams’ 11.
Trending: By the end of the quarter, the boo birds started coming out in The Swamp. Their boos were directed at Franks and the slumbering offense.
–– Robbie Andreu
Colorado State 0
Bryan again missed a field goal attempt for the Rams, this one from 53 yards, going wide left.
Scarlett scored on a 30-yard run to give UF a 13-0 lead at 11:49. The score capped a five-pay, 65-yard drive that was highlighted by a 24-yard pass from Franks to Van Jefferson to the CSU 30.
Franks connects with receiver Freddie Swain for an 18-yard TD pass for a 20-0 UF lead at the 6:24 mark to complete a six-play, 44-yard drive. Swain had a 22-yard punt return to put the Gators on the visitor’s side of the 50.
Tyrie Cleveland recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to give UF a 27-0 lead. Amari Burney blocked Stonehouse’s boot and the ball bounced into the end zone at the 4:02 mark.
Bryan booted a 53-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
What went right: In a reversal of the first, almost everything went right for the Gators in a near-flawless quarter. Tailback Jordan Scarlett finally found some daylight and went 30 yards for a touchdown. Franks threw an 18-yard strike to Freddie Swain for a touchdown and the punt block team blocked a punt (by true freshman Amari Burney) and recovered it in the end zone (by wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland) for a touchdown. At the same time the special teams and offense were making plays, the UF defense was sound against both the run and the pass and was never seriously threatened until a long kickoff return gave the Rams the ball on the Gator side of the field in the closing minutes of the half.
What went wrong: Almost nothing. The only real blemish was the 51-yard kickoff return given up that led to a Colorado State’s 53-yard field goal on the final play of the half to make it a 27-3 game.
Play of the quarter: The blocked punt that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. It was a nice block by Burney and maybe an even better recovery by Cleveland in the back of the end zone before the ball went out of bounds.
Trending: The Rams have been a big comeback team in the second half this season, but they have their work cut out for them on the road against a UF team that seems to be growing strong as the game goes on.
–– Robbie Andreu
Colorado State 0 3
Florida 6 21
Carta-Samuels teamed with receiver Trey McBride for a 48-yard scoring pass play to cut the UF lead to 27-10 in the opening drive of the second half.
What went right: The Gators reverted to their first-quarter form on offense and basically did nothing. Plagued by penalties and inconsistent play along the offensive line, the Gators were shut out in the quarter and showing no signs of being able to consistently move the ball against what has been a struggling CSU defense.
What went wrong: Penalties crippled one drive late in the quarter when it looked like the offense was starting to wake up a little bit. Moral Stephens drew a 15-yard penalty for pulling a face mask and later in the drive the offense stalled thanks to a holding penalty on center Nick Buchanan. The defense also had some problems, mainly giving up a 48-yard touchdown pass to wide-open tight end Trey McBride that cut the UF lead to 27-10.
Play of the quarter: The Gators didn’t really have one. CSU did, the 48-yard TD pass.
Trending: The Florida defense is holding its own, but the offense seems to be heading nowhere, and the Gators probably need to score again against a CSU team noted for its fourth-quarter comebacks.
–– Robbie Andreu
Colorado State 0 3 7
Florida 6 21 0
Swain returned a Colorado State punt 85 yards for a touchdown to increase the Gators’ lead to 34-10 with 13:25 remaining in the game.
Franks connected with Jefferson for a 38-yard score to give the Gators a 41-10 lead at the 9:21 mark
The scoring series was set up when defensive end Jachai Polite stripped sacked Carta-Samuels and linebacker Vosean Joseph picked up the loose ball and returned it 20 yards to the UF 46. Three plays later, Franks found Jefferson jetting behind the CSU secondary for the score.
Freshman running back Dameon Pierce scored on a 68-yard run to put UF up 48-10 with 6:17 left in the game.
What went right: The Florida special teams put the exclamation point on a special performance when Freddie Swain brought The Swamp to life early in the quarter with a darting, cutting 85-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was the second TD of the game for the special teams, which also get credit for the Gators’ first three points of the game. Later in the quarter, the defense came up big, with Jachai Polite causing a sack/fumble that was returned 20 yards by Vosean Joseph. Three plays later, Franks threw a 38-yard TD pass to Van Jefferson on a go route to put the game out of reach. The Gators struck for another big play later in the quarter, with true freshman running back Dameon Pierce blasting through the middle of the line for a 68-yard TD run.
What went wrong: Other than the Franks-to-Jefferson touchdown, the offense continued to struggle with consistency. The big concern, just like in the first two games, was the lack of push in the running game.
Play of the quarter: Swain’s 85-yard punt return for a touchdown. The key came early in the return, when his blockers showed some restraint by not blocking at least two cover guys in the back.
Colorado State 0 3 7 0 — 10
Florida 6 21 0 21 — 48