STARKVILLE, Miss. — He still didn’t get as many touches as a lot of Gator fans would have liked to have seen Saturday night.
But once again, Kadarius Toney made the ones he did get count.
The sophomore wide receiver had two runs for 20 yards, one catch for nine yards and gave the Gators the only touchdown of the game on a touchdown pass to Moral Stephens in the third quarter of Florida’s 13-6 win over Mississippi State.
“I saw an opportunity,” Toney said. “I knew I could probably fit it in there so I just had to do it.”
Florida was driving midway through the third quarter down 6-3 in the rugged game. The series had been sparked by the running of tailback Lamical Perine, who had 44 yards of offense on the drive.
On first-and-10 from the Mississippi State 20, Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks threw what looked like a quick screen pass to Toney in the left flat behind him.
“We knew they were going to bite because we ran all of those smoke screens,” Franks said. “It’s just something that (Toney) does, he makes plays.”
Toney was able to use his high school quarterback skills to find Stephens with a perfect pass in the end zone to give Florida the lead.
It was only the second pass Toney has thrown in his career at UF, the other being a 50-yarder to Tyrie Cleveland at Kentucky last year.
“Yeah, that was my first one and got one tonight,” he said. “I had to really execute. That was a big play in the game, I felt. I had to make that throw. It wasn’t that hard.”
Toney, who was suspended for UF’s opener, still has only four catches and four runs this year and is averaging 12.1 yards per play. But he insists he is not frustrated by the lack of touches.
“It really hasn’t been frustrating,” he said. “I had to rely on patience and faith. I had to wait and when it came time, just execute to the best of my ability.
“I feel like I can do more, but I’ll do whatever it takes.”
The play was one that Florida had been practicing every week since the start of camp. Toney said he had no idea they’d pull it out this week.
But with Florida throwing so many screen passes, it was inevitable that the double-pass was going to come out at some point.
It turned out to be the perfect time.
“I’ve always said that, about deceptive and trick plays like that, it’s not really the play design, but more when you call it and how you execute it,” said Florida coach Dan Mullen. “It’s a play that we’ve had in the game plan every week this season. We just never got around to calling it, so we finally made the call.
“They’re a really aggressive defense. We’d been running some quick screens. All of a sudden, they jump on the quick screens and the double pass is open.”