FINAL: Florida 63, Idaho 10

UF defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson scores on a 26-yard interception return in the first quarter Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Lauren Bacho/Staff photographer]

A blog coming to you live from the Idaho vs. Florida college football game on Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville:

First quarter

On the game’s first play from scrimmage, defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson picked off Idaho QB Mason Petrino and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown.

After an Idaho punt, UF moved quickly to increase the lead to 14-0 on QB Feleipe Franks’ 17-yard scoring run. Franks’ 27-yard pass to tight end C’yontai Lewis highlighted the three-play, 47-yard drive that took 42 seconds.

Idaho prevented UF from scoring on its third possession, stopping the Gators at the Vandals 5 after UF had marched from its 46.

The score became UF 21-0 on Franks’ 52-yard touchdown pass to wide-open tight end Kyle Pitts at the 5:30 mark.

Franks connected with receiver Van Jefferson for a 3-yard TD pass to increase the UF margin to 28-0. The score capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive highlighted by Franks passes of 14 yards to Lewis, 21 yards to Jefferson and then 16 yards to Lewis on fourth down to the Idaho 3.

What went right: Everything. And it started with Chauncey Gardner-Johnson’s pick-six on the first offensive play of the game. It was an indication of things to come. It was a Gator onslaught for the rest of the quarter, with UF scoring on three of its next possessions to take a 28-0 lead. While the defense was overwhelming the Idaho offense, Feleipe Franks was having his way in the passing game. He threw for 166 yards in the quarter and pretty much had receivers open all over the field.

What went wrong: Just one thing: Lamical Perine getting stuffed on a fourth-and-one play from the Idaho 5-yard line. It was the only possession in which the Gators failed to score.

Play of the quarter: Gardner-Johnson’s 26-yard interception return for a touchdown on the game’s first offensive play.

Trending: Florida’s passing game.

— Robbie Andreu

Notes: Out today are centers Nick Buchanan and T.J. McCoy, guard Brett Heggie, tight end Moral Stephens and defensive backs Brad Stewart and Dre Massey, per UF. Tyler Jordan was expected to start at center and Noah Banks at left guard. … Offensive lineman Martez Ivey and defensive lineman Cece Jefferson receive the loudest ovations at Senior Day festivities. … Temp at kickoff was 65 degrees.

Idaho         0

Florida      28

Second quarter

Josh Hammond took an end-around pitch 21 yards for a score with 10:29 left in the half to give the Gators a 35-0 advantage. It capped a 69-yard drive on six plays and used all of 1:26 off the clock.

Idaho kicker Cade Coffey missed a 42-yard field goal attempt wide left.

Franks hit receiver Tyrie Cleveland with a 34-yard pass in the end zone to make it 42-0 at the 5:22 mark. That drive went 75 yards on four plays and using 1:14.

True freshman quarterback Emory Jones took over with under four minutes left in the quarter and he led the Gators to another score by picking up 15 yards on a run and connecting with Trevon Grimes for 35 yards to the Idaho 8. From there, Jones hit Hammond for an 8-yard score.

What went right: Just about everything. Franks continued to have success throwing the football and the offense rolled up and down the field, scoring enough points to let Dan Mullen feel comfortable about turning the game over to true freshman quarterback Emory Jones late in the quarter. Jones did not disappoint. On his first possession he led the Gators 76 yards for a touchdown and a 49-0 lead. It was Jones’ drive. He ran 15 yards to convert a third-and-eight, he threw a 35-yard laser to Trevon Grimes, then he hooked up with Josh Hammond for an 8-yard TD pass. His only incompletion came on a deep ball to Kyle Pitts that Pitts dropped. On defense, the Gators continued to overwhelm the seemingly much slower Vandals.

What went wrong: The defense gave up back-to-back plays of 26 and 23 yards, but that drive ended with a missed 42-yard field goal attempt.

Play of the quarter: Hammond’s 21-yard TD run on an end-around.

Trending: Emory Jones.

— Robbie Andreu

Idaho         0       0

Florida      28     21

Third quarter

Jones hit freshman running back Dameon Pierce with a 4-yard TD pass for a 56-0 lead with 6:50 left in the quarter. Redshirt senior Jorge Powell kicked the extra point after freshman Evan McPherson had nailed the first seven.

Idaho finally scored with 1:02 left in the quarter on Coffey’s 38-yard field goal to make it 56-3.

What went right: Jones continued to look pretty sharp running the offense surrounded by a bunch of other young guys. On the Gators’ long scoring drive, he had back-to-back completions to receiver Jacob Copeland and tight end Lucas Krull for 16 and 20 yards. Jones finished off the drive with his second TD pass of the day, this one to freshman running back Dameon Pierce from four yards out. All kinds of young players got extensive playing time on both sides of the ball.

What went wrong: A fumble by Jones killed a potential scoring drive early in the quarter, and a 24-yard punt and a personal foul penalty set up the Vandals for a 38-yard field goal late in the quarter.

Play of the quarter: Jones’ 20-yard pass to Krull.

Trending: The numerous UF young players.

— Robbie Andreu

Idaho         0        0     3

Florida      28     21      7

Fourth quarter

Linebacker Ventrell Miller intercepts a Petrino pass and returns it 82 yards for a touchdown for a 63-3 lead with 6:43 left.

Petrino hit wide receiver Jeff Cotton with a 12-yard scoring pass with 1:47 left in the game to wrap up the scoring. It capped a 10-play, 79-yard drive.

Redshirt sophomore Nick Sproles in at QB for the Gators.

UF improves to 8-3, doubling last year’s win total, while Idaho ends its season at 4-7. The Gators play at FSU next Saturday at noon on ABC.

What went right: One thing, basically: redshirt freshman linebacker Ventrell Miller’s pick-six, which went for 82 yards.

What went wrong: The offense basically did nothing in the quarter. And on a fourth-down play from the UF 32, a bad snap by true freshman center Griffin McDowell led to a three-yard loss. Defensively, the Gators struggled to contain Idaho quarterback Mason Petrino, who is not exactly known for his mobility. Overall, with so many young players on the field, the play was somewhat sloppy. And the Gators gave up the late touchdown.

Play of the quarter: Miller’s long interception return for a touchdown.

— Robbie Andreu

Idaho 0 0 3 7—10
Florida 28 21 7 7—63
First Quarter

FLA_Gardner-Johnson 26 interception return (McPherson kick), 14:54

FLA_Franks 17 run (McPherson kick), 12:46

FLA_Pitts 52 pass from Franks (McPherson kick), 5:30

FLA_V.Jefferson 3 pass from Franks (McPherson kick), 1:44

Second Quarter

FLA_Hammond 21 run (McPherson kick), 10:29

FLA_Cleveland 34 pass from Franks (McPherson kick), 5:22

FLA_Hammond 8 pass from E.Jones (Powell kick), 1:50

Third Quarter

FLA_Pierce 4 pass from E.Jones (Powell kick), 6:50

IDA_FG Coffey 38, 1:02

Fourth Quarter

FLA_Miller 82 interception return (Powell kick), 6:43

IDA_Cotton 12 pass from Petrino (Coffey kick), 1:47

First downs 14 32
Rushes-yards 33-154 36-201
Passing 73 399
Comp-Att-Int 13-35-2 31-43-0
Return Yards 60 43
Punts-Avg. 9-39.44 2-27.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 6-48 5-55
Time of Possession 31:20 28:40



RUSHING_Idaho, Petrino 12-87, Saunders 14-33, R.Johnson 5-31, A.Carter 2-3. Florida, Pierce 13-77, Perine 6-34, Hammond 1-21, Franks 2-21, E.Jones 7-19, Raymond 2-16, Clement 3-12, Ricks 1-4, Copeland 0-0, (Team) 1-(minus 3).

PASSING_Idaho, Nayar 1-4-0-3, Petrino 12-31-2-70. Florida, Franks 19-27-0-274, E.Jones 12-16-0-125.

RECEIVING_Idaho, Cotton 3-38, Haywood 3-21, Ungerer 3-5, Saunders 3-0, Fernand 1-9. Florida, Toney 6-54, Lewis 3-57, Grimes 3-54, Cleveland 3-51, V.Jefferson 3-35, Hammond 3-30, Pierce 3-5, Gamble 2-19, Pitts 1-52, Krull 1-20, Copeland 1-16, Scarlett 1-3, D.Green 1-3.

MISSED FIELD GOALS_Idaho, Coffey 42.


  1. Gator 6– I will up one of those double ligeros for today’s game. Looks like I am going to have to smoke one up for FSU game as well as we are having our best first quarter in months! Cigar power!!! Loving it too, by the way, though this is going to be a good long smoke and I am looking forward to the journey.

    Great effort so far for the Gators. Love it.

    • Just finished watching the game on tape as I was down in Austin most of the day at grand-daughter birthday party (who, incidentally, greeted me with a hearty “Go Gators!” — start ’em out young is what I always say). So my Bloodhound Willis and I were able to take it all in and get to the chase by skipping commercials…not a bad way to go. Willis was pretty bummed out that Idaho scored at all, but he doesn’t understand things like the second and third string playing the second half!

      If you survived the Double Ligero and liked it, mix in an Oliva Serie V 6×60 for FSU. You’ll thank me later, Jaws…….GO GATORS!

  2. Emory Jones is playing against Idaho. Emory Jones is playing with the second string when the game is out of reach. Also, Emory Jones throws a better ball than Franks, is more qualified to run this offense than Franks, and, I believe, if given the opportunity, will spark this team and Gators will perform better than with Franks. Just an opinion.

  3. Guess I am alone here talking to myself today but that never me before or me, neither. Good to see the young guys out there making plays and good day to work on the passing game. Emory looks sharp. Gotta work on the snap security. It doesn’t rise to the greatness of, say, Mushchamp versus Georgia Southern, but this Mullen’s first year so he has time to try and equal the greatest coach of all time!

  4. If FF played like this all the time there would be no problem. He did overthrow a couple of long balls but all in all very good day for him. Just like the announcers were saying, if we get QB play like this, we are a very dangerous team. EJ looks like he’s getting more comfortable with the offense and makes good decisions on where to throw the ball. This is exactly what we needed before we go play FSU. Go Gators!

      • No doubt, and goes without saying. But getting to see a sustained Jones together with FF still improving — it is what it is and that ain’t bad. I think we’ll see more of Jones against FSU, behind an OL that will push hard, and it could possibly be a difference maker. Then, of course, that’s the whole enchilada — except if we play who I think we’ll wind up playing on 01 Jan, that red shirt may have to be burned anyway most ricky-ticky. The final two games are critical to a Top 10 recruiting class, IMO.

        • I agree that these final two games will matter for recruiting….ESPECIALLY FSU for the early signing period. My expectation is that Franks will start against FSU and stay in and be the guy. If things don’t go well, then you’ll see Emory. This would save Emory for the bowl game. Between the two final games, FSU is THE game we need to win. #1, I just don’t like em… and #2, recruiting…

          But with today and really with this season, Coach Mullen can sit in a recruit’s living room and legitimately say……”freshmen can play for us”.

          • I agree that it would be best to be able to get by FSU without having to play Jones. That obviously would allow him to play the bowl game and still redshirt. The Gators’ bowl opponent is certainly going to be a tougher team than the Noles, and he may be needed to help secure a win there. As you’ve all mentioned, aside from the simple pride of a 10 win season, winning the next two should be a significant boost to recruiting. Putting up 600 yards of offense today (well, it’s actually yesterday, now) won’t hurt the Gators’ chances with the best offensive recruits, either.

  5. And that’s how it looks when Florida DOMINATES games they should! And the future looks bright for U.F. Football. Now please go and spank the ‘Noles in Tally, and win a bowl game. Then get U.F. to an unexpected ”10 win season” in Coach Mullen’s 1st year as H.C. So there’s, still, a lot to play for Gators!
    But what a ‘W’ today, especially for the Seniors. Go Gators! Chomp-on!

    • 10 wins would exceed all of our expectations for year one of Dan Mullen!!! Heck, 9 wins exceeds my expectations 🙂

      And yes, FINALLY, the Gators dominate a team we’re supposed to dominate. It sure has been a long time since we could say that. Go Gators!!!

  6. Our season is 1 more game and essentially the success of the season is based on the FSU game. We must beat FSU this year if we want to feel good about this season. FSU sucks and they have dominated us for a while now. If we can’t beat them when they are this bad and we are looking okay, our season will be empty like the last 5. The bowl game means nothing. Practice time is important but the game isn’t a season changer. A victory over FSU will change the recruits view of UF as an underling and will have an immediate impact this year on recruiting especially for the recruits that are choosing between the 2 schools.

  7. 1 id estimate jones play in the bowl game over fsu…it gets him game exposure spread out over 4 months, so he has had games in every month to hone his talents further. 2 good qbs is a good idea when qbs run as well as pass.
    2 i like the post-game quotes about jones as a leader…no one knows but the people that arent telling but if he or franks turns out to have the traits of a true captain that’s the last step to 12 plus wins we need to compete at the top 4 level. i expect trask to transfer, he may find a spot that turns into a chance to play that could be all he needs to at least have a shot at the nfl. but maybe not. schottenheimer has done well from uf backup to nfl offensive guru, gator backup qbs often do well after graduation in all kinds of ways.
    3 sounds like several juniors are thinking about the nfl. i hope they respect what advice the coaches give them, which in most cases means stick around. they’ve all made progress, yes, but there is a big jump to the nfl and for borderline players like most of this group they need all the preparation that is possible and then some.
    4 i wouldn’t be surprised at a staff change or two, its normal. hopefully the new coaches can do better with the safeties and tight ends if the changes are at those spots.
    5 its hard to tell if these young backups are going to evolve into big time players, but so far they seem like a good group. still we need to recruit a lot more good players, since im still not convinced we have enough of the right kind of players for the schemes we run, and everyone has things to work on.

  8. Teak looked good against a lesser opponent. But they executed well. Still think we missed some opportunities to score. The pick on the first play is the heads up defense we need so the time. Emorys pass to the right sideline that was dropped was a perfect pass by the freshman. Somebody mentioned position coaches leaving which is always possible but I’m not sure that the secondary got up to speed (with assignments) as much as they would have liked. Essentially learning a new philosophy. Maybe not. Was watching from phone while traveling yesterday. Saw a defense that was on top of the schemes the offense threw at them. I hope they can take the confidence in their abilities to next weekend without getting over confident. Always great to win! Go Gators. Let’s go to Tallahassee and start a new era of winning out. Show the coaches you can ball with the best. Show the fans what you can do.

  9. Just read the CBS bowl predictions and they have Gators in the Fiesta Bowl playing–UCF.
    That would be a no-win situation for Gators. If they win, experts will say “They were supposed to win. UCF is in a pitiful conference and never plays a Power 5 school.” Lose and the experts–and UCF fans–will say “I told you UCF was great and should have been in the playoffs.” So from my perspective, a game against UCF would be a ‘no-win’ for the Gators. And my daughter is a UCF graduate. The only benefit from a Gator win would be recruiting in the state. I would much prefer a Florida vs. Ohio State matchup so Gators can tell Urban Liar where he should go.

    • I’m in general agreement with you, cattrick — except for the part about the AAC being a pitiful conference. They grew out of the old Big East Conference, which was considered a Power-5 conference at the time. I think out of all the Group of Five conferences, the AAC is by far the closest to a Power-5. Of course, “close” only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades! 😜