Live updates from today’s Towson at Florida non-conference football game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium:
Kyle Trask again leads the Gators to a first-drive score, competing 7 of 7 passes, including a 5-yard TD pass to tight end Kyle Pitts with 9:28 on the clock to complete a 12-play, 82-yard drive.
Towson senior QB Tom Flacco had runs of 31, 9 and 11 yards, but fumbled the snap from center to kill the drive. Linebacker David Reese jumped on it. Florida ball on its 25-yard line.
What went right: The Gators took the opening kickoff and promptly drove 82 yards for a touchdown, with quarterback Kyle Trask completing all seven of his pass attempts. His seventh went to tight end Kyle Pitts for five yards and a touchdown. During the drive, wide receiver Van Jefferson gained seven yards on a speed sweep, UF’s longest run of the drive. Later in the quarter, it was the defense that came up with the big play, recovering a fumble by Towson quarterback Tom Flacco on the UF 25-yard line. The recovery was made by senior middle linebacker David Reese.
What went wrong: The defense had no early answer for Flacco, a fast and elusive dual-threat from the QB spot. He had a 22-yard run on Towson’s first offensive play, which established the trend for the rest of the quarter until he lost the fumble. Flacco converted a third-and-seven with a nine-yard run and a third-and-nine with an 11-yard run. He also completed a 20-yard pass. Offensively, the Gators had no running game to speak of, with the Towson defensive front dominating the UF offensive line.
Play of the quarter: The five-yard TD pass from Trask to Pitts on third-and-goal.
Trending: Flacco and the Towson offense.
— Robbie Andreu
Notes: True freshman Kaiir Elam is getting the start at cornerback in place of the injured CJ Henderson. … receiver Freddie Swain and safety Shawn Davis in street clothes today. … Gators win the toss and elect to receive. … DE Jabari Zuniga is also not playing.
Evan McPherson kicks a 42-yard field goal on the first play of the quarter to put UF up 10-0. The score caps an eight-play, 50-yard drive.
Freshman defensive back Jaydon Hill drops a would-be pick-six. Gotta be sick about that. Towson settles for a 32-yard FG attempt but it’s no good.
The Gators have run only 19 offensive plays so far with only 7:54 remaining in the first half.
What went right: The Gators pumped up their lead to 17-0 and somehow managed to hold it right there through the remainder of the first half. Evan McPherson kicked a 42-yard field goal on first play of the quarter after the UF drive stalled on the Towson 25. Midway through the quarter, after a long Towson drive ended in a missed field goal, the Gators, with Trask remaining hot, drove for a touchdown, the score coming on a one-yard run by Trask. Perhaps the best news for the offense is that a running back finally shook free, with Dameon Pierce breaking off a 31-yard run. The Gators were assisted on the next play by a pass interference call in the end zone against the Tigers. Towson had a chance to get on the scoreboard late in the quarter, but Jeremiah Moon and David Reese sacked Flacco on a third-and-six from the UF 45, forcing the only punt of the first half for either team.
What went wrong: Flacco continued to make play after play with his arm and his legs, continually frustrating the UF defense — and the crowd — with the Tigers ability to control the football and keep the Gator offense on the sideline for long stretches. And again, the struggling UF offensive line was spotty at best, and at times dominated by the Towson defensive front, which ended the half with a sack of Trask.
Play of the quarter: Pierce’s 31-yard run on UF’s touchdown drive.
Trending: The Florida defense, which finally found a way to get the Towson offense off the field late in the quarter.
— Robbie Andreu
Towson 0 0
Florida 7 10
What went right: The defense turned the heat up on Flacco and intercepted two passes in the quarter — one by safety Donovan Stiner on a deep ball and rush end Jon Greenard on a tipped ball that he returned to the Tigers’ seven-yard line and set up UF’s first of two touchdowns in the quarter. The score came on a seven-yard pass from Trask to Pitts, who is emerging as a major go-to guy. The Gators also produced a rare explosive play in the running game, with Pierce racing 37 yards for a touchdown to put the Gators up 31-0 with 4:50 left in the quarter.
What went wrong: Late in the quarter, the defense reverted to its first-half form and gave up some big plays to Flacco and the Tigers’ passing game, including a 32-yard pass from Flacco to wide receiver Shane Leatherbury. The quarter ended with the Tigers on the UF 18, facing a second-and-10.
Play of the quarter: Greenard’s interception on a ball tipped by defensive tackle T. J. Slaton.
Trending: The Towson offense again.
— Robbie Andreu
Towson 0 0 0 x — 0
Florida 7 10 14 x — 31
Flacco sacked for a 14-yard loss and that’ll turn a 33-yard FG attempt into a 47-yard attempt. And it’s blocked by Adam Shuler. Towson’s second miss today.
Emory Jones in at QB for the Gators.
Jones leads UF on a seven-play, 69-yard scoring drive he capped with a two-yard touchdown throw to freshman tight end Keon Zipperer at the 9:47 mark of the quarter. Chris Howard provided the extra-point kick. Jones had a 29-yard run to the one.
Trask finishes game 18 of 20 for 188 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran in for a TD.
The Gators improve to 5-0 with their ninth consecutive win. Towson drops to 3-2 with its second consecutive loss.
What went right: UF blocked a 47-yard field goal attempt in the opening minute of the quarter, then Emory Jones took over at quarterback and made the four plays that led to a quick touchdown drive — back-to-back completions of 16 and 21 yards, a 29-yard run down to the Townson 1-yard line and a 2-yard touchdown pass. The TD came on a 2-yard pass from Jones to true freshman tight end Keon Zipperer. With the comfortable lead, the Gator played multiple true freshmen on both sides of the ball. Defensive ends Khris Bogle and Mohamoud Diabate played pretty much the entire quarter and produced some solid pass rush. Cornerbacks Jaydon Hill and Kaiir Elam played extensively throughout the game. Elam started the game in place of injured junior CJ Henderson. On offense, Kipperer had the touchdown reception, the first TD of his young career, and lineman Ethan White went into the game on UF’s next possession, with almost eight minutes left to play.
What went wrong: Nothing, really. Jones looked good running the offense and the defense preserved the shutout.
Play of the quarter: Jones’ elusive and electric 29-yard run down to the 1-yard line. He actually may have scored on the play, but the officials did not review it. He appeared to stretch the ball across the goal-line before his knee hit at the one.
No. 9 Florida 38, Towson 0
FLA_Pitts 5 pass from Trask (McPherson kick), 9:28
FLA_FG McPherson 42, 14:55
FLA_Trask 1 run (McPherson kick), 3:46
FLA_Pitts 7 pass from Trask (McPherson kick), 9:19
FLA_Pierce 37 run (McPherson kick), 4:50
FLA_Zipperer 2 pass from E.Jones (Howard kick), 9:47
|Time of Possession||29:59||30:01|
RUSHING_Towson, Thaenrat 8-35, Feliz-Platt 7-27, Flacco 10-15, Stover 2-12, (Team) 2-(minus 24). Florida, Pierce 6-84, E.Jones 1-29, M.Davis 6-22, Perine 7-15, V.Jefferson 1-7, Copeland 2-5, N.Wright 2-5, Hammond 2-3, Clement 1-2, Trask 4-(minus 12).
PASSING_Towson, Flacco 16-27-2-157, Stover 2-5-0-26. Florida, Trask 18-20-0-188, E.Jones 6-8-0-74.
RECEIVING_Towson, Leatherbury 4-65, Street 4-29, Epps 4-20, C.Smith 2-28, Rutkowski 1-20, Hunter 1-11, D.Thompson 1-6, Feliz-Platt 1-4. Florida, Grimes 5-55, Hammond 4-37, Pitts 4-28, Cleveland 3-59, Zipperer 3-31, Copeland 2-22, V.Jefferson 2-16, Perine 1-14.
MISSED FIELD GOALS_Towson, O’Neill 33, O’Neill 48.