State roundup: Gators batter Vols for big SEC victory

by Gary Shelton on September 23, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

Sunday, 2 a.m.

Even when the world is dark, even when a new coach is trying to turnaround their fortunes, the Florida Gators can count on this.

Tennessee.

The Gators didn't need last-second heroics this time. Florida walloped the Vols, 47-21, as Tennessee turned the ball over six times. That led to 24 Gator points and Dan Mullen's first SEC win with the Gators.

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For crying out loud, Florida couldn't even count on Kentucky this year, and it had beaten the Wildcats in 31 straight seasons. But it could still count on Tennessee, which is in its first season under new coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Feleipe Franks threw for three touchdowns and ran for a fourth in the big win, including a 65-yard pass to Freddie Swain. Jordan Scarlett ran 11 times for 77 yards.

"Six turnovers,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “That’s unbelievable. You get that huge turnover advantage. I love the big plays. You come on the road and create turnovers and create big plays.”

The key turnover on the day came with Florida ahead 23-3. On fourth-and-inches, Tennessee tight end Austin Pope caught a deep pass down the left sideline. He seemed to be headed for the end zone, but cornerback C.J. Henderson caught him and forced a fumble inside the 5. It rolled out of the end zone for a touchback.

“That to me was the play of the game,” Mullen said. “It was a huge play.”

FSU 37, Northern Illinois 19: Now, that looks more like Florida State.

The lethargic Seminoles, who have started the season at a crawl, rebounded somewhat Saturday afternoon with big victory over the Huskies. No, NIU isn't exactly one of the big boys, but after three games in which the highlight was a comeback win over Samford, it will do.

Quarterback Deondre Francois was sharp, hitting 23 of 31 passes for 352 yards and two scores. It was the seventh career 300-yard day for Francois.

The FSU defense shut down NIU, holding them to just six yards rushing on 20 attempts.

FSU got off to a quick start, scoring on its first two drives.

"That was very important for us because we hadn’t done that all year," said coach Willie Taggart.  "A lot of it had to do with our players, their commitment  to getting better. It started this week. They decided they were going to get better, we were going to practice better and hold each other accountable. We need to do that. "

FSU travels to play Louisville next Saturday.

Miami 31, FIU 17: The Miami Hurricanes beat their old coach Saturday night.  More importantly, they might have found a new quarterback.

Redshirt freshman N'Kosi Perry replaced regular Malik Rosier -- who has been a frequent target of fans in recent weeks -- and gave the 'Canes a spark, enough of one that some expect him to replace Rosier as the starting quarterback.

“He threw some really fine passes,” Miami coach Mark Richt said. “He was on the money. Most of his decisions were good. He did scramble at times and got some first downs. I think he was comfortable, and he was confident.

He made a couple poor reads, but mostly I think he was well aware of what he was doing and why he was doing it and that’s what you want.”

Perry hit 17-of-25 passes for 225 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

“I wasn’t out there thinking of how many I completed; it was just natural out there,” Perry said. “It came natural.”

FIU is home against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sept. 29. Miami hosts North Carolina on Thursday.

 

 

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