By Ian Baker -- Trinity Christian Academy junior and 2019-2020 Junior Journalist
After coming off a bye week following a disappointing road win against Miami (24-20), the Florida Gators had big expectations for their second game. The Gators came in a little slow, but that’s expected since they had a bye week.
The Gators stopped the Hawks on UT Martin’s first drive and forced a punt. Once the Gators got the ball, they slowly moved down the field with a few miscues and came out with only a 32-yard field goal by sophomore Evan McPherson, and that would be the only score of the first quarter.
The two massive blows in the first half for the Gators were losing junior Kadarius Toney (shoulder, 6-8 weeks) and junior C.J. Henderson (ankle, 2-3 weeks). Other than that, the Gators had a solid first half, scoring 17 points behind a field goal and two deep bombs from junior quarterback Feleipe Franks to seniors Van Jefferson (69 yards) and Tyrie Cleveland (35 yards).
After halftime, the Gators came out swinging with a good return by Cleveland to midfield. The Gators drove right down the field and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore Malik Davis. After forcing a punt, the Gators drove down the field once again and scored on a 5-yard run by senior Lamical Perine.
The Gators defense held the Skyhawks to only 8 first downs, 194 total yards, and 5 sacks the entire game, with junior Shawn Davis leading the charge with 6 tackles and 2 solo tackles.
After the third quarter ended, the second and third teams came on the field, and the Gators scored on a 5-yard pass from junior Kyle Trask to freshman Jacob Copeland. After that touchdown, the Gators were comfortably ahead 38-0, but the Hawks weren’t going to give up that easily.
On a 3rd and 3, Skyhawks freshman quarterback John Bachus III got a very nice 48-yard run all the way to the Gators’ 20 yard line. On the very next play, Bachus threw to the back of the end zone, but it was intercepted by Gator freshman Kaiir Elam for his first interception in the swamp. The Gators traded a couple of punts with the Hawks after the interception, but with only 3:55 left in the 4th quarter, freshman quarterback Emory Jones ran for 16 yards to get a touchdown to cap off the game, with the Gators winning 45-0.
Florida’s next game will be on Saturday, September 14 against SEC rivals, the Kentucky Wildcats.
Players of the game:
Feleipe Franks: 25-27, 270 yds, 2 TD passing, 37 yds rushing
Shawn Davis: 6 total tackles, 2 solo, 1 tackle for loss