NCAA FB

Short-handed Gators beat Rockets

Florida Gators running back Mack Brown (33) runs the ball in for a touchdown during the first half against the Toledo Rockets
Gators RB Mack Brown ran 25 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns against Toledo.
FOX Sports
Share This Story

   
 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP)

Mack Brown had tears in eyes before the game and a smile on his face after.

In between, he ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns -- and vomited on the sideline.

Not a bad start for Brown or No. 10 Florida.


Get the latest college football recruiting news from Scout.com.

Brown's career day, Jeff Driskel's efficiency and a dominant defense carried the Gators to a 24-6 win over Toledo in the teams' season opener Saturday.

"I felt like I was useless for the last couple of years," said Brown, a fourth-year junior who did little his first three years in Gainesville. "Getting an opportunity. Just took it and ran with it. It felt good, man. I can't really express it."

Brown ran 25 times, equally his carries from all of last season.

He was making his first career start, in the lineup in place of Matt Jones. The sophomore missed the opener while recovering from a viral infection. He is expected to return next week at Miami, but Brown certainly stated his case to get some carries the rest of the season.

"There's no question," coach Will Muschamp said. "The more a guy plays, and the more he plays well, it gives you great confidence in putting him in the game and knowing he's going to play well. ... We expected him to play extremely well today."

His teammates weren't too bad, either.

Driskel completed 17 of 22 passes for 153 yards and a score, rolling out often and getting rid of the ball early. Florida's defense, which ranked fifth in the country in 2012, looked every bit as good as last year's version despite losing eight starters and its coordinator.

The Gators controlled both lines of scrimmage, opening holes for Brown and keeping steady pressure on Toledo's experienced offense. It was exactly the style of play Florida has become known for under Muschamp. No flashiness. Few highlight-reel plays. But a win in the end.

It was Florida's 24th consecutive season-opening victory, the second-longest active streak in the country. Only Nebraska (27) has a longer current run.

Some thought Florida would struggle against the Rockets, who were picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference's West Division. Toledo returned nine starters on offense, four on defense, played in three consecutive bowl games and even beat a ranked team last season.

But the Gators pretty much dominated from the start, wearing down Toledo in 90-degree heat and sweltering humidity.

The Rockets finished with 205 yards and were 1 of 13 on third down.

Terrance Owens completed 17 of 38 passes for 155 yards, with an interception. David Fluellen ran nine times for 46 yards, including a 28-yard burst. And Bernard Reedy caught seven passes for 50 yards.

They were no match for the Gators, who got standout performances from defensive end Dominique Easley, linebacker Neiron Ball and freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.

"They're tough," Fluellen said. "They're ranked for a reason. ... They didn't do anything schematically. They just went out there and played."

Florida totaled 414 yards of offense, including 262 on the ground.

Check out our latest Facebook updates, tweets and photos.

Freshman Kelvin Taylor, the son of retired NFL standout Fred Taylor, got on the field in the fourth quarter and ran for 43 yards. Former walk-on Mark Herndon added 32 yards on the ground. And Valdez Showers, a safety who moved to offense this fall, ran for 31 more.

The Gators had two 80-yard-plus touchdown drives in the first half, including one on their initial possession. It was the first time in the post-Tim Tebow era (since 2009) that Florida scored a TD on its opening drive of the season.

"That's a heck of a deal," Muschamp said.

Brown capped the 84-yard drive by going untouched from a yard out. He was even better on his second score, breaking tackles and turning heads with a 14-yard scamper that put Florida up 17-3.

"Oh, man, I was cramping. My neck was cramping," said Brown, who headed to the sideline to vomit. "I was overhydrated. I drank like four Gatorades back to back."

It was about the only hiccup for the Gators.

Florida did, however, have five players suspended for opener.

Linebacker Antonio Morrison, who was arrested twice in a five-week span this summer, and cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy were suspended. So were defensive tackle Darious Cummings, receiver Latroy Pittman and offensive lineman Quinteze Williams.

Four of the five -- all except Pittman -- will be back next week against the Hurricanes.

"They made a mistake," Muschamp said. "We have consequences in our program. Are players understand that. They move forward. We're not going to make excuses at Florida, regardless of injury or sickness. That's why you recruit and that's why you have a deep roster."

Tagged: Toledo, Florida, Mack Brown, Jeff Driskel

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Mark Emmert against unionization Posted: Apr 06, 2014
NCAA president Mark Emmert comments on unionization for student-athletes.

Northwestern athletes win unionization case Posted: Mar 26, 2014
FOX Football debates the implications of student-athletes being able to unionize...

Saban lectures media on Kouandjio's injury Posted: Mar 12, 2014
Nick Saban has some words for the media after the way Cyrus Kouandjio's knee inj...

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash