Saturday November 22, 2008Football Dominates The Citadel, 70-19
No. 3 Florida defeated The Citadel Bulldogs, 70-19, on Senior Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday. The Gators accumulated 705 total yards of offense in the win, just the third time in school history that the feat has been accomplished. The win improved Florida to 10-1 overall (7-1 SEC), while The Citadel fell to 4-8 overall (2-6 SoCon).
Quickly racking up 49 first-half points, Florida jumped out of the gates by scoring 21 points and accumulating 512 yards of offense in the first quarter alone. Junior quarterback Tim Tebow (Jacksonville, Fla.) connected with three different receivers for scoring tosses in senior Louis Murphy (St. Petersburg, Fla.), junior Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.) and redshirt freshman Deonte Thompson (Belle Glade, Fla.) before handing the quarterback duties over to redshirt freshman John Brantley (Ocala, Fla.) halfway through the second quarter.
Tebow finished the day in the air 9-of-11, totaling 201 yards and three touchdowns with a long play of 53 yards to Harvin on Florida’s fourth possession of the game. Tebow additionally recorded two rushes for 34 yards.
The Gator defense prevailed against The Citadel in the first half, only surrendering one touchdown, while two Florida freshmen picked off two Bulldog passes. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (Pahokee, Fla.) picked off a Bart Blanchard pass to set up Florida’s first score, while safety Will Hill (West Orange, N.J.) intercepted a Cam Turner pass in the second quarter.
Tebow and Murphy collaborated for Florida’s first score of the game on a 16-yard lob to the end zone, while Tebow returned two possessions later to hit Cooper on a 43-yard touchdown pass.
The Florida running game propelled the Orange and Blue for much of the day. Led by redshirt freshman running back Chris Rainey (Lakeland, Fla.), the Gators finished the day with 394 yards on the ground. Rainey ran a career-high for 142 yards, achieving his second career 100-yard-plus game, topping the day off with a seven-yard touchdown run at the eight-minute mark of the first quarter to put the Gators up, 14-0, after senior Jonathan Phillips’ (Wellington, Fla.) extra point.
Thompson reeled in a 31-yard Tebow throw to kick off the second quarter, the third of his career, while junior running back/wide receiver Percy Harvin (Virginia Beach, Va.) continued UF’s success, both on the ground and in the air, tabbing two receptions for 76 yards and three rushes for 49 yards on the ground and one touchdown. Harvin’s 11-yard touchdown run capped off a five-play, 89-yard drive, of which 77 yards belonged to Harvin on 53, 13 and 11-yard advances. Harvin additionally extended his touchdown streak to 13-straight games.
With five minutes left in the first half, The Citadel found the end zone on a trick play when Bulldog senior wide receiver Scott Flanagan hooked up with redshirt sophomore quarterback Cam Turner for six points on a fourth-down conversion. The extra-point attempt by redshirt freshman kicker Sam Keeler was no good, resulting in a 49-6 margin at the half.
In light of Florida’s Senior Day celebration, several Gator seniors capitalized on the honor against the Bulldogs, as senior running back Kestahn Moore (Arlington, Texas) ran for two touchdowns and 50 yards in the first half. Redshirt senior Javier Estopinan (Miami, Fla.) ran for his first career touchdown, a one-yard rush, to get the Gators going in the second half.
The Bulldogs countered Estopinan’s touchdown a possession later when The Citadel leading rusher, freshman Asheton Jordan, scored on a one-yard run, bringing the UF advantage to 56-13 after Keeler found the uprights.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, Brantley hooked up with redshirt junior wide receiver David Nelson (Wichita Falls, Texas) for another Florida score. Senior kicker Greg Taussig’s (Winter Park, Fla.) extra point pushed UF ahead, 63-13.
Redshirt sophomore running back Emmanuel Moody (Coppell, Texas) was additionally a 100-yard rusher for Florida, recording 13 touches for 116 yards on the day. Moody found the end zone with 9:44 left in the game on a five-yard rush to give the Gators a 70-13 advantage after freshman kicker Caleb Sturgis’ (St. Augustine, Fla.) extra point.
Junior cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis (Naples, Fla.) picked off UF’s third interception of the game against the Bulldogs, but The Citadel found the end zone once more on a 15-yard pass from Turner to senior wide receiver Taylor Cornett for the final margin, 70-19, after Keeler’s second missed extra point.
Jordan led the Bulldogs on the ground with eight rushes for 37 yards, while wide receiver Andre Roberts led in receptions with five for 66 yards. Turner finished the day 15-of-30 for 169 yards, two interceptions and one touchdown.
The Gators will be back in action Nov. 29 when they face Florida State in Tallahassee. Check GatorZone.com for game time in the coming days.