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Saturday November 20, 2010Florida Tops Appalachian State, 48-10, on Senior Day

Gainesville, Fla.

The Florida football team celebrated its 23 seniors in style on Saturday with a 48-10 victory over Appalachian State in front of 90,119 fans at The Swamp. The match-up was the first ever between Florida and FCS powerhouse Appalachian State. With the win the Gators (7-4, 4-4 SEC) extended their all-time record to 25-2 against FCS southern conference opponents.


Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley (Ocala, Fla.) went 16-for-22 with 222 yards passing and one interception. Brantley connected with eight different receivers including redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson (Belle Glade, Fla.) who had six receptions for 100 yards, becoming the first Gator all season to have a 100-yard receiving game. Leading the Gators on the ground was redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey (Lakeland, Fla.) who rushed for 87 yards on six carries and one touchdown. Close behind was redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed (New London, Conn.) with 71 yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns.


Florida's offense was nearly unstoppable, scoring six rushing touchdowns, the most all season, while racking up 311 yards on the ground, its most since 251 against USF Sept. 11. The Gators finished the afternoon with 547 yards total offense, also a season-best, as the senior class left The Swamp with a 23-5 record at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and finished their careers 42-10 (24-8 SEC) overall.


After forcing ASU to a three-and-out situation on its first possession, the Gators marched 55 yards on five plays, capped by a 16-yard run by Rainey and an extra point by senior Chas Henry (Dallas, Ga.) to take a 7-0 lead.


On Florida's next possession, freshman quarterback Trey Burton (Venice, Fla.) scored on a three-yard rushing touchdown to complete a 70-yard drive and lengthen the Gators' lead to 14-0. The touchdown marked Burton's 11th rushing touchdown and 12th overall this season, two shy of Jabar Gaffney's freshman record of 14 touchdowns.


A 44-yard lob down the field from Brantley to redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson (Belle Glade, Fla.) set up a one-yard touchdown run by Reed to put the Gators up 21-0, Florida's most points in the first quarter all season.


In the second quarter, the Gators continued their offensive production and the defense continued the shutout with a forced fumble by senior linebacker Brandon Hicks (Jacksonville, Fla.), his first-forced fumble of the season and second overall, and a fumble recovery by senior strong safety Ahmad Black (Lakeland, Fla.). The turnover led to a five-yard touchdown pass from Reed to Brantley to put the hosts up by a 28-0 margin.


The first half was all Florida as the Gator defense shut out the Mountaineer offense, the Gators also went without a punt in the first quarter, scoring on each of their first three possessions.


Florida opened the second half with a seven-play 64-yard drive that was highlighted by a one-yard touchdown run by Reed to put Florida up, 35-0. The Mountaineer offense was quick to answer the Gator score with a 33-yard field goal by kicker Justin Vitaris, to shorten the Gator lead 35-3.


The Gators followed the Mountaineer field goal with a three-yard touchdown run by Reed, his fourth of the game and eighth on the year. The Mountaineers were quick to respond with an eight-play 64-yard drive which was finished with a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback DeAndre Presley to wide receiver Matt Cline, slimming the gap, 42-10 .


On the Gators' next possession, a tipped ball in the end zone resulted in an interception by Dominique McDuffie which halted a 34-yard offensive drive at the Appalachian State 12-yard line. A 46-yard kickoff return by freshman wide receiver Solomon Patton (Mobile, Ala.) gave the Gators favorable field position for the drive. A strong Gator defensive showing forced an ASU punt, redeeming Brantley's interception.


The Gator offense returned for their seventh overall touchdown of the game as redshirt senior defensive tackle Gary Beemer (Valrico, Fla.) pounded it in the end zone for seven points and his first career touchdown. A missed extra point would hold the score at 48-10 and close out the game.


The Gators will travel to Tallahassee to take on in-state rival, the Florida State Seminoles, on Nov. 27 in their annual meeting. Game time will either be 3:30 or 7 p.m. and will air on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. Visit www.GatorZone.com for updated game information in the coming days.

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