GatorZone.com Senior Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida starting quarterback John Brantley’s second career reception was much more productive than his first.
In the Gators’ loss to South Carolina, Brantley caught a batted pass for a 10-yard loss. In Saturday’s 48-10 victory over Appalachian State, Brantley caught a five-yard touchdown pass from third-string QB Jordan Reed.
Brantley used some fancy footwork in the right corner of the end zone to get both feet in bounds, although you only need one in college football.
“I was just trying to catch the ball,’’ Brantley said.
With the Gators leading 21-0 and facing a second-and-1, Reed rolled out to his right as Brantley split wide at receiver. Reed was only going to throw to Brantley if the defender left him in coverage.
“If he stayed on him, I was going somewhere else,’’ Reed said. “He left him, so he was wide open.’’
“We knew they weren’t going to cover him,’’ senior C Mike Pouncey said.
Brantley has lined up several times at receiver in games as back-up QB Trey Burton and Reed began to take more snaps of late. However, Reed’s pass was the first thrown his way other than in practice.
“That will be his last one,’’ Gators coach Urban Meyer quipped.
While Saturday was Senior Day, a freshman LB (Ronald Powell) led the team in tackles. Another freshman, Burton, scored his team-leading 11th rushing touchdown.
True freshmen DB Matt Elam and DT Sharrif Floyd also received more significant playing time, providing hope that the recruiting class of 2010 can help fill the void created by losing 23 seniors.
“If you had to evaluate this freshman class, you wish it would have happened quicker,’’ Meyer said. “A lot of these guys have really accelerated their play. That’s our future.’’
Gators senior WR Carl Moore didn’t hang around long in his final game at the Swamp.
Moore and Appalachian State DB Ed Gainey were ejected in the second quarter after the two got into a shoving match that escalated into punches being thrown.
According to UF officials, there is no carryover penalty for fighting per NCAA rules. However, the SEC office can review the incident and Commissioner Mike Slive could extend Moore’s penalty if he chooses.
Meyer was disappointed in Moore’s ejection.
“They've only been told [not to retaliate] -- I don't know, six, seven, eight thousand times,’’ he said. “You don’t do that.’’
LB A.J. Jones (hamstring), CB Jeremy Brown (hamstring) and WR Andre Debose (ankle) did not play. Debose warmed up but did not dress for the game … Meyer said CB Janoris Jenkins suffered a mild concussion early in Saturday’s game and that DE Earl Okine suffered a concussion on a punt-block attempt in the first quarter. Okine left and did not return … RB Jeff Demps played a few snaps but did not have a carry or pass reception … LB Dee Finley (shoulder) did not play; Meyer expects Finley to return at FSU.
Redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson, who didn’t start for the first time this season – Frankie Hammond got the start – responded with his first career 100-yard receiving game. Thompson finished with a team-high six receptions for 100 yards, including a career-best 44-yard reception … With Jones and Brown out, freshman LB Ronald Powell and redshirt junior CB Moses Jenkins started; Powell had a team-high nine tackles and Jenkins finished with seven, tied with LB Brandon Hicks for second on the team … Freshman DT Dominique Easley ended the game on crutches after suffering an ankle injury. But at least Easley played after missing two consecutive games due to off-the-field issues, finishing with one tackle. Meyer didn’t know the severity of Easley’s ankle injury … The announced attendance at Saturday’s game was 90,119 … Florida improved to 25-2 all-time vs. Southern Conference opponents … UF’s 23 seniors finished with a 23-5 record at the Swamp and improved to 42-10 overall … Florida scored on its opening drive for only the third time this season and the Gators’ 21 first-quarter points were just seven shy of their total in the first nine games … The Gators rushed for a season-high 311 yards, 60 more than their previous season-high set Sept. 11 in a 38-14 win over USF.