It wasnít always pretty, but it was effective. The No. 18 University of Florida football team rolled up over 500 yards of offense and pitched its first shutout since 2006, picking up a convincing 39-0 victory over UAB at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in the Gatorsí final tune-up before heading into conference play.
In a game marred by early penalties and too few touchdowns on trips to the red zone, the Gators hit their stride on both sides of the ball and cruised to an easy victory.
Chris Rainey ran for 119 yards on 16 carries, keying a Gator rushing attack that amassed 300 yards on the ground. Florida finished with 512 yards of total offense. The Gators held UAB to 212 total yards, just 71 on the ground and shutout an opponent for the first time since beating Western Carolina 62-0 in 2006. Through two games the Gators have outscored their opponents 80-3 heading into next Saturdayís SEC opener against Tennessee in the Swamp (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS).
After a 50-yard return from Andre Debose on the opening kick-off, the Gators went straight to their bag of tricks, getting a 40-yard flea-flicker from John Brantley to Quinton Dunbar. Unable to punch it across the goal line, Florida settled for a 24-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal to grad a 3-0 lead just over two minutes into play.
On the Gators second drive they marched 12 plays and 62 yards before Sturgis added his second field goal of the game to grab a 6-0 lead. Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps did most of the work on the second drive with Rainey hauling in a 21-yard pass to convert a third down, while rushing twice for 20 yards. Demps had two carries for 10 yards on the drive but left the game shortly after and did not return.
After a three-and-out by UAB, the Gators marched down the field spreading the wealth. John Brantley opened the drive hitting Debose with a 14-yard strike. Moments later he found Rainey with a short pass on third down that Rainey weaved into a 21-yard gain. Rainey appeared to score a play later from 32 yards out, but a holding play negated the touchdown.
After the holding penalty Brantley found Deonte Thompson over the middle for a 24-yard gain. Moments later true freshman Hunter Joyer made his first career carry a memorable one, a 3-yard touchdown run to put the Gators up 13-0. Joyer was the fourth Gator since 2008 to score a touchdown on his first carry.
Sturgis added his third field goal of the game with 4:10 left in the second quarter, capping an 8-play, 46-yard drive that was highlighted by a 26-yard run by Trey Burton. Burtonís run gave the Gators first and goal from the 4-yard line for the second time on the evening and for the second time they settled for three.
On the ensuing drive, the Blazers snapped the ball through punter Trey Raglandís hands and out of the end zone for a safety to put the Gators up 18-0 with 2:32 left in the half.
After a short kick following the safety the Gators wasted little time going back to work. Brantley hit Debose for an 18-yard completion to the UAB 14. Moments later Burton scored his first touchdown of the season on a 5-yard run to give the Gators a 25-0 lead heading into the locker room.
After Marcus Roberson recovered a fumble on the Blazersí opening drive of the second half, the Gators wasted little time, as Rainey took it in from 19 yards out to put the Gators up 32-0. The touchdown was set up by a 18-yard strike from Brantley to Dunbar and a 12-yard run by Burton.
Facing a fourth down in its own territory, UAB tried a fake punt on fourth down but the Gators stopped it short. After taking over on the UAB 36, the Gators needed just three plays to add to the lead and did so when Mike Gillislee scored from 13 yards out for a 39-0 lead.
The Gators cleared the bench in the fourth quarter and ran the clock down. Florida controlled the ball for more than 36 minutes on the evening.
For the Gators, they improved to 2-0 for the seventh consecutive year. The stakes get higher next week with Southeastern Conference play opening with Tennessee headed to town. The Gators have defeated the Vols in their last three visits to the Swamp and have won six straight in the series.