Instant Analysis: Gators hold on
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Florida stumbled to a 27-14 win in what was supposed to be an easy season-opening win against Mid-American Conference foe Bowling Green. Here is some instant analysis from Saturday's game.
IT WAS OVER WHEN: It was a quick turn of events for both teams. Bowling Green was driving in Florida territory when cornerback Marcus Roberson snagged a tipped ball returned it 31 yards. Three plays later, the Gators had their first passing touchdown of the day and a 10-point lead.
THIS STAT DOESN'T LIE: The Gators were the most penalized team in the Southeastern Conference last season. All fall, we were told had that had changed. Then Florida went out and committed 14 penalties for 106 yards, highlighted by an Andre Debose personal foul on a fake punt that helped lead the Falcons to a touchdown drive in the third quarter.
HE STOLE THE SHOW: Look no further than senior running back Mike Gillislee. Florida knew it would have to lean on Gillislee this season, but relying on him almost exclusively in week one was a surprise. Gillislee played the entire game, rushing for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
OH WHAT A PLAY: Florida's passing game struggled for most of the day, but Jeff Driskel and Frankie Hammond Jr. finally made the Falcons pay when they connected for a 50-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Hammond shook off a defender and ran past a few more to give Florida a two-score lead. It was redemption for the redshirt senior, who had dropped two passes earlier in the game.
THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY: There was once a time when Florida would entirely out-class an opponent like Bowling Green with offensive talent. That certainly wasn't the case Saturday. The only true deciding factor in Florida's win was Gillislee going against what was the nation's No. 104 rush defense in 2011. Gillislee had his way with the Falcons much of the afternoon, especially on counter plays.