The Florida Gators picked up their first win of the season as they knocked off the Florida Atlantic Owls 35-14. Everyone had their eyes on redshirt-junior quarterback Emory Jones as he made the first start of his collegiate career. However, he isn’t the quarterback that everyone is talking about now.
Freshman quarterback Anthony Richardson shined in the season opener with 200 yards of total offense and a 73-yard rushing touchdown. Florida also rushed for 400 yards in the win which is the most during the Dan Mullen era.
It was a sloppy game for the Florida offense but their defense played pretty well forcing two turnovers and also recorded six sacks. There also seems to be a quarterback controversy after Jones’s struggles and how well Richardson performed in front of his hometown crowd.
The FAU Owls put up a pretty good fight but it wasn’t enough to shock the college football world as they’ll start the 2021 season with a 0-1 record. Miami graduate transfer N’Kosi Perry made his first start for the Owls on Saturday night and looked solid. Perry completed 19 out of 33 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown.
The FAU ground game struggled against Florida’s front seven. The Owls rushed for 92 yards on 37 carries. Former USF running back Johnny Ford led FAU in rushing with 52 yards on ten carries and a touchdown.
Former FSU wide receiver D’Marcus Adams led the Owls in receiving with two catches for 85 yards. Graduate transfer Brandon Robinson also had four receptions for 60 yards and a late touchdown.
On defense, FAU made some nice plays and kept the Owls in the game until the fourth quarter. Safety Jordan Helm led both teams in tackles with eleven tackles including seven solo. The other safety Teja Young also had a great game with ten tackles, half a tackle for loss, and an interception. Senior cornerback Diashun Moss also grabbed his first interception of the season.
The Florida Gators got the win against the Owls but the passing attack leaves a lot to be desired. Emory Jones made his first start at Florida and put together two good drives to start the game then fell apart. Jones completed 17 out of 27 passes for 113 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He did run the ball well as he rushed for 74 yards on ten carries.
Gainesville native quarterback Anthony Richardson got some playing time. He was impressive while he was on the field. Richardson only completed three out of eight passes for 40 yards but he did have third and fourth string receivers on the field with him but he ran the ball extremely well. The redshirt freshman had seven rushing attempts for 160 yards including a 73-yard rushing touchdown.
The Florida rushing attack was led by Richardson but Malik Davis also had a big night. The senior running back rushed for 104 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. Dameon Pierce also rushed for 31 yards on six attempts and two touchdowns.
Redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Ja’markis Weston led the Gators’ offense in receiving Saturday night. Weston had three catches for 44 yards. Fifth-year senior wide-out Rick Wells had a career night with five receptions for 36 yards and his first receiving touchdown in his collegiate career.
The Florida Gators’ defense started their season offense with a pretty good performance against FAU’s offense. The Gators’ defense had six sacks and forced two turnovers. Linebacker Ventrell Miller led the Gators in tackles with seven.
Defensive end Zachary Carter had himself a night with four tackles, three sacks, three tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. Defensive back Tre’Vez Johnson had five tackles including three solos and a sack. EDGE rusher Khris Bogle also recorded his first sack of the season.
Sophomore defensive tackle Gervon Dexter had two tackles including a shared sack with Dante Zanders and also recovered two fumbles.
The Florida Gators will hit the road for the first time in the 2021 season but they don’t need to travel far. Florida will head south to Tampa, Florida to take on the USF Bulls. USF currently has a 0-1 record after getting the shutout against the NC State Wolf Pack 45-0. The kickoff is at 1 pm EST on ABC.