Gators roll despite losing Driskel, Michigan survives

By Anthony Chiusano

The No. 19 Florida football team encountered little trouble in defeating Tennessee on Saturday, but an injury may have taken a big chomp out of the Gators offense.


Florida (2-1) defeated the Volunteers 31-17 in a Southeastern Conference showdown on Saturday. However, Gators starting quarterback Jeff Driskel sustained a season-ending broken right tibia in the first quarter.
Despite the injury, Florida’s offense still managed to put up points behind backup quarterback Tyler Murphy. Murphy threw for 134 yards and a touchdown and added 84 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Behind Murphy, the Gators running game led the path to victory with 215 total rushing yards. Junior running back Mack Brown led the charge with 86 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Tennessee (2-2) only mustered up 66 rushing yards against Florida’s stingy run defense.
Florida also won the crucial turnover battle, forcing the Volunteers to commit six. The Gators committed three turnovers themselves, including an interception by Driskel prior to his injury that defensive back Devaun Swafford returned for a 62-yard touchdown for Tennessee’s first score.
Stanford tops rival ASU
In the week’s only matchup between two Top 25 teams, No. 5 Stanford defeated No. 23 Arizona State, 42-28.
The Cardinals remained undefeated at 3-0, while the Sun Devils suffered their first loss of the season and dropped to 2-1.
Stanford stormed out to a 29-0 lead at halftime before the Arizona State offense found its rhythm. Cardinals quarterback Kevin Hogan played efficiently, completing 11-of-17 passes and throwing two first-half touchdowns.
Tyler Gaffney added to Stanford’s offense with two touchdowns in an 87-yard rushing performance.
With a four-touchdown second half, the Sun Devils broke the shutout and made the final score closer than anticipated after their first half performance. However, Arizona State found themselves too far behind to ever threaten to complete a comeback.
Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly finished the game with 367 passing yards and three touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions. His top target, Jaelen Strong, recorded 12 catches for 168 yards and a touchdown.
The Cardinals look to maintain its top five national ranking as they played unranked Washington State next week. Arizona State hopes to rebound against unranked Southern California.
Michigan escapes again
A week after barely pulling out a victory over Akron, No. 15 Michigan once again needed a late rally to prevent a major upset.
On Saturday, the Wolverines (4-0) defeated Connecticut, 24-21 after trailing most of the game. After Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner provided his team with an early lead on a 17-yard touchdown run, UConn (0-3) scored 21 unanswered points. This surge by the Huskies was fueled by three costly turnovers by Gardner, including a fumble that was returned for the third UConn touchdown.
The Wolverines finally responded as running back Fitzgerald Toussaint led the comeback with two touchdowns to tie the game up at 21-21 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Toussaint finished the game with 120 rushing yards on 24 carries.
Then, with 4:36 left in the game, a 21-yard field goal gave Michigan its first lead of the game since Gardner’s rushing touchdown two minutes into the first quarter.
The Huskies had one last drive following the field goal, which ended after a fourth down play that came up short.
The Wolverines have a bye week this weekend, which will allow the team to focus on the problems that were exposed the past two weeks.
Anthony Chiusano can be reached at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.