With a 40-14 win over Missouri on Saturday, the 18th-ranked Florida Gators are in full control of the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division.
The Gators are 3-1 halfway into their conference slate and are the only team in the seven-team division with less than two losses in SEC play after No. 9 Tennessee fell 49-10 against top-ranked Alabama on Saturday afternoon.
“We’re No. 1 in the East and now we control our own destiny,” UF cornerback Jalen Tabor said after the game. “That’s how we wanted it.”
Florida’s four remaining conference games are Oct. 29 against Georgia in Jacksonville, Nov. 5 against No. 22 Arkansas in Fayetteville, Nov. 12 vs. South Carolina in Gainesville and Nov. 19 vs. LSU in Baton Rouge.
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Should Florida come out unscathed from that stretch or with less conference losses than Tennessee (currently ), the Gators will return to Atlanta for the SEC Championship for the second straight season. It’s a feat Florida hasn’t accomplished since the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
“We can’t get complacent,” sophomore running back and former St. Thomas Aquinas standout Jordan Scarlett said. “We can’t get comfortable. We’ve got to go out every game.”
Senior linebacker Jarrad Davis injured his lower left leg during the third quarter and did not return to the game.
UF coach Jim McElwain said no bones were broken but did not have results of the MRI readily available at his postgame news conference.
“We’ll get that looked at,” McElwain said, “and he was in pretty good spirits they said headed up to get the MRI.”
Davis has been a mainstay at linebacker for the Gators this season.
The senior leads the team with 48 tackles this year and also has
He had a team-high-tying eight tackles on Saturday despite barely playing more than a half.
“It was kind of surreal seeing him really get helped off the field because he does so much for this team, so much for this program,” Tabor said. “… I mean, that’s our guy. That’s the heart and soul of this defense.”
Freshman David Reese came into the game during Davis’ absence and chipped in six tackles.
FOLEY GETS GAME BALL
McElwain said outgoing athletics director Jeremy Foley was given the game ball following the game. Saturday’s homecoming contest was the final home game with Foley as AD, as Scott Stricklin takes over the position on Nov. 1.
“When you think about all the things that he has accomplished and things that he’s done for this university, the town of Gainesville, the state of Florida, it’s pretty special,” McElwain said. “To give him the game ball and see the guys stand up, give him a standing ovation and have him break them down when it was all over, you know guys, that’s what life’s all about. That was pretty cool.”
Florida’s offense committed eight false-start penalties throughout the game.
Left tackle David Sharpe was responsible for three of the calls, while fellow lineman Fred Johnson and receiver Antonio Callaway were called for two apiece. The other false start was called on freshman lineman Jawaan Taylor.
“We’ll get it fixed,” McElwain said. “That’s what off weeks are for.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Florida honored its 2006 national championship winning football team during halftime.
▪ UF’s team captains for Saturday’s game were Tabor, running back Mark Herndon, punter Johnny Townsend and center Cam Dillard.