Jeff Driskel is not a senior, but Florida’s much-maligned redshirt junior quarterback shined in possibly his final game in The Swamp.
Driskel accounted for four touchdowns (three passing), throwing for 164 yards on 9-of-11 passing in Florida’s 52-3 win against Eastern Kentucky.
“I have a lot of confidence in Jeff,” coach Will Muschamp said. “Unfortunately, we went through a stretch there where we didn’t take care of the ball at the position, and we didn’t move the football consistently enough. We’ve had some success going in another direction. But I’ve had all the confidence that Jeff, given the opportunity, would perform well.”
Freshman quarterback Treon Harris, the former Booker T. Washington High star, injured his leg late in the second quarter, and Driskel played the rest of the game until late.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
It has been a tough two years for Driskel, who was benched six weeks ago after turning the ball over 12 times in four games.
Last season, Driskel broke his leg against Tennessee and missed nine games. It was a grand freefall for the former Hagerty High star, who led the Gators to 11 wins as a sophomore in 2012.
Driskel graduated this summer and is eligible to transfer and play immediately in 2015. He was also selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 29th round of the 2013 MLB Draft.
With Harris — whose leg is “fine” and will start next weekend at Florida State — and freshman Will Grier waiting in the wings, Driskel has plenty of options to ponder during the offseason.
“You don’t think about that during the season. That’s something that you’ve got to sit down and talk about after the season,” he said.
“I haven’t thought about it. You know, people ask and they don’t believe you that you haven’t thought about it, but you’ve got to totally clear your mind and focus on one week at a time.”
The Gators honored 22 seniors, with several delivering notable performances in the home finale.
Linebacker Michael Taylor had a team-high nine tackles, including a stop for a loss and a pass breakup. Returner Andre Debose had a 39-yard return. Wideout Quinton Dunbar had a career-high 107 yards receiving, scoring his first touchdown in 23 games, and fake field-goal star Mike McNeely had his first receiving career touchdown on a 28-yard completion.
In all, 18 seniors saw action, including rarely used walk-ons Christian Provancha, Ben Peacock and Ryan Parrish.
EMU wideout Jeff Glover snagged a 29-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds remaining in the first half, but officials overruled the call when replays showed the football hit the ground.
Prior to the ruling, Glover spiked the ball and did the “Gator Chomp,” immediately flagged for an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.
With the touchdown off the board, EMU was forced to punt instead of settling for a field goal thanks to the 15-yard flag.
THIS AND THAT
Fourth-string tailback Adam Lane led UF in rushing, tallying 60 yards on six carries, including a rumbling 29-yard run. … The Gators’ two first-half passing touchdowns were their most in an opening period since 2012. … Demarcus Robinson recorded a pair of touchdown receptions, giving him seven on the season and the most by a UF wideout since 2009 (Riley Cooper, nine). … EMU converted a third-and-16, as Florida’s opponents are now 7 for 17 on third-and-15-plus yards. … EMU received a $500,000 payout for the game … The Colonels fumbled eight times, amazingly recovering seven. They were penalized eight times for 71 yards.