Florida Too Much For Colorado State to Handle

(Photo Credit: Zach Balside / CSU Athletics)

Written by Erik Slaby

Gainesville, FL – On a hot, humid afternoon at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, where the temperature at kickoff was 96 degrees and tied for the hottest game ever at the stadium, the University of Florida Gators defeated the visiting Colorado State Rams, 48-10. The game was closer than what the final score indicated and had it not been for several self-inflicted mistakes and not taking advantage of opportunities offensively by Colorado State, the final score might have been closer.

Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo spoke after the game about the mistakes they made and how it affected the game.

“I thought we played extremely hard,” said Bobo. “We can’t have the turnovers, (Florida) basically got 27 points off of the turnovers if my math is right and the dropped punt, fumbled snap, and we can’t do that against a good football team. Even with all that happened, you’re still in position right there in the fourth quarter I think [down] 17, to make something happen and just didn’t execute on offense. Had some guys open, we missed them and the air kind of went out of our tank, but our guys fought for 60 minutes. It’s like I told them, they need to hold their heads high, came out here and fought and you can’t make that many mistakes against a good football team and expect to win.”

Early on in the first half, it appeared that this might be a close game. The Colorado State defense was able to stifle the Florida offense on their first four drives, holding them to only six points. Which is fairly impressive considering how two of those drives started deep in Colorado State territory. Coincidently, both of those drives ended in field goals for the Gators. Early in the second quarter, the Gators led Colorado State 6-0 but there was some optimism from the Rams as they had been able to move the ball fairly well against the Florida defense with all four of their offensive drives ending because of self-inflicted mistakes. Two of the drives ended in missed field goals and the other two drives ended in fumbles. As the second quarter continued, that’s when Florida began to flex their muscles and dominate.

There’s an old saying that “bad things come in threes” and boy do they. After Colorado State’s second missed field goal attempt, Florida got the ball at their own 35-yard line and had their first bit of offensive success of the game. They had a five play, 65-yard drive that ended in a 30-yard touchdown run by running back Jordan Scarlett. Colorado State’s next offensive drive went nowhere and they were forced to punt. Florida answered right back with a six play, 44-yard drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks to wide receiver Freddie Swain. Disaster struck for Colorado State on their next possession.

On Colorado State’s third possession of the second quarter, they were once again, not able to get anything going offensively and they were forced to punt. Rams punter Ryan Stonehouse was punting deep behind the line of scrimmage, which was at the Colorado State 28-yard line. After the ball was snapped, multiple Florida special teamers broke through the punt protection unit and blocked the punt. The punt bounced high into the air and bounced around a bit before landing in the end zone where Florida wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland recovered the ball for a touchdown. At that point, the score was 27-0 and it seemed like Colorado State would be in for a rough second half.

The Rams were able to get a field goal before halftime, cutting the Florida lead to 24 points. Colorado State got the ball to start the second half and they quickly looked like they may have found their groove offensively. They went on a seven play, 75-yard drive that ended in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Colorado State quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels to tight end Trey McBride. At that point, the score was 27-10 and it felt like momentum may be shifting to Colorado State’s favor. But it was not to be.

Florida and Colorado State traded multiple punts as neither team could get anything going offensively. Once again though, special teams came back to bite Colorado State. Early in the fourth quarter, Rams punter Ryan Stonehouse had an impressive 54-yard punt that completed flipped the field but Florida’s returner, Freddie Swain, returned the punt for an 85-yard touchdown. The score was 34-10 and at that point, it felt like Colorado State’s chances of making a comeback were completely gone. Florida would add two more touchdowns to close out the game and put the final nail in the coffin.

Florida head coach Dan Mullen spoke after the game about how important it was to play all four quarters, given how Colorado State has come back and made games close, or in the case of last week against Arkansas, won the game.

“We knew we had to play a four-quarter game because of what that team (Colorado State) has done,” said Mullen. “They were in a better position today than they have been in their last few games and they almost came back and won those games. We knew we had to finish all four quarters.”

Offensively, Colorado State was led by Carta-Samuels who completed 21 of 33 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown. Running back Marvin Kinsey Jr. led the team in rushing with 15 carries for 79 yards. Colorado State’s net rushing yards, after sacks and rushes for losses, were 70 yards on 42 attempts. Wide receiver Preston Williams led the team in receiving with nine catches for 106 yards. Carta-Samuels was pressured by the Florida defense for the majority of the game, getting hit six times and getting sacked five times. Florida also had nine tackles-for-loss which greatly limited the rushing attack.

Florida was not particularly productive offensively this game, they were gift-wrapped great field position numerous times from Colorado State’s mistakes and their special teams and defense played very well. Franks completed 8 of 15 passes for 119 yards and threw two touchdown passes and one interception. Running back Dameon Peirce led the team in rushing with five carries for 87 yards and one touchdown. Fellow running back Jordan Scarlett added six carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. Florida finished with 222 yards rushing but most of that yardage came off of a 68-yard run from Peirce and a 30-yard run from Scarlett.

Colorado State returns home to Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium next week to face off against the Illinois State Redbirds. The game is at 3PM EST. Florida gets back into SEC conference play next week and travels to Neyland Stadium to take on their rival, the Tennessee Volunteers. That game will be at 7PM EST.

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