FINAL Samford Bulldogs are defeated by the Florida Gators.
In Florida’s come-from-behind 70-52 win against lower-division Samford on Saturday, Emory Jones threw for 544 yards and seven touchdowns, putting in a career effort.
Despite the fact that the Gators (5-5) broke a three-game losing streak, the offensive shootout in the Swamp seemed more like a defeat than any other result in Dan Mullen’s four years in Gainesville.
Florida allowed the most points (42) in a half against any opponent, and it came against a Southern Conference middle-of-the-pack club less than a week after Mullen sacked two of his top coordinators.
Following Florida’s 40-17 loss to South Carolina last week, Mullen pledged to get the team back on track. No one anticipated it to happen in a day or two. The Gators, on the other hand, lacked enthusiasm, appeared disoriented at times, and trailed by as many as 14 points in a game they were favoured by more than five touchdowns.
Mullen’s employment would have been jeopardised if the Gators had lost at Samford (4-6), and the Gators would have been on the hook for his $12 million buyout.
Mullen’s destiny, though, is expected to be determined by Florida’s next two games: at Missouri and at home against rival Florida State. If he wins both, he’ll have an opportunity to make a difference in Gainesville. If one goes down, athletic director Scott Stricklin will almost certainly be looking for a successor for Mullen.
No one can perceive Florida as a programme that is progressing in the right way. The Gators had lost eight of their previous ten games against Power Five opponents and were on the verge of losing to a Football Championship Subdivision team.
Florida has won its previous four games by a cumulative score of 199-16 against FCS opponents. The Bulldogs lead 42-28 late in the second quarter after scoring touchdowns on five of their opening six possessions – with no opposition.
With a successful onside kick following a score, Samford’s upset bid extended into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, had to settle for a field goal after failing to convert on fourth down and failing to stop the Gators down the line.
Jones threw for 464 yards and six touchdowns on 28 of 34 passing attempts.
Those passing percentages were all career highs. He also had 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Dameon Pierce ran seven times for 78 yards and two more touchdowns, while Kemore Gamble grabbed six receptions for 122 yards and two more.
Liam Welch of Samford completed 33 of 52 throws for 400 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. He also rushed for 65 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Montrell Washington scored on a 98-yard kickoff return, ran for a touchdown, and grabbed a touchdown pass.
Florida 70, Samford 52
Samford 21 21 0 10 — 52
Florida 14 21 21 14 — 70
SAM_Washington 1 run (Z.Williams kick), 10:26.
FLA_Davis 6 run (Howard kick), 6:56.
SAM_Vice 58 pass from Welch (Z.Williams kick), 4:53.
FLA_Weston 9 pass from Jones (Howard kick), 4:02.
SAM_Stanton 40 pass from Welch (Z.Williams kick), 1:25.
FLA_Jones 31 run (Howard kick), 14:19.
SAM_Welch 4 run (Z.Williams kick), 10:02.
FLA_Pierce 1 run (Howard kick), 8:10.
SAM_Washington 98 kickoff return (Z.Williams kick), 7:55.
SAM_Welch 10 run (Z.Williams kick), 3:17.
FLA_Wright 45 pass from Jones (Howard kick), 1:03.
FLA_Davis 49 pass from Jones (Howard kick), 12:34.
FLA_Gamble 7 pass from Jones (Howard kick), 6:12.
FLA_Pierce 13 pass from Jones (Howard kick), 1:24.
SAM_Washington 23 pass from Welch (Z.Williams kick), 13:59.
SAM_FG Z.Williams 33, 11:59.
FLA_Gamble 18 pass from Jones (Howard kick), 9:03.
FLA_Pierce 24 run (Howard kick), 5:37.
First downs 28 28
Total Net Yards 529 717
Rushes-yards 32-111 35-253
Passing 418 464
Punt Returns 0-0 0-0
Kickoff Returns 6-198 6-122
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 1-0
Comp-Att-Int 34-53-1 28-34-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 2-11 0-0
Punts 2-36.5 2-33.5
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 3-30 12-94
Time of Possession 28:53 31:07
STATISTICS ON INDIVIDUALS
Welch 16-65, Stanton 7-19, Washington 3-18, D.Williams 2-6, Ware 2-4, Boles 1-3, (Team) 1- (minus 4). Florida, Jones had 10-86 yards, Pierce had 7-78 yards, Wright had 8-47 yards, Davis had 6-33, Bowman had 2-7 yards, Lingard had 1-3 yards, and Copeland had one yard (minus 1).
PASSING Welch 33-52-1-402, Washington 1-1-0-16 for Samford. Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones, Jones
Samford, Washington 10-126, Creamer 7-96, Vice 4-94, Pollard 3-21, Smith 3-0, Stanton 2-42, Ware 2-16, King 2-7, Welch 1-16. RECEIVING Samford, Washington 10-126, Creamer 7-96, Vice 4-94, Pollard 3-21, Smith 3-0, Stanton 2-42, Ware 2-16, King 2-7, Welch 1-16. Henderson 7-60, Gamble 6-122, Shorter 6-93, Pierce 3-48, Davis 2-65, Wright 2-53, Copeland 1-14, Weston 1-9. Florida: Henderson 7-60, Gamble 6-122, Shorter 6-93, Pierce 3-48, Davis 2-65, Wright 2-53, Copeland 1-14, Weston 1-9.
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