Alabama dominates Florida 38-10
History suggests Florida has become one of the toughest places to win a football game.
Statistics and newspaper clippings back it up with rich accounts of the Gators’ home-field house of horrors. The 90,888 fans who stuffed themselves inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday night – the second-largest crowd in school history – only added to the legend of Florida Field.
And when John Brantley launched a deep pass on Florida’s first offensive play, Andre Debose raced past Dre Kirkpatrick, snatching it and sprinting away for a 65-yard touchdown.
The Swamp was suddenly Animal House, a tangled celebration of orange and blue.
How would Alabama respond?
With the backbone of a winner.
“The goal tonight was to attack and be aggressive from the very start,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “At the beginning we were maybe too hyped up. It really shows the resiliency of our team.”
The third-ranked Crimson Tide defeated No. 12 Florida 38-10. Alabama (5-0, 2-0) scored 35 unanswered points while Florida (4-1, 2-1) watched helplessly.
The Gators could not stop junior running back Trent Richardson. The Pensacola native rushed for a career-high 29 carries and 181 yards, including two touchdowns.
It was Alabama’s first win at Florida since 1999 when the Tide rallied for a 40-39 overtime victory.
A kaleidoscope of runs, hits and dynamite destroyed the kitchen sink that Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis promised to throw at the Tide.
Richardson was aided by solid run blocking and complemented by the poised pocket presence of AJ McCarron (12-for-25 passing, 140 yards). It was a lightning-quick lick from linebacker Courtney Upshaw in the second quarter that helped the Tide begin to take control for good.
With the game tied at 10, Upshaw gobbled up Florida speedster Chris Rainey for a 7-yard loss. Then Upshaw intercepted Brantley two plays later and sprinted 45 yards untouched for a momentum-changing touchdown. It was the second pick-six in as many games for Alabama, and the second year in a row the Tide returned an interception against Florida for a score.
Upshaw led Alabama with four tackles, including three for losses, and a sack.
The Gators’ offense, which relied heavily Saturday night on its passing game, was suddenly silenced.
And it would get worse for the Gators.
Upshaw sacked Florida’s starting quarterback two plays before halftime, knocking him out of the game with what Florida coach Will Muschamp called a “lower leg” injury. Brantley was 11-for-16 passing for 190 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
“When we lost John,” Muschamp said, “it took the wind out of our sails in some of the things we were trying to do in the run game.”
Alabama’s defense was stifling once more, holding Florida to 222 total yards, including three sacks, four fumbles (one lost) and an interception.
The Tide smothered the Gators’ normally effective running game of Rainey and Jeff Demps, who rushed a combined 14 times for 8 yards. Florida backup quarterback Jeff Driskel was the Gators’ leading rusher with six carries for 18 yards. Florida had just 15 rushing yards for the game.
“We got beat by a better team tonight,” Muschamp said. “… You can’t afford to make some of the costly mistakes.”