Florida Gators: Alan Bonner

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Here’s an analysis of three key plays in Florida’s 23-0 victory over Jacksonville State on Saturday -- and what they mean for the Gators moving forward.

Poor tackling

Kim Klement/US Presswire

Instant analysis: Florida 23, JSU 0

November, 17, 2012

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Sixth-ranked Florida finished the season unbeaten at Florida Field with a harder-than-it-should-have-been victory over Football Championship Subdivision foe Jacksonville State. The Gators led only 10-0 at halftime before pulling away and winning 23-0, thanks to a defensive score.

It was over when: LB Jon Bostic intercepted Marques Ivory's pass and returned it 7 yards for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead early in the third quarter.

Game ball goes to: RB Mike Gillislee, who had his best game in more than a month. Gillislee ran for 122 yards and one touchdown. It's the first time he had gained more than 100 yards and the first time he had scored a touchdown since he ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns against LSU.

Stat of the game: Florida's 23 points were the second-fewest Jacksonville State has allowed this season. Southeast Missouri scored 16. Tennessee-Martin scored 49 against the Gamecocks two weeks ago.

Unsung hero of the game: Florida's punt returners have struggled fielding punts all season. The biggest issue has been letting them bounce instead of coming up to field them, resulting in a lot of lost yardage. But CB Marcus Roberson did a good job of fair-catching three punts in traffic. He also had a 31-yard return.

Best call: Jacksonville State called a reverse pass that went for a first down and jump-started what should have been a scoring drive (K Griffin Thomas missed from 36 yards). Ivory handed the ball to WR Alan Bonner, who hit WR Trey Smith for a 20-yard gain.

Second guessing: Jacksonville State stunned the crowd with a 76-yard gain on the first offensive snap -- WE Kevyn Cooper stayed on his feet after being hit and took off down the sideline -- and had a first-and-goal at the UF 7-yard line. Three plays later they were at the 8, and coach Jack Crowe opted to kick a field goal. Why not try for the TD, especially when you have a kicker who entered the game 9-for-16? You've got nothing to lose when you're playing in a game like this.

Second guessing II: The Gators like to use the wildcat formation with Trey Burton taking the snap. That means QB Jacoby Brissett has to line up wide, which normally just takes him out of the play. However, the Gators ran a jet sweep toward Brissett's side, which meant Brissett had to block a CB. It's a surprising move because QBs usually don't block well and it also exposes him to a greater chance of injury. Considering starting QB Jeff Driskel is already out with a sprained ankle, why take the risk?
Jacksonville State (6-5) at No. 6 Florida (9-1)
Saturday, 1 p.m. ET
Florida Field, Gainesville, Fla.

Gators to watch

[+] EnlargeMatt Jones
AP Photo/Wade PayneFlorida freshman running back Matt Jones has run 33 times for 113 yards and a touchdown in 10 games this season.
RB Matt Jones: Going on the assumption that the Gators get up big and play a lot of young players in the second half (although we thought that last week, too), Jones should get some pretty significant work, especially with Mack Brown out with an ankle injury. Jones has run for 113 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries in spot duty. He hasn’t done much lately, though. Since carrying the ball 10 times for 45 yards against Kentucky, he has touched it only 10 times in the last six games, including six carries for 24 yards against Missouri.

SS Matt Elam: This likely is Elam’s last game at Florida Field because he’s expected to leave early for the NFL instead of returning for his senior season. He is such a versatile player and the Gators lean on him pretty heavily for a lot of things. He lines up near the line of scrimmage to help in run support, can play as a single high safety as well as two deep, and is also pretty solid in man coverage.

QB Jacoby Brissett: He’ll be making his first start since the opener and should put up some pretty decent numbers considering Jacksonville State has one of the worst defenses in the Football Championship Subdivision. Two things on which to focus: How quickly does he get rid of the ball, and how does he react to the blitz. Those are two important issues that he’ll have to deal with against Florida State next week if starter Jeff Driskel can’t play.

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