Monday, February 19, 2018
Colleges

Caleb Sturgis breaks Florida Gators field goal mark

TALLAHASSEE — His teammates call him one of the biggest offensive weapons on the team. Now they have to call him the best kicker to have played at Florida.

A 45-yarder with 6:53 left in the first half marked senior Caleb Sturgis second field goal of the game and 68th overall, surpassing the school record Jeff Chandler set from 1997-2001. Sturgis, one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award, made three field goals in a game for the fifth time this season.

Florida coach Will Muschamp calls Sturgis, whose 69th field goal came during the fourth quarter, "the best kicker in the country."

Injuries: It has been a tough season for junior LB Jelani Jenkins. Against Texas A&M on Sept. 8, he broke his right thumb and missed 2½ games before returning against LSU wearing a cast. Saturday, he injured his right foot. Jenkins, who had an interception in the game, was in a boot and on crutches after the game. The severity of the injury was unknown. … Senior RB Mike Gillislee injured his ribs with 9:07 remaining in the game and did not return.

SENIOR CELEBRATION: For Florida's seniors, especially on defense, the win was extra special. It was that unit Muschamp labeled "soft" following last season's home loss to Florida State.

"It was probably the biggest win of my career," senior NT Omar Hunter said. "I haven't enjoyed a game this much in my entire life."

MAJOR IMPACT: In a game with so many different plays that swung the momentum, Florida's Marcus Roberson might have had one of the biggest. His 50-yard punt return set up the 14-yard pass from Jeff Driskel to Quinton Dunbar with 7:00 remaining in the game that gave the Gators a 10-point lead.

"I was just lucky enough to get great blocking on the play," said Roberson, who also had a interception 2:57 into the third quarter. "And then I got down the sidelines."

PENALTY PRONE: The Gators are still struggling with penalties, something Muschamp said they continue to address. They were penalized 12 times for 101 yards, including eight for 85 yards during the third quarter.

DOUBLE DUTY: Sophomore Loucheiz Purifoy started at running back as well as cornerback, becoming the first Gator to start both ways since Keiwan Ratliff played cornerback and receiver against Florida State on Nov. 30, 2002.

FINAL WORD: "At the end of the day, you want to be in the conversation. And we're in the conversation. And you want to have the opportunity to play in the big game. But regardless, I'm very proud of our team; the resolve and the improvements we've been able to make." — Muschamp on the Gators being in the mix for the national title.

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