Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators rely on Mike Gillislee again

GAINESVILLE —After three weeks out of the spotlight, Mike Gillislee took center stage again on Saturday.

The senior running back ran for 68 yards on 16 carries and caught the winning 45-yard touchdown on a screen pass to lead Florida past Missouri 14-7 in the Gators' final SEC game of the season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Since rushing for 146 yards on 34 carries in the Gators' 14-6 win over LSU on Oct. 6, the senior running back had gained just 181 yards in his past three games on an average of 3.1 yards per rush.

"I told (offensive coordinator Brent Pease) going into the game we were going to be a little hard-headed with Gilly today," coach Will Muschamp said. "We were going to get him today."

While Florida went scoreless in the first half, Gillislee was effective from the start.

On his second carry of the game, with the Gators backed up on their 11-yard line, Gillislee hit a hole cleared by right guard Jon Halapio of St. Petersburg Catholic and broke into the secondary for a 23-yard gain. The run was Gillislee's longest since his 45-yard scamper in Florida's 37-20 win over Tennessee on Sept. 15.

"Gilly is a phenomenal running back, man," Florida tight end Omarius Hines said. "Whenever he gets the ball, he makes stuff happen."

The Gators rushed for a total of 173 yards, 35 more than the Tigers' defense was allowing on the ground per game before Saturday. Muschamp credited the offensive line with clearing the way for Gillislee in the run game.

"I think the counter game was working very well," Muschamp said. "I think it was blocked extremely well by our offensive line. There were some things open that I think we did a really good job with against a solid front."

Two plays after Frankie Hammond's 43-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter was negated by a holding call on Halapio, quarterback Jeff Driskel hit Gillislee with a short screen pass to the right. Gillislee cut upfield, picked up a block from center Jonotthan Harrison and ran into the end zone untouched to break the 7-7 tie.

"I knew it was a touchdown," Hines said. "As soon as he caught it, I already knew because that's Gilly. That's what Gilly does."

In Florida's 17-9 loss to Georgia last week in Jacksonville, Gillislee was responsible for the longest play of the game: a 29-yard completion on a screen. Harrison said that executing screen plays can often be difficult, but once Gillislee gets the ball, things get easier.

"He's dangerous in space," Harrison said. "He's real dangerous in space and I love him for that. When you think he's down, he's really not down. He's still going. He's got a high motor and we love that about him."

Florida Gators rely on Mike Gillislee again 11/03/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 3, 2012 7:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: TCU’s Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during Thursday’s late College World Series game.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick Friday night in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  4. Peter Budaj loves 'vibe' with Lightning

    Blogs

    Two years ago, nobody was willing to give Peter Budaj a shot, the veteran goalie wondering if he'd ever play in the NHL again.

    Peter Budaj signed a two-year extension with the Lightning, worth $1.025 million per year.