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No. 18 Florida Gators rout UAB Blazers 39-0

GAINESVILLE — It wasn't the test coach Will Muschamp had hoped for as the Gators prepare to face Tennessee this week. But for now, it's good enough.

"We wanted to be 2-0, and that's what we are," he said.

Senior running back/receiver Chris Rainey had a career-high 162 total yards, including a 19-yard touchdown run with 9:02 remaining in the third quarter, and senior John Brantley went 12-of-19 for 195 yards to lead No. 18 Florida to a 39-0 victory over UAB at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Muschamp's shutout tied for the quickest for a first-year coach. Galen Hall also had one in his second game in 1984. It also was Florida's first shutout since Nov. 18, 2006, 62-0 over I-AA Western Carolina, and UAB's first time without scoring in 58 games.

The Gators (2-0) will move into the heart of their season when they host Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

"I told (defensive coordinator) Dan Quinn on the sideline to enjoy the moment. It's hard to get a shutout," Muschamp said.

"I've been a coordinator a long time, and in this day and age, it's very difficult to get a shutout. We start the SEC (this) week, and we're looking forward to that. We're excited to get into conference action."

The Gators opened up big when Brantley connected with Quinton Dunbar for a 40-yard pass on the game's first play. It set up their first score, a 24-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis.

In all, seven nonquarterbacks got carries and seven players caught passes for the Gators.

The lopsided score a week after a 41-3 victory against Florida Atlantic leaves the looming question of really how good are the Gators.

Brantley said he believes Florida is prepared for the more difficult opponents that await.

"We're going to work hard this week because we know the SEC season is starting and it's time to pick it up," Brantley said. "Absolutely, we're ready. Those first two games, we've been able to fix some bugs and clean things up that we needed to."

Even without much opposition Saturday night, Florida had issues Muschamp said must be addressed quickly.

The Gators had seven penalties for 40 yards in the first half and had to settle for field goals on three of five trips in the red zone.

With senior running back Jeff Demps sidelined with a shoulder injury in the second quarter, Rainey, Mike Gillislee (11 carries for 79 yards) and Trey Burton (six for 46) carried the load.

Freshman fullback Hunter Joyer, a former Wesley Chapel standout, scored the Gators' first touchdown of the night, a 3-yard carry with 2:09 remaining in the first quarter on his first career carry.

The Florida defense, which remains a work in progress due to injuries and position battles, was solid but not great Muschamp said.

Bryan Ellis, who threw for more than 3,000 yards last season, was 15-of-28 for 141 yards but couldn't get the Blazers (0-1) in the end zone. The Gators had one fumble recovery but no interceptions, and Muschamp said turnover margin remains a concern.

"I just didn't feel like we played as clean as we needed to play on either side of the ball," he said. But defensively, I just didn't feel like we were on top of where we needed to be at all times."

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

No. 18 Florida 39

UAB 0

No. 18 Florida Gators rout UAB Blazers 39-0 09/10/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 11, 2011 12:26am]
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