With one quarter in the books, Florida's offense was struggling Saturday.
The Gators led Sun Belt Conference member Troy only 7-3, and the Trojans recovered a Tim Tebow fumble three plays into the second quarter.
"We're not really used to seeing that, but when that happens — we're the defense, that's our job to go out there and stop them," redshirt senior linebacker Ryan Stamper said.
Stop them they did.
Troy started its first of five second-quarter drives at the UF 40-yard line, but the Gators didn't allow a point thanks to a botched snap by Troy holder Austin Silvoy on fourth down.
UF allowed just two first downs in the second quarter — one from a pass interference penalty by linebacker A.J. Jones. The unit jumpstarted the offense, giving it excellent field position on an interception by cornerback Janoris Jenkins and a fumble recovery by defensive end Jermaine Cunningham.
The Gators started two drives on or inside Troy's 40, both of which led to touchdowns. From there, UF's offense was in high gear, boosting the score to 35-3 by half en route to a 56-6 victory.
"If it wasn't for great defense — if that was that outfit two years ago when we weren't playing very well on defense — that game's not what it ended up," coach Urban Meyer said. "It kinda takes the wind out of a team on that opposing sideline when they just can't gain any yards. Nothing's working. Throwing's not working. Running the ball's not working. It's just a dominating performance by our defense."
During the 21/2 quarters in which UF's defensive starters played, the Gators ran predominantly a three-down-lineman front with three linebackers and five defensive backs. Junior Justin Trattou moved inside, flanked by ends Jermaine Cunningham and Carlos Dunlap.
Meyer called the 3-3-5 scheme "pressure-oriented" and said it was something Florida wanted to use after sticking to its basic 4-3 against Charleston Southern. The Gators had three sacks against the Trojans after none last week.
Through two games, UF's defense hasn't allowed a touchdown, giving up just three field goals. UF allowed Troy just eight first downs, and the Trojans were 2 for 16 on third down.
Now all eyes turn to Tennessee as the Gators open SEC play against the Volunteers on Saturday in the Swamp. Last year UF's defense held UT to six points and caused three turnovers (two fumbles, one interception) in Knoxville.
"We're ready for Tennessee right now," Stamper said.
Dunlap added: "Once you get into the SEC, that's where the real football starts."
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Number of the day
45 Career rushing touchdowns by Florida QB Tim Tebow, which ties him for third in the SEC record book with current Bucs and former Auburn RB Cadillac Williams (2001-04). Tebow ran it in from 4 yards out in the second quarter of a 56-6 win over Troy on Saturday. Former Georgia RB Herschel Walker leads with 49.