The Eastern Michigan University football team traveled to Gainesville, Fla. Saturday for a matchup against the University of Florida and left on the wrong side of a 65-0 blowout against the Gators.
Saturday’s game was the season-opener for the Gators, after last Saturday’s game between Florida and the University of Idaho was postponed due to thunderstorms.
“Hats off to Florida, you know, with the game being cancelled last week – this being their opener, they came out with a bang,” EMU coach Chris Creighton said after the game to emueagles.com. “They played great. [It’s] a great environment. We’re definitely a disappointed group.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback Reggie Bell started his second consecutive game for Eastern (1-1). He was 2-of-5 for 4 yards and 1 interception. Sophomore Brogan Roback entered the game in the first quarter and was 5-of-10 passing for 29 yards.
Jake Driskel got the start for the Gators (1-0), going 31-for-45 for 248 yards and 1 touchdown.
Senior tight end Tyreese Russell led the Eagles in receiving. He had 2 catches for 12 yards. Junior receiver Dustin Creel had 2 catches for 12 yards.
Florida receiver DeMarcus Robinson had 6 catches for 123 yards and a score.
Bell was the Eagles’ leading rusher – he carried the ball 7 times for 20 yards.
Senior running back Bronson Hill was a non-factor in the loss. He had 7 carries for 0 total yards.
For the Gators, Kelvin Taylor led the way on the ground with 8 carries for 68 yards and 2 touchdowns.
After being forced to punt on their first drive, the Eagles forced Gator kicker Francisco Velez to kick a 33-yard field goal, which put Florida up 3-0 midway through the first quarter, capping a 16 play, 63 yard drive.
On Eastern’s next drive, a Reggie Bell fumble was recovered by Caleb Brantley. On Florida’s next offensive play, Kelvin Taylor scored on a 31-yard touchdown run. Velez made the point after attempt to put the Gators up 10-0 with 6:00 to go in the first quarter.
Matt Jones scored the next touchdown for Florida – a 40-yard run to put the Gators ahead 17-0.
Brandon Powell scored the last touchdown of the first half for the Gators with a 12-yard run early in the second quarter.
Two more field goals – a 36-yarder and a 29-yarder gave the Gators a 30-0 lead going into the half.
The second half started right where the first ended –with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Jake Driskel to Jones.
Taylor added another touchdown with 3:33 to go in the 3rd quarter.
Redshirt senior quarterback Rob Bolden entered the game for the Eagles in the 4th quarter and on his second pass as an Eagle, he threw an interception to Duke Dawson, which was returned for a touchown.
Bolden finished the game 2-of-5 for 4 yards.
Florida backup quarterback Treon Harris entered the game to begin the 4th quarter and threw a 70-yard touchdown bomb to DeMarcus Robinson with 14:47 to go in the game.
Harris was 2-of-2 for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Mark Herndon finished the scoring for the Gators with a 78-yard touchdown catch from Harris at the 12:08 mark of the 4th.
Creighton said his team has a lot of work to do after the blowout loss.
“One of the things that Eastern Michigan football has to learn is how to face fight and defeat – adversity – it’s football adversity,” he said. “That’s going to be the key to making this program a winner and we got our fair share of it today.”
The Eagles next travel to Norfolk, Va. to take on Old Dominion University.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Follow Al Willman on Twitter: @AlWillmanEcho