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No. 7 Gators blank Jacksonville State without Driskel
Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Mike Gillislee carried the ball 20 times for 122 yards and a touchdown as the seventh-ranked Florida Gators blanked the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, 23-0, Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
With starting quarterback Jeff Driskel sidelined with an ankle injury, Gillislee carried the load for the Gators, while backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett completed 14-of-22 passes for 154 yards in the start.
"I feel like I played alright, managed the game pretty well," Brissett remarked. "We came out with the win so that's good enough for me."
The Gators (10-1) have won three straight since an Oct. 27 loss to Georgia, but have already been eliminated from contention in the SEC Eastern Division.
They finish off their regular season with a matchup against No. 10 Florida State next weekend, which could bolster Florida's chances at an at-large bid to a BCS bowl.
Marques Ivory finished 14-of-25 for 169 yards with an interception and Kevyn Cooper hauled in three passes for 93 yards for the Gamecocks (6-5), who've lost five of their six road games this season.
"We had some opportunities in the first half," Jacksonville State coach Jack Crowe said. "That's the first time we've been shut out in a long time. But if you're going to have it happen, you want it to be against a quality team like they are."
Ivory hit Cooper for 76 yards on the Gamecocks' opening play from scrimmage, but Griffin Thomas missed a 25-yard field goal and Jacksonville State came up empty.
It was all Florida from there.
Gillislee rushed eight times for 35 yards on Florida's opening drive, including a 7-yard TD surge to cap the 12-play, 80-yard march.
After a three-and-out from the Gamecocks, Gillislee ripped off a 46-yard surge on the Gators' first play, and Trey Burton followed with 13 more to the Jacksonville State 13, setting up Caleb Sturgis' 21-yard field goal to press the lead to 10-0 with 2:22 left in the first.
After the teams exchanged punts, Jacksonville State again came up empty on a deep drive into Florida territory when Thomas missed a 36-yarder to keep it a 10-0 contest with under six minutes left until halftime.
The Gators answered with a deep drive into Jacksonville State territory, but Sturgis' 27-yard field goal attempt was blocked to send the Gators into the locker room holding a 10-0 advantage.
The Florida offense was forced to punt on the opening drive of the second half, but the defense quickly picked up the slack, as Jon Bostic intercepted Ivory's first pass of the half and took it seven yards into the end zone to give Florida a 17-0 lead early in the third.
The Gators got a pair of field goals from Sturgis early in the fourth, as he nailed a 44-yarder less than a minute into the final quarter and after a three-and-out from the Gamecocks, buried a 47-yarder to press the lead to 23-0 with 11:41 left in the game.
The teams exchanged punts from there, as the Gators held the visitors out of scoring range to hang on for the shutout.
This game marked the first meeting between these schools on the football field ... Jacksonville State finished 4-of-16 on third downs, while Florida converted 2-of-11 third downs ... Florida held Jacksonville State to 48 rushing yards ... The Gators rushed for 202 yards and compiled 356 total yards of offense.
11/17 19:40:26 ET
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