GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Feleipe Franks connected on five first half touchdowns to pace host Florida past the Buccaneers, 53-6, on Saturday night in the 2018 season opener for both teams.
Ronnie Harris provided excitement for the Buccaneers (0-1) late in the first half as the redshirt junior running back broke free on a 71-yard carry to set CSU up with first-and-goal. The Bucs were forced to settle for a field goal attempt with time expiring in the half, and the Gators were able to get a hand on the Tyler Tekac effort to keep the shutout intact.
Terrence Wilson cracked the scoreboard for CSU in the fourth quarter with a 22-yard touchdown run to put the Buccaneers on the board. UF blocked and returned the ensuing extra point for the final score of the contest.
Harris paced the Buccaners' offense on the afternoon with eight carries for 83 yards. London Johnson battled through the relentless Gators pressure in the contest to finish 3-of-12 through the air for two yards. He added 72 yards on the ground on 14 carries.
Franks was 16-of-24 through the air for 219 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Gators (1-0). Van Jefferson was his favorite target with four catches for 34 yards and two scores in the contest.
Solomon Brown led the Bucs' defensive efforts with a team-high eight tackles to go with a tackle for los. Jonathan Slaton and Shadarius Hopkins were active in the passing game with the two combining for four of CSU's five pass breakups in the contest.
Chaunce Gardner-Johnson led Florida's efforts up front defensively with five tackles, two sacks, and 2.5 tackles for loss. Jacahi Polite added the team's lone forced fumble, one of three turnovers the Gators forced on the evening.
How They Scored
- The Gators capped an eight-play, 75-yard opening drive with Feliepe Franks finding Trevon Grimes for the 34-yard reception down the right sideline. The drive was kept alive by Jordan Scarlett's fourth down pickup two plays prior to the touchdown.
- UF was back on the scoreboard on their second possession as the Gators capitalized on a 46-yard completion to Freddie Swain to set up a 21-yard Evan McPherson field goal. CSU's Jonathan Slaton prevented a home run ball during the drive with a pass breakup inside the CSU five-yard line.
- Franks connected on his second touchdown of the first half with a six-yard pass to Van Jefferson to cap a six-play, 43-yard drive to start the second quarter.
- The Gators added their fourth score of the contest as Franks found Josh Hammond in the end zone from six-yards out with 9:51 to play in the half.
- Tyrie Cleveland was the fourth different Gator receiver to find the end zone in the first half as Franks found him on the jump pass over the middle to end the seven-play, 70-yard drive.
- Jefferson hauled in his second touchdown of the opening half to cap UF's scoring in the first 30 minutes with a three-yard reception with 1:38 remaining.
- McPherson put the Gators back on the board to start the second half as UF took advantage of a CSU fumble. The placekicker's 31-yard attempt split the uprights to extend the Gators' lead to 41-0.
- Kyle Trask went over the right end for a 12-yard touchdown run for Florida's first foray into the end zone in the half to cap a five-play, 57-yard drive.
- UF took advantage of a second CSU fumble in the half and capitalized with a 39-yard field goal from Jorge Powell.
- Terrence Wilson put CSU on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter on CSU's longest drive of the contest. The sophomore running back took the handoff around the left end and bulled his way through three Gator defenders and into the end zone from 22 yards out.
- The Gators blocked the CSU extra point attempt with Austin Perry returning it 98 yards to provide the final score.
Inside the Numbers
- CSU outgained the Gators 222-203 on the ground paced by Harris and Johnson's efforts.
- The Bucs also held the 32:02-27:58 edge in time of possession in the game.
- Neither team was able to convert on third down in the game. CSU was 3-of-14 (21.4%) on the field, while the Gators were 2-of-9 (22.2%).
- Florida converted a fourth down opportunity on their opening drive which led to the first touchdown of the game.
- The Bucs were held to nine first downs in the contest, while Florida picked up 25.
- Brandon Rowland was among CSU's tackling leaders again with seven stops, including a game-high six solo tackles on the night.
- James Allen added the Bucs fifth pass breakup of the contest.
- Terrence Wilson finished the contest with 43 yards on nine carries, including CSU's touchdown.
- Kameron Brown caught two of CSU's five completions for -3 yards.
News & Notes of Interest
- Solomon Brown eclipsed 200 career tackles in the contest against the Gators. The redshirt senior defensive lineman has posted over 100 career solo and 100 career assisted tackles with the Buccaneers over the last four seasons.
- Ronnie Harris' 71-yard rush toward the end of the first half was CSU's longest rush from scrimmage since Robert Mitchell went 78 yards on the ground against Presbyterian on October 22, 2016.
- CSU gave up a touchdown on the first drive of the season for the second consecutive year. Last year only Mississippi State was able to score seven points on the Bucs on the opening drive of the game.
- CSU's captains for the game were redshirt senior defensive back Brandon Rowland, redshirt senior offensive lineman Joe Gold, senior wide receiver Saire Davis, and redshirt junior linebacker J.D. Sosebee.
- The Buccaneers fell to 0-20 all-time against FBS opponents since CSU first started taking on their upper-division counterparts in 2002.
- CSU is also 0-7 all-time against the Southeastern Conference and 0-2 against Florida.
Wingate by Wyndham CSU Player of the Game
Postgame Press Conference
Charleston Southern has a bye next weekend before traveling to crosstown rival The Citadel on September 15. Kickoff inside Johnson Hagood Stadium is set for 6 p.m.