Tampa Bay Sports Day

GATORS: Florida Dismantles North Texas, Vols Up Next

The Florida Gators preseason is over. They ran over three medicocre teams and will now travel to Tennessee to face the Vols on Saturday. The jury is still out on Butch Jones’ crew, despite like the Gators, being 3-0 this season.

Florida has beaten the Volunteers 11 straight times, including coming from behind in the fourth quarter last year in Gainesville.

Florida QB  Luke Del Rio left Saturday night’s 32-0 win over North Texas., late in the third quarter.  Del Rio was hit around the knees by North Texas defensive end Devin O’Hara, who was penalized for a late hit.

The play sent an angry Florida coach Jim McElwain out near midfield.

“You know what, I really care about these players,” McElwain told the media. “I care about them in more ways than just as football players. When you see something like that, it’s my responsibility when their parents aren’t here to be their parents. Each and every guy on this football team knows how much I care for him. I got their back.”

Florida surrendered 53 total yards, which is the lowest its allowed in school history and the minus-13 rushing yards allowed tied the seventh-lowest total in program history

For the first time since 2003 , Florida had four different running backs rush for a touchdown. Mark Thompson, Jordan Scarlett, Jordan Crockrite and Lamical Perine had rushing touchdowns for the Gators.

“We’ll get some guys ready and move forward and get ready to go play next week,” McElwain said. “It should really exciting. It’s one of those games that I’m sure they’ve been zeroed in on since last year in the Swamp.”

Del Rio completed 14 of 25 passes for 186 yards with no touchdowns and one interception before leaving the game. Austin Appleby replaced Del Rio and led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives.

Florida entered the game ranked second in the nation in total defense. Neither of the Gators’ first two opponents — Massachusetts or Kentucky — eclipsed 200 yards of total offense. Florida recorded its first shutout since its 65-0 season-opening rout of Eastern Michigan in 2014

Florida defensive lineman Caleb Brantley sacked Mean Green QB Mason Fine for a safety on North Texas’ second offensive play. The Gators led 19-0 at halftime.

“I don’t think we put our best foot forward on offense,” North Texas coach Seth Littrell said. “The defense had an unbelievable week, and they were a week better. The offense wasn’t.”

GAME NOTES: Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway missed the game with a quad injury. … Florida held North Texas to minus-3 yards of offense in the first quarter. … lorida defesnive back Marcell Harris returned an interception 25 yards to the North Texas 16-yard line late in the second quarter. But the Gators failed to capitalize, turning the ball over on downs..Florida has held three consecutive opponents under 10 points for the first time since 1988 and fourth time since 1967…he Gators are the only FBS team this year to hold three opponents to fewer than 200 total yards.