Troy falls at “The Swamp”

Published 4:06 pm Saturday, September 12, 2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The rain moved through “The Swamp” early in the Trojans match-up with the top-ranked Florida Gators, but it only slowed the Gators early as Florida defeated Troy 56-6 in front of 90,349 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The teams traded punts to open the game’s first two series, and an early Troy (0-2) fumble helped the Gators get on the board. DuJuan Harris fumbled to the Gators on the Trojans 29-yard line. Four plays later Florida (2-0) found the end zone when Tim Tebow connected with Deonte Thompson to put the Gators on the scoreboard.

The Trojans offense got off to a slow start as well in the game, but the Trojans defense kept things close through the first quarter.

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“We would have liked to play a little better on offense,” head coach Larry Blakeney said. “Tebow and all those guys can run so well across the board and the guys that come in behind them can too. I don’t know what anybody expected out of this. We had a little more problem with the wet ball than Florida did. There were a lot of loose ball situations.”

The Trojans got their best field position of the first quarter when Trojans defensive end Brandon Lang caused a Gators’ fumble. The Trojans offense set up shop on the Gators 39-yard line, but the offensive woes continued.

The Trojans did manage to get their initial first down of the game, but it was a tough one to earn as Maurice Greer needed two yards and was tackled right at the yard marker. Freshman Shawn Southward followed with the Trojans second first down on the very next play. Southward gained 14 yards on the carry, and the offense got things rolling.

The drive stalled and kicker Sam Glusman booted a 45-yard field goal through the uprights to put the Trojans on the board, and trim the lead to 7-3 with 51 seconds to play in the opening quarter. The drive went for 34 yards on nine plays for the Trojans to get on the board.

Things looked good for Troy at the beginning of the second quarter when the defense forced another Florida turnover. Senior defensive end Cameron Sheffield came from behind Tebow, knocking the ball loose and Trojan linebacker David McDowell pounced on the football for the Trojans.

The Trojans offense continued their momentum built from the previous drive, pushing the ball down to the Florida 20-yard line. The Trojans attempted their second field of the contest, but the snap to holder Austin Silvoy squirted through his gloves for a 15-yard loss with 13:04 to play in the contest.

That play manufactured big momentum change in the contest, as the Garors kept it on their side the rest of the afternoon.

Florida marched down the field to post the second touchdown of the game. Tebow connected with Riley Cooper for a 36-yard touchdown pass – ending a five play, 65 yard drive that took 1:31 to complete.

The Gators punched in touchdowns on their next three drives as well to take a 35-3 lead to the halftime locker room.

The Gators deferred their choice on the coin toss and started the second half with the football. It didn’t take long for them to get back to the end zone. Tebow hit Brandon James for a 32-yard touchdown to end the six play opening drive.

With 8:38 on the third quarter clock the Gators were back in the end zone again. Florida took a 49-3 lead over the Trojans.

Glusman continued her strong performance on the afternoon, nailing a 42-yard field goal in soggy conditions to trim the deficit to 49-6. The drive ate up 4:05 off the clock, taking nine plays to go 29 yards.

Florida punched another touchdown in with 6:19 to play for the final margin Saturday afternoon.

Troy quarterback Levi Brown finished the day completing just eight of his 24 pass attempts for 66 yards; while Cornelius Williams and Josh Jarboe were the only receivers to catch multiple passes. Harris led the effort on the ground with 44 yards on 16 carries, while Southward finished with 27 yards on just three carries.

Meanwhile, for Florida, Tebow finished 15-of-24 for 237 yards and four touchdowns, while he accounted for 71 of the Gators’ 291 rushing yards.

“I haven’t changed my mind about Florida,” Blakeney said. “They are probably the best personnel football program in America, man-for-man, 85 scholarships; best football player in American and arguable the best coach in America. A lot of people are going to come to this place and leave with a loss this year.”

“We just competed against the best in the nation. I think we will get better because of it. We got out without any serious injuries. We’ve got to work hard towards UAB.”

The Trojans will look to grab their first win of the season next Saturday, when they host in-state rival UAB. The game is scheduled to start at 2:30 at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.