Sep 8, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Florida Gators linebacker Jon Bostic (1) sacks Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) in the second quarter at Kyle Field. Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE
By Travis Duncan
Gator Envy Writer
This one felt good for head coach Will Muschamp.
"Everybody wanted the glory story with A&M and they didn't get," a defiant coach reminded us after a hard fought 20-17 victory in College Station, TX.
Not all games are created equal in college football. Not all Saturday's are created equal. Not all wins are equal.
Saturday's W was the most important win for the Gators in the last two seasons.
The Gators made adjustments, they moved the chains, they overcame injuries. Young players played to their potential and the Gators defeated an SEC west opponent on the road.
The biggest story of the game was the adjustment the Gator defense made in the second half. After allowing 17 first half points, the Gator defense forced Texas A&M to punt on all six drives of the second half, including four three-and-outs.
In the first half, Texas A&M did a good job of finding gaps in a very aggressive, pursuant Gator defense.
"We did a better job in the second half of controlling the line of scrimmage," Muschamp said.
"There was no magic potion. We just told guys to guy to squeeze blocks, to play thicker on blocks, quit running up the field. You get the illusion they are a passing football team and really they are not now with [A&M quarterback] Johnny [Manziel]. They are a running football team."
The Gators sacked Texas A&M three times.
Secondly, the play of quarterback Jeff Driskel was solid and accurate. The sophomore completed 13 of 16 passes for 162 yards and did not turn the ball over. Driskel's confidence was more evident Saturday than at any other point in his brief Gator career.
It's clear this is Driskel's offense now. Tight end Jordan Reed said that Driskel came into the huddle after big plays and was fired up.
"There's just points in the game you get excited, and I got excited after a few big plays," Driskel explained. "It was just motivation here or there." Reed helped the youngster out with five receptions for 59 yards.
When Driskel was pressed as to how it felt to be uncertain about who the starter was to start the season, he answered like a pro, and said it was just good to be 2-0 and get the win.
Mike Gillislee totaled 83 yards with 2 TDs to lead the Gators before leaving the game with an injury. In total, the Gators rushed for 142 yards on 48 carries.
"We're going to have a lot of football games like this now," Muschamp said. "That's just who we are."
The head coach has had his share of doubters up to this point, he sent a message in his post game press conference.
" 'And you know what?' I know I got killed for that last week, but there's a reason why we did it," he said.
"We had a superior football team to Bowling Green. We needed to play that way in order to play that way this week."
Raising his voice, Muschamp continued, "You know it's a long season, and when we start having one game seasons, then we will put everything into one game so we can win games. But I like to look at it as 12 week season and we've got to do what we have to do to win football games."
Muschamp was most pleased with the ability to run the ball in the fourth quarter to close out the game. And his vision for a blue-collar football team might finally be coming into shape.
It was the Gator's first win when trailing at the half under Muschamp, going 0-5 in that scenario last season.
A more subdued Muschamp later said the final offensive drive of the game was the,
"Happiest moment in Florida history for me."
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