- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Which Florida players are making the biggest contributions on the field? GatorNation will tell you every week. It’s not just a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.
Here’s this week’s top 10 (last week’s rankings in parentheses):
1. RB Mike Gillislee (1): Gillislee played the best game of his career against Florida State. He ripped the nation’s No. 1 rush defense for 140 yards and two touchdowns. That performance gave him 1,104 yards, which makes him the first UF player to rush for 1,000 yards since Ciatrick Fason in 2004.
2. LB Antonio Morrison (NR): The freshman made the play that turned the game around, jarring the ball loose from FSU QB EJ Manuel with a big-time hit. The Gators scored on the next play to take the lead for good. Morrison, who had four tackles, was in the game because of an injury to Jelani Jenkins and absolutely leveled Manuel and knocked him out of the game for a series.
3. QB Jeff Driskel (NR): His numbers weren’t gaudy – 15-for-23 for 147 yards – but he did throw a touchdown pass to WR Quinton Dunbar and had a key scramble on third down. He showed no sign of the ankle injury and did a good job on the rollout passes UF used to minimize FSU’s pass rush. It was a very good performance against an elite defense.
4. CB Marcus Roberson (7): He picked off one pass and broke up another, but it was a 50-yard punt return that was probably his biggest play. That set up Florida’s second fourth-quarter touchdown, Driskel’s pass to Dunbar that put the Gators ahead 30-20. Looks like the Gators have finally found their punt returner.
5. RB Matt Jones (NR): With Gillislee on the bench late in the fourth quarter, the Gators turned to Jones to seal the victory and the freshman delivered. With the Gators leading 30-20 and 3:58 to play, Jones carried the ball three times for 59 yards, including a 32-yard TD run. Jones finished with a career-high 81 yards.
6. DT Sharrif Floyd (8): He shows up just once on the stat sheet for a sack, but it was a big one. He dropped Manuel for a 16-yard loss to force the Seminoles out of field goal position midway through the fourth quarter. The Gators were leading by 10 at the time. He was disruptive throughout the game.
7. K Caleb Sturgis: (3): He kicked three field goals (39, 45, 32 yards) for the second consecutive week. He now owns the school’s all-time record with 69 career field goals.
8. FB Hunter Joyer (NR): He won’t show up on the stat sheet but he’s a big reason the Gators rushed for 244 yards. He made key blocks on the long TD runs by Gillislee and Jones.
9. The offensive line (NR): FSU entered the game with the nation’s No. 1 rush defense (70.64 yards per game) but the Gators’ OL wore down the Noles’ talented defensive front and opened big holes for Gillislee and Jones all day long.
10. CB Loucheiz Purifoy (NR): Purifoy had six tackles and forced a fumble.
5hSam Khan Jr.
2dSam Khan Jr.