Saturday, October 20, 2012
Driskel taking Gators to unexpected heights
By Michael DiRocco
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It was laughable two months ago.
Six weeks ago it was improbable.
A month ago it started to seem plausible.
After Saturday's 44-11 victory over South Carolina, however, the idea that Florida could win an Eastern Division title and play in the SEC championship game doesn't appear to be so outlandish. In fact, it's less than a week from becoming a reality.
All the Gators have to do is beat Georgia on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., and they'll be headed to Atlanta -- something pretty much no one (if they're being honest) expected when the season began.
Leading Florida's resurgence is quarterback Jeff Driskel, which again is something no one expected. A year ago at this time he was a scared freshman. Now he's throwing four touchdown passes against an SEC opponent, the first time that has happened since Tim Tebow did it against Kentucky in 2007.
"He's maturing, day by day, practice by practice, game by game," said wide receiver Frankie Hammond, who caught a 6-yard TD pass in the third quarter. "The game's just slowly slowing down for him. He's becoming a better quarterback."
Driskel didn't put up big numbers against the Gamecocks -- 11-for-16 for 93 yards, the third game in a row in which he threw for fewer than 100 yards -- but he was poised in the pocket and made few mistakes. He threw two third-down TD passes, didn't hold on to the ball too long, and didn't turn it over when he got knocked around by South Carolina's pass rush.
That is pretty much what the 6-foot-4, 232-pound sophomore has done all season.
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