Feleipe Franks

UF quarterback Feleipe Franks looks to pass the ball during Florida's 26-20 win over Tennessee on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. 

Alan Alvarez / Alligator Staff

There were fumbles. There were interceptions. There were goal-line stops and juked defenders and a 63-yard touchdown pass to win the game with zeros on the clock.

Basically, there was a lot to take in on Saturday.

So what were the three biggest things we learned from No. 24 Florida’s 26-20 win over No. 23 Tennessee?

No 1: Get Kadarius Toney the damn ball

This one’s pretty obvious.

For a while on Saturday, Toney, a speedy and elusive freshman who can run, pass and catch, was Florida’s only and best offense.

He ended the game with four catches for 40 yards (and a rush out of the wildcat formation for 5 yards), but that stat line doesn’t do his play much justice.

He eluded Tennessee defenders each time the ball was in his hands — usually with ease — and especially during a 19-yard catch and run in the second quarter, one in which he double-faked a cornerback and sidestepped another before being gang-tackled for a first down.

After the game, UF coach Jim McElwain compared him to a videogame, calling him a “joystick.”

Wide receiver Brandon Powell said Tennessee “couldn’t tackle him at all.”

And I’m saying to get that kid more touches. He’s special.

No. 2: Marco Wilson is the real deal

Playing defensive back at a school in which your brother was a second-team All-SEC member is probably daunting.

But Marco Wilson, in his second game in a Florida uniform, took one more step out from Quincy Wilson’s shadow on Saturday.

The freshman cornerback had a team-high tying seven tackles on Saturday, and successfully defended several passes against Marquez Williams, arguably Tennessee's’ most talented receiver. Wilson also had three pass breakups — including a would-be Tennessee touchdown in the second half — the most on the team.

And while it’s still early, and while Wilson will undoubtedly make freshman mistakes after being shoved into an SEC starting role in his first year of college football, the progress he has shown is encouraging.

And for a Florida defensive back unit with not much experience behind redshirt senior safety Nick Washington and senior cornerback Duke Dawson, the sooner Wilson can gain confidence and grow into his starting the role, the better.

No. 3: Florida needs to stick with Feleipe Franks

When focusing on Feleipe Franks’ game on Saturday, one in which he threw for 212 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 18-for-28 passing, you might as well split his performance into two parts: before the throw and after the throw.

Because, let’s face it: The throw was the only thing that mattered.

With time running out and the game tied at 20, Franks heaved a 70-yard — yes, 70 — pass down the field to receiver Tyrie Cleveland, who caught the ball for a touchdown.

Forget about everything else that happened that night. Forget Franks’ one interception, which bounced off the hands of tight end C’yontai Lewis and into a Tennessee defender’s arms. Forget his poor pocket presence, a quality that led to two Tennessee sacks. And forget his lack of experience, as Franks started just his second career college game on Saturday.

If you have a redshirt freshman quarterback who can throw the ball 70 yards, nothing else matters. You can work with that.

If nothing else, McElwain needs to spend this season developing Franks. He needs to help him grow, learn how to move through his progressions in the pocket, learn how to recognize defenses and audible, and learn how to lead a team to victory.

Because if Franks can learn all those things and see significant improvement, Florida may have found its quarterback of the future.

Ian Cohen is a sports writer. You can contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @icohenb.