The Florida football team lost four balls in the process, but 53,015 fans got the show they wanted at Saturday’s annual Orange and Blue game: quality play from UF’s quarterbacks, renewed levels of energy and excitement and, of course, points on the scoreboard.
The Orange and Blue teams combined for nine touchdowns on the day, but the celebrations immediately after were what really caught my eye. Here’s the five best, in my humble opinion.
1 – Feleipe Franks after a 3-yard touchdown run (10:14 left in second quarter)
This might be a biased pick – as basketball is my favorite sport – but Franks’ one-handed, reverse, double-clutch dunk over the goal post was so much fun to watch. The ball sailed over the crossbar and into the stands (lost ball number one).
“I’m not really a basketball player,” Franks said after the game. “I’m just having fun.”
2 – R.J. Raymond after a 58-yard catch-and-run touchdown (1:09 left in second quarter)
Raymond, a redshirt senior, has spent most of his playing time at UF on special teams. But on Saturday, his biggest play was on offense.
The 6-foot-2, 253-pound walk-on found himself wide open running through the middle of the field, where freshman quarterback Emory Jones hit him in stride. Raymond spun over an attempted tackle by safety Donovan Stiner and dashed into the end zone, where he proceeded to launch the ball (the second of the aforementioned four) well into the stands of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
3 – Former Gator Travis McGriff after a “legal” 60-yard touchdown catch (8:07 left in second quarter)
McGriff, who played wide receiver for then-Gators head coach Steve Spurrier from 1995 to 1998, scored the first touchdown of the game. Technically, McGriff was a 12th man who stepped off the sidelines roughly 30 yards behind the closest defender — all of this happening after the play started — to haul in a pass from quarterback Kyle Trask. But it’s all good. Legends always get those calls, right?
McGriff proceeded to lob the ball into the stands (that’s three) and receive a quick piggy-back ride from defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Looks like first-year head coach Dan Mullen’s plan to get former players involved with the team is working so far.
4 – Jordan Scarlett after a 1-yard touchdown run (1:59 left in second quarter)
Scarlett ran in for the score, but all 11 offensive players got involved with this one. The other 10 sat in a circle, facing each other. Scarlett started walking around them from right-to-left, presumably saying “duck” (it wasn’t audible) as he tapped his teammates’ helmets. When he got to tight end C’yontai Lewis, who I assume heard “goose,” Lewis jumped to his feet to chase Scarlett back around the circle. I find it just a little interesting that in this scenario, ducks and geese are animals that — in the wild — are considered “gator bait.”
5 – Feleipe Franks after a 60-yard touchdown run (14:39 left in second quarter)
Franks took off, made a man miss and sped his way down the field and over the goal line. We’ve seen Franks run for a huge gain before when he broke out for a 79-yard run against Texas A&M last season. What we didn’t see last season was Franks punt the ball into the stands (the fourth one) before giving the cameras an up-close look at him screaming and flexing. Talk about hyped up.