Matt Jones was supposed to be the breakout star for Florida this season as the starting running back, but his breakout season was put on hold after a viral infection knocked him out for fall practice and the season opener. However, after a sluggish start to his season in his first two games, he has finally put together a breakout game.
Jones ran for 176 yards on 28 carries at Kentucky, including a 67-yard touchdown run. He added 20 receiving yards for good measure in what was by far and away his best game as a Gator. The timing was perfect as Tyler Murphy made his first start in place of the injured Jeff Driskel,who is out for the season.
The performance of Jones has to be a sign of things to come for Will Muschamp’s club, who will need to rely on the 6-foot-2, 226-pound Seffner, Fla. native to keep Murphy is favorable downs and distances until he gets comfortable within the offense.
Murphy completed 15 of his 18 passes, so it looks like he’s comfortable already. He is an upgrade over Driskel, but the Gators will need to play with a lead and let Jones wear down opposing defenses and not force Murphy to beat other teams.
His breakout game may have come a few weeks later than anticipated for Florida, but this could be the jolt he needed as the Gators get into the thick of SEC play. If the Gators are to get to Atlanta for the conference Championship Game, they will need a lot more games like this from Jones over the next two months.
He’s certainly capable of doing just that, as he proved today against the Wildcats.