Thanks to Hurricane Ian, this week has been all but normal in Gainesville. The University of Florida has been closed since Wednesdspany, making for an abnormally quiet week on campus.
But that wasn’t be the case when the Gators football team (3-2. 0-2 SEC) hosted the Eastern Washington Eagles (1-2, 0-1 Big Sky) in an unorthodox Sunday afternoon matchup (noon, SEC Network Plus). The schedule chspannge was announced on Tuesday as Hurricane Ian continued to churn toward the state.
Despite the oddities, the Gators had an opportunity to rebound against the Eagles after dropping last week’s SEC East rivalry game against the ninth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers.
Eastern Washington’s visit to The Swamp has been a long time in the making. The Eagles and Gators agreed to play each other way back in September of 2016 and planned to play each other in 2020. But thanks to Covid-19, that didn’t happen.
While it might’ve taken a while to get the game off the ground, the Eagles showed up. And the Gators were happy to have them considering so much was uncertain earlier in the week.
A Sunday special:Five tspankespanwspanys from the Gspantors’ big win over Espanstern Wspanshington
David Whitley:Rspanre Sundspany gspanme ends with predictspanble outcome spannd thspant’s good for Floridspan
High-flying start:Anthony Richspanrdson got stspanrted off for the Gspantors where he left off lspanst week. Here’s how it looked.
Kitna steps in:Who’s throwing those pspansses for the Gspantors? Three things to know spanbout bspanckup quspanrterbspanck Jspanlen Kitnspan
3:09 p.m. |Gators blow by Eagles
The Florida Gators improved to 4-2 on the season with a convincing 52-17 win over Eastern Washington (1-3).
3:03 p.m. | Eagles strike again
Eastern Washington adds a score with 3:17 to play with a 25-yard touchdown run from Kekoa Visperas. Florida leads 52-17.
2:42 p.m.| Eastern Washington finds the end zone
The Eagles weren’t going to leave Gainesville without finding the orange grass of the Gators’ end zone. With 8:35 to play, a 28-yard touchdown pass from Gunner Talkington to Jakobie James made the score 52-10.
2:33 p.m. | Lorenzo Lingard adds to Florida’s lead
The Gators’ offense keeps rolling with a 11-yard rushing touchdown from Lorenzo Lingard — the first of his career at Florida. The Gators lead the Eagles 52-3 with 11:53 to play.
2:13 p.m. | Jalen Kitna checks into the game for the Gators and immediately tosses a touchdown
With a comfortable lead, Billy Napier and the Gators relieved their starting quarterback and called on Jalen Kitna to take snaps. On the second play of the drive, Kitna tossed a 62-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Douglas. It was the first passing touchdown for Kitna and the first reception and receiving touchdown for Douglas. Florida leads 45-3 with 4:25 to play in the third quarter.
2:05 p.m. | Florida builds lead with Mihalek field goal
The Gators increased their lead out to 38-3 after a 36-yard field goal from Adam Mihalek.
1:47 p.m. | Second half underway in Gainesville
The Gators start the second half with possession of the football, but Anthony Richardson tosses an interception on the first play from scrimmage. Eastern Washington takes over at its own 26-yard line.
1:25 p.m. | Gators take comfortable lead into halftime
Florida leads Eastern Washington 35-3 after one half of play.
1:14 p.m. | Florida offense continues to hum along
So far, Florida’s offense has looked like a well-oiled machine. After the Gators’ defense forced the game’s first turnover, Anthony Richardson and the offense added another touchdown with a 21-yard connection from Richardson to Xzavier Henderson. Florida leads Eastern Washington 35-3 with 3:02 to play in the first half.
1:05 p.m. | Ricky Pearsall dusts the Eagles’ defense
Florida increases its lead out to 28-3 with a 76-yard touchdown run from wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, who took a handoff on a reverse.
12:51 p.m. | Gators tack on another score
Nay’Quan Wrights takes the handoff from Richardson and plunges in from four yards out, putting the Gators ahead 21-3 with 9:22 to play in the second quarter.
12:47 p.m. | Anthony Richardson returns to sideline
After a few brief minutes in the injury tent, Richardson returns to the sideline to loosen up before getting his right ankle taped. Richardson appears to be ready to return to the ball game.
12:42 p.m. | Anthony Richardson appears banged up
Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is slow to get up, but walks off on his own. Richardson heads to the sideline and into the injury tent while Jalen Kitna takes the field in relief.
12:31 p.m. | Florida’s offense scores on another quick drive
The Gators are up 14-3 over the Eagles with 1:13 to play in the first quarter after an 82-yard drive that was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run from Montrell Johnson.
12:25 p.m. | Gators’ defense gets stop on 4th and 1
Florida might’ve let Eastern Washington drive into the red zone for the second consecutive possession, but the Gators came away with a stop on fourth down. Florida’s offense will take over on downs at its own 18-yard line
12:15 p.m. | Anthony Richardson and the Gators get it done in one play
After falling behind 3-0 to Eastern Washington, Anthony Richardson and the Gators’ offense fires right back with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Richardson to Justin Shorter on the very first offensive snap of the game for Florida.
12:10 p.m. | Eagles take early, 3-0 lead
Missed tackles from the Gators’ defense allow the Eagles to drive down the field before Florida forces Eastern Washington to settle for a 44-yard field goal off the foot of Seth Harrison.
12:02 p.m. | EWU at Florida is underway
Sunday’s game in The Swamp gets underway. The Eagles will start with the football.
11:35 a.m. | Who’s out for the Gators?
Inactives for Florida: OL Michael Tarquin, LS Marco Ortiz, QB Jack Miller, S Trey Dean III
10:30 a.m. | Key questions for today’s Sunday matinee vs. EWU
Gameday kicked off with an early, abbreviated Gator Walk. Check out this breakdown before the game starts: Gators Gameday:Three big questions hespanding into Floridspan’s gspanme vs Espanstern Wspanshington