Senior day shutout

Muschamp was happy with his defense

For a team built around its veteran defense, the only proper way for the seniors to end their home careers was with a shutout. After a broken play went 76 yards on the opening play of the game, the Florida defense held Jacksonville State to just 166 yards and didn't allow a first down for the first five drives of the second half. It's exactly the way the senior class wanted to go out on Saturday.

Florida coach Will Muschamp has spoken throughout the week about his appreciation for this group of seniors. They've been a part of his first two years as a head coach, and despite the inconsistency of the program in recent years, this class never blinked to buy into what Muschamp was selling to the group.

He brought toughness and togetherness, and through it, the Gators secured their first 10-win season since 2009 on Saturday.

"It's a credit to them, going through a coaching change, going through a 7-6 campaign, certainly not questioning a rookie coach and his staff and where we were headed with the program," Muschamp said after Florida's 23-0 win over Jacksonville State. "(The seniors) certainly could've walked the plank on us and never did. I'm very appreciative of this bunch and last year's bunch going through a tough season, a very difficult season."

The seniors accounted for all 23 points the Gators scored on Saturday. The seven-yard touchdown run by Mike Gillislee started the game and three field goals from Caleb Sturgis added to it.

The big blow came just over four minutes into the second half. The Florida defense pinned Jacksonville State deep in its own territory, and senior linebacker dropped perfectly into a throwing lane to record an interception that he ran back for a touchdown.

"It's a snag seven, exactly what we practiced and it was perfect," Muschamp said. "Couldn't play it any better. Matt took the flat route, Jon pressed forward for the snag and played it absolutely perfect. We practiced it all week and you go execute it and that's a great thing.

"Jon Bostic — I don't know if there's a guy playing better inside linebacker in the country than Jon. He's instinctive, tough. Everything we've asked him to do as a football player, he's answered that."

Muschamp ran through the list of seniors, thanking them for their accomplishments in the last four years and being the first group to bring the program back to national prominence. They laid the foundation for what he hopes continues in the next few years.

"Josh Evans has had a fantastic senior season. He's playing his best football," Muschamp said. "Omar Hunter is a guy that's really taken a step forward. Earl Okine's playing his best football. He's really productive and played inside for us. Mike Gillislee's run the ball well all year for us—real proud of him. Xavier Nixon's played well. Jimmy Wilson, all of those guys.

"Frankie Hammond's been very consistent for us in his time here at Florida. Probably missing some guys there. Caleb Sturgis is the best kicker in the country. My confidence in him is through the roof. All of those guys played extremely well, had great seasons and had great careers. I'm very proud of them."

INJURY REPORT: Fullback Hunter Joyer injured his thigh but "should be fine." Offensive tackle Chaz Green injured his ankle but should also be fine.

Defensive back Pop Saunders has "an injury" and has been ruled out for the Florida State game and the bowl game.

Muschamp didn't have any new information on quarterback Jeff Driskel. He's out of a walking boot and was on the sideline in sweat pants on Saturday. He wasn't walking with a limp.

Driskel still isn't cleared to practice, but Muschamp should know more when he meets with the media on Monday.

BRISSETT STEPS IN: Sophomore quarterback Jacoby Brissett stepped into the starting job with Driskel injured. He didn't get many chances to show off his arm, but Brissett looked good in the first half. The big lead in the second half helped Florida run the ball and milk the clock.

Brissett finished 14-for-22 for 154 yards and took just one sack. He didn't throw a touchdown or an interception.

"I think he played well. I mean, again, at the end we're sitting there late in the third and into the fourth quarter and we had the game in hand. There's no reason to make a mistake at that time," Muschamp said. "Why risk dropping back getting hit in the back and coughing the ball up and putting him in a situation like that? Knowing that was happening every snap and they were feast or famine defensively, that's why we created creases in the run game.

"I didn't want to risk a big turnover. That's why we were very, very, conservative in the second half."

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