Football

Gators gain bowl eligibility in blowout

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida got a much-needed victory and Eastern Kentucky got some much-needed rest for its starters.

Jeff Driskel threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, and the Gators became bowl eligible with a 52-3 win over lower-division EKU on Saturday.

Florida (6-4) dominated every aspect of the game, snapped a three-game losing streak at home and sent Coach Will Muschamp and the team's senior class out with a win in their finale at Florida Field.

Muschamp was fired last week, but he agreed to stay on for two games.

Eastern Kentucky (9-3) did little right all day.

The Colonels took several chances, but failed to recover an onside kick, came up short on a fake punt and faltered on a fake field goal. They also rested starters ahead of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, which begin this week.

"We did everything we could to win the football game," EKU Coach Dean Hood said. "Once it looked like in no way in hell we were going to win, we rewarded some of our kids with the opportunity to get on the field and play. It was the smart thing to do. We've got the playoffs coming up in a week and there's no need to get someone hurt."

Florida ends the regular season at rival Florida State next week. Beyond that, the Gators will play in a bowl for the 23rd time in the last 24 years.

"We all left the Swamp with a big victory and our heads held high and a lot of smiles," Florida linebacker Michael Taylor said. "We made a lot of people proud today, a lot of parents, a lot of fans who have been watching us all the way back from recruiting."

Florida players vowed to send Muschamp out on a high note. Defensive tackle Jon Bullard even wrote "Mus" and "Champ" on his eye-black strips, which is against NCAA rules.

His teammates did their part on the field.

Treon Harris threw a 70-yard TD pass to Quinton Dunbar and a 19-yarder to Demarcus Robinson. It was the first time Florida had two touchdown passes in a first half since beating South Carolina in October 2012.

Harris bruised his knee late in the second quarter, and was replaced by Driskel. The former starter plunged across the goal line for a touchdown and a 31-3 lead. He also lofted a 38-yard scoring pass to Robinson in the third quarter.

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