Florida the SEC East favorite? Gators stifle Ole Miss 38-10 (Dr. Saturday)


Ole Miss' run at the top of the SEC West didn't last very long. And Florida's run at the top of the SEC East this season may be just beginning. The Gators' defense stifled the Rebels offense and forced four turnovers as Florida won 38-10 to topple the No. 3 team in the country. And while Florida's defense was good, it got some assistance from an offense that's looked anemic at times. Quarterback Will Grier, who started despite having the flu, was 17-20 passing for 229 yards and four touchdowns while Kelvin Taylor averaged nearly five yards a carry rushing. Ole Miss' chances for a win took a big nosedive after a missed field goal while trailing 13-0. The Gators had scored touchdowns on two of its first three possessions and the Rebels had a chance to make it a 10-point game. Gary Wunderlich's 29-yard field goal was wide right and two possessions later, Florida made it a three-score game with a 77-yard pass from Grier to Brandon Powell. It might as well have been six possessions at that point. Ole Miss' offense, led by juco transfer quarterback Chad Kelly, was prolific through the first four games. But it was below average Saturday night. The Florida defense put the clamps on Ole Miss' rushing game and Kelly didn't have much success through the air. Trailing 25-0 in the third quarter, Ole Miss had a first-and-goal situation at the Gators' 1. The next three plays lost four yards and the Rebels had to settle for a field goal and pity points. The Rebels, 4-1, vaulted to the top five in the AP Poll two weeks ago after beating Alabama 43-37. But thanks to the loss, Ole Miss is now tied for third in the SEC West standings behind LSU and Texas A&M, both of whom haven't lost in conference play. While the Rebels have the tiebreaker over the Tide, the early loss means Ole Miss must go undefeated the rest of the way in the conference. Or hope that the Aggies or Tigers have a couple of losses. Thanks to Georgia's loss, Florida, 5-0, is now all alone at the top of the SEC East; the other six teams have lost at least one conference game. The Gators travel to Missouri, another team with a stout defense, in Week 6. Any progress made could be nullified in a week. But with a win, Florida not only has the upper hand on Georgia, it has what's basically a three-game lead on the two-time defending SEC East champions. It wasn't crazy to think that Florida coach Jim McElwain would soon hae the Gators contending for division titles again. It just may be a lot sooner than anyone would have expected. - - - - - - - Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @NickBromberg


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