First-year Florida head coach Jim McElwain couldn’t have scripted a better debut in The Swamp. The Gators routed New Mexico State 61-13 Saturday night, scoring the most points by a new Gators coach in his first game.
The win extended Florida’s winning streak in season openers to 26 games, becoming the nation's longest in the process after Nebraska lost to BYU earlier in the day. There were a lot of positives to take from the Gators' first game of the 2015 season, but here are the top three things from Saturday night.
1. Two quarterbacks can be a good thing
The common quote you hear in football is when you have two starting quarterbacks, you don’t have one. Well on Saturday night, the Gators dispelled that theory, even if it was just for one night. Both Treon Harris and Will Grier had superb games in the team’s blowout win.
Harris completed 14 of 19 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Grier was 15-for-17 for 164 yards and two scores. The redshirt freshman also rushed for 43 yards and scored a touchdown on the ground as well.
After the game, McElwain praised both Harris and Grier.
"I thought they both did a great job,” McElwain said. “We moved the ball with both of them, and it will be interesting to see kind of when we get to the film. I thought the whole team responded well to both of them. It was kind of the plan to start Treon (Harris) and get him about 12 to 15 (plays), which is usually about three series, and then bring Will (Grier) back after half kind of as the starter and kind of see how that goes as well, but I thought for the most part, both of them did a pretty darn good job and I'm glad we have both of them.”
No word on which quarterback will get the starting nod against East Carolina next week, but McElwain said it is likely the Gators will do something similar.
2. It just won’t be the Demarcus Robinson show in 2015
During the Will Muschamp era, the Gators’ offense was very flat and one-dimensional. If Saturday was any preview on what Gator fans hope to see in McElwain’s first season, then the ball will be spread around a lot.
Fourteen Florida players recorded receptions and the team finished with 382 yards passing and 606 total yards. While Robinson did lead the team in receptions with five, Brandon Powell, C.J. Powell and others also were significant contributors in the Gators' offense.
“I thought they (Gators) executed their offense well,” said New Mexico State coach Doug Martin.
3. Defense had some mental lapses
Year after year under Muschamp, the Gators were always one of the nation’s best defensively. While Florida should still field a great defense in 2015, there were some miscues, in particular in the second quarter.
All of New Mexico State’s 13 points on Saturday came during the second quarter when Florida's secondary and front four were having problems stopping the Aggies' offense.
Florida was missing a few players on defense, including its top pass rusher, so the defense should only improve. Against East Carolina and the Pirates' high-powered offense, the Gators will be tested.
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.