Gators Off to the Races: Florida Runs All Over Kentucky, 48-10

Rapid Recap at like 8:30 a.m., but I suspect you all know how this one was won.

Jeff Demps is ridiculously fast. Chris Rainey is stupendously fast. The story of Florida football in 2011 should really be more than those two sentences, but after games like Florida's 48-10 rout of Kentucky on Saturday night, it's hard not to get caught up in just those two players.

Demps had 157 rushing yards, a career high, on 10 carries, and a spectacular 84-yard touchdown run that may be the signature play of his time at Florida. Rainey had 106 yards on 15 carries, and that sort of counts as a down night for him this year, so much so that ESPN analyst Ed Cunningham was just convinced that he was hurt.

It was the first time that two Florida players rushed for more than 100 yards in a game since Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin did while winning the 2009 BCS National Championship Game, and it was only part of a 406-yard performance on the ground that is sixth-best in Florida history, and, literally, the best rushing performance by the Gators in my lifetime.

To be fair, it was and is bigger than Demps and Rainey, too.

Yes, it came against Kentucky. Sure, it's harder to count on silver bullets like Demps and Rainey than it was to rely on the bigger, sturdier Tebow — or even the more versatile Harvin. But we're in the midst of what could be one of the finest seasons ever for the Gators on the ground.

Florida fans, since the days of Steve Spurrier's Fun 'n Gun, have been conditioned to expect explosive offenses that hang half a hundred or close to it with devastating aerial assaults. Even in the heyday of Urban Meyer/Dan Mullen's spread running offense, there were enough big plays through the air.

Those pass plays, because of John Brantley's questionable arm and a receiving corps that makes church mice seem loud, seemingly aren't part of the Florida offense this year. Brantley's 45-yard hook-up with Gerald Christian to kick off the scoring tonight was so strange that you already forgot it happened, didn't you?

The runs, it seems, will be there. Demps is healthy and Rainey is healthy, but, hey, Mike Gillislee is quicker than 98% of America's third-string running backs. And, hey, the offensive line, quietly, is mauling defensive fronts. It's time to accept that Florida is a running team, time to hope that the offense keeps on using that running game to run up the score.

And it is time for Florida fans to realize that these Gators will live and die by what Demps and Rainey do on the ground.

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