Florida vs. Kentucky, Theater of Operations: Checking out Matt Jones' breakout performance

Andy Lyons

The Florida Gators defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 24-7 yesterday behind Matt Jones' 28 carry, 176 yard and a touchdown performance.

Ladies and gentlemen, our running back has finally arrived.

Matt Jones finally had his breakout performance of the season yesterday against the Kentucky Wildcats as the Florida Gators won handily 24-7. Jones rushed the ball 28 times for 176 yards and a touchdown in what was by far his best performance of the season.

Jones, who missed the beginning of the season with a viral infection, has looked lost and even uncomfortable at times. Along with his troubles of holding onto the football, he's picked the wrong running lanes, ran into blockers and just made wrong decisions.

But not yesterday. Not against Kentucky.

Play No. 1: Jones' 2 yard touchdown run


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Just a very simple run play to the left here. Jon Halapio is going to pull over to the left, which is good to see because Halapio has struggled mightily this year since returning from an injury.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Right after receiving the handoff, you can see that Halapio has pulled to the left and that Hunter Joyer has gotten to his block. The space created here by the blockers is phenomenal. The only people who can stop the touchdown from happening are the safeties.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

And the explosiveness that we've all waited to see, finally arrives. Jones outruns the Kentucky defenders to score a very nice touchdown on a Gators drive that pretty much summed up this entire game. This touchdown capped off the Gators' opening drive that took nearly half the first quarter.

Play No. 2: Jones 67 yard run (and wonderful tackle by Quinton Dunbar)


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Jones is going to take this play wide to the left, but as they play develops watch the offensive line. They do a great job which allows for Jones to get to the second level.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

And here come the troops. D.J. Humphries and Jonotthan Harrison pull to the left to help block and they do a great job. In case you're wondering Humphries is the one slightly out in front.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Humphries gets his man (yellow square).


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

And so does Harrison (yellow square).

Those two blocks, along with others helped Jones maximize the yardage on this play. Overall a very good job blocking by the offensive line and receivers.



(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

... Quinton Dunbar is there to make the touchdown saving tackle.

For the second week in a row a Gator takes out a fellow teammate and denies him a touchdown. Something to work on in practice, yes? Or just bad luck.

Play No. 3: Jones' 23 yard run in the 4th quarter


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Jones does everything right on this play. He waits to see where the running lane develops and then adjusts properly when the running lane closes for a second. He'll end up bouncing this play to the outside for the first down.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

The running lane that is available now is at the two parallel yellow lines, but it'll close quickly.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

And Jones sees that the lane is closed and will now take it outside to the right. This was by far the best running play to the right side of the line. As a matter of fact, the entire offense seems to do better when going to left. Even Tyler Murphy appears to be better rolling to his left, which is weird.

But hey, I'm a fan of whatever works.

We'll get to the defense and Tyler Murphy on Monday and Tuesday respectively, but for now we can rejoice in Jones' return to form. That was much needed as the Gators head into the meat of their SEC schedule.

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