Scores

Final

(3) Alabama 38

(5-0, 2-0 SEC)

(12) Florida 10

(4-1, 2-1 SEC)

Coverage: CBS

8:00 PM ET, October 1, 2011

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL

1 2 3 4 T
#3ALA 10 14 0 1438
#12FLA 10 0 0 010

Top Performers

Passing: J. Brantley (FLA) - 190 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: T. Richardson (ALA) - 29 CAR, 181 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: A. Debose (FLA) - 2 REC, 90 YDS, 1 TD

Gators lose QB John Brantley, game to No. 3 Crimson Tide

Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 3 Alabama showed it can run and stop the run better than 12th-ranked Florida, maybe better than anyone in the country.

Trent Richardson had a career-high 181 yards rushing and two touchdowns, breaking tackles and carrying defenders along the way, and the Crimson Tide rolled the Gators 38-10 Saturday night in an early season matchup of Southeastern Conference heavyweights.

"This was very sweet because it was against Florida," said Richardson, a junior from nearby Pensacola. "I really wanted to play well in this game and help us get a win."

Richardson finished with his fourth consecutive 100-yard game, and the latest one should solidify his position as one the Heisman Trophy front-runners.

With Richardson leading the way, the Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC) extended its recent dominance in the series. Alabama has outscored Florida (4-1, 2-1) 101-29 in the last three meetings, all wins.

The latest one was over by halftime, a clear knockout in a game billed as Florida's speed vs. Alabama's power. It also denied new Florida coach Will Muschamp a victory against his mentor, Alabama's Nick Saban.

"Obviously, we didn't do many things well," Muschamp said. "We have to correct the issues we have because we'll see them again."

If anything, the outcome showed how far the Gators have to go to get back to championship form. It was Florida's worst home loss since falling to LSU 36-7 in 2002 -- the beginning of the Ron Zook era. Saban-coached teams dealt Florida both losses.

It could get worse, too. The Gators play at top-ranked LSU next week -- and they might be without quarterback John Brantley.

Brantley threw a perfect deep ball to Andre Debose on the game's opening play, a 65-yard touchdown pass that energized the second-largest crowd (90,888) in the history of Florida Field. It ended up being one of few highlights for the Gators.

"We showed the maturity to overcome the adversity we created for ourselves," Saban said. "I liked our resiliency. This is about as good as it gets."

Florida couldn't run, couldn't stop the run and lost Brantley to a right leg injury late in the second quarter. A senior who has started 18 consecutive games, Brantley twisted his knee and ankle on a sack just before halftime. He was helped to the locker room and did not return for the second half. Highly touted freshman Jeff Driskel replaced him.

"When we lost John, that took the wind out of our sails," said Muschamp, who said he would know more about Brantley's injury Sunday. "I haven't even talked to the doctor yet. I have no idea."

Brantley completed 11 of 16 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown, most of it coming before Alabama's defense stiffened.

Courtney Upshaw intercepted Brantley's outlet pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown that changed the game in the second quarter. Upshaw later sacked Brantley and caused the injury.

Alabama was long in control by then, mostly because it stuffed Florida's vaunted running game. The Tide made Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps look ordinary.

"Just call it a punch in the mouth and regroup," Rainey said. "All we have to do is play the cards right and we'll be seeing them again (in the SEC title game)."

The Gators entered the game averaging 259 yards a game on the ground, but they finished with 15 yards, 4 from Rainey and 4 from Demps.

"We did a really good job of not letting their speed outflank us," Saban said. "Those two guys are a handful. Miss a tackle on them and they're out the door and gone."

The Tide was much more balanced.

AJ McCarron completed 12 of 25 passes for 140 yards -- just what Alabama needs with Richardson and a stout defense.

Florida and Alabama each scored on its first two possessions. The game turned, though, on Upshaw's interception. As Brantley was being hit, he tried to dump a pass to Trey Burton. It landed in Upshaw's arms. He rumbled 45 yards in the other direction, with a host of defenders making sure no one caught him from behind.

The Tide forced consecutive three-and-outs after that, then turned to Richardson to put the game away. The 224-pound junior from Pensacola took a screen pass on third-and-8 from the 30, broke a tackle and got Alabama near the goal line.

Linebacker Jon Bostic, clearly frustrated with Florida's missed tackles and failure to stop Richardson, got a personal foul penalty on the next play. He took a swing at an offensive lineman, then got an earful from Muschamp.

McCarron sneaked across the goal line to make it 24-10.

Richardson turned the 14-point game into a rout with a 36-yard scamper early in the fourth. He darted up the middle, cut right hard enough to make safety Josh Evans trip and then went untouched to the end zone.

Alabama's defense did the rest, swarming Driskel and holding the Gators to two first downs in the second half.

"We got beat by a better team," Muschamp said.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ALA
FLA
1st Downs219
Total Yards366222
Passing140207
Rushing22615
Penalties3-294-20
3rd Down Conversions7-134-14
4th Down Conversions0-00-0
Turnovers02
Possession34:4125:19

Passing Leaders

AlabamaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
McCarron12/251405.600
FloridaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Brantley11/1619011.911

Rushing Leaders

AlabamaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Richardson291816.2236
Lacy5326.4120
FloridaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Driskel6183.0031
Rainey1140.407

Receiving Leaders

AlabamaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Maze23618.0018
Williams33210.7022
FloridaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Debose29045.0165
Thompson24321.5030

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERALAFLA
TD14:41Andre Debose 65 Yd Pass From John Brantley (Caleb Sturgis Kick) 07
FG09:47Jeremy Shelley 32 Yd 37
FG05:19Caleb Sturgis 21 Yd 310
TD00:52Trent Richardson 5 Yd Run (Jeremy Shelley Kick) 1010
SECOND QUARTERALAFLA
TD12:57Courtney Upshaw 45 Yd Interception Return (Jeremy Shelley Kick) 1710
TD03:13AJ McCarron 1 Yd Run (Jeremy Shelley Kick) 2410
FOURTH QUARTERALAFLA
TD12:25Trent Richardson 36 Yd Run (Jeremy Shelley Kick) 3110
TD08:45Eddie Lacy 20 Yd Run (Jeremy Shelley Kick) 3810

Research Notes

Ever since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007 Alabama has swung the tide of this rivalry, winning three straight after losing the first meeting and improving their point differential each time. For a rivalry between two highly-regarded teams in recent years, in the six meetings since 2005, no Florida-Alabama game has been decided by fewer than 11 points.
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