Matthews Passes Florida Over San Jose State, 59-21
Shane Matthews passed for five touchdowns and Florida’s “fun and gun” offense produced 506 yards Saturday to carry the No. 6 Gators to a 59-21 season-opening victory over San Jose State.
Matthews, picking up where he left off last season when he passed for 2,952 yards and 23 touchdowns, connected with Harrison Houston on a 22-yard scoring play on Florida’s first play. Matthews completed 17 of 22 passes for 272 yards and finished the first half with four touchdown passes after throwing 24 yards to Willie Jackson late in the second quarter.
Houston, a sophomore who caught only four passes last season, also scored on pass plays of 37 and 14 yards before a crowd of 83,067 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the largest to ever watch a game in the state of Florida.
Florida, 9-2 a year ago but denied its first Southeastern Conference title because of NCAA probation, pulled away from the defending Big West Conference champions with four touchdowns in the last eight minutes of the half.
Matthews, who tied John Reaves’ single-game school record for touchdown passes, left the game midway through the third quarter after connecting with Willie McClendon on a 17-yard scoring play.
His replacement, Brian Fox, combined with Aubrey Hill on a 54-yard scoring pass play.
Florida outgained San Jose State 506 yards to 471 as the Spartans got 388 yards passing from Matt Veatch, who completed 24 of 41 attempts with two touchdowns.