Emory Jones completed 28 of 34 passes for 464 yards and threw six touchdown passes without throwing an interception to help the host Florida Gators survive a 70-52 shootout victory over Samford on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville, Fla.
After a mostly back-and-forth game, Jones’ 18-yard touchdown pass to Kemore Gamble with 9:03 left in the fourth extended Florida’s lead to 63-52 and helped the Gators (5-5) finally shake off the Bulldogs (4-6), who set the record for most points scored by an FCS team against an FBS team since the divisions split in 1978.
Jones, who also ran for 86 yards and a touchdown on 10 attempts, broke a school record for combined yards passing and rushing previously held by Tim Tebow.
Samford came close, but fell to 0-25 against FBS teams since 1984.
The Gators totaled 717 yards of offense but allowed Samford to rack up 530 total yards of its own.
Bulldogs quarterback Liam Welch completed 33 of 52 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns with one interception and ran for 65 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
This came the week after Florida fired defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
Florida running back Dameon Pierce helped the Gators seal the outcome with a 24-yard touchdown run. Pierce finished with 78 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.
Samford and Florida each scored touchdowns on their first three drives and dueled to a 28-28 tie before the Bulldogs took a 42-28 lead with 3:17 left in the second quarter on a 10-yard touchdown by Welch.
Samford’s first-half scoring output was the most points Florida has ever allowed in the first half of a game.
The Gators followed with 28 unanswered points, scoring touchdowns on their next four drives to take a 56-42 lead with 1:24 left in the third.
Montrell Washington’s one-handed catch falling down in the end zone on a 23-yard pass from Welch cut the deficit to seven with 13:59 left in the fourth.
Samford coach Chris Hatcher then dialed up an onside kick, which the Bulldogs recovered. But Samford was held to a 33-yard field goal by Zach Williams on its ensuing possession.
–Field Level Media