GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Which Florida players are making the biggest contributions on the field?
GatorNation will tell you every week. It’s not just a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.
Here’s this week’s top 10 (last week’s rankings in parentheses):
1. CB Loucheiz Purifoy (NR): Purifoy committed a critical pass interference penalty on third down that gave Louisiana-Lafayette a first down at the UF 2-yard line, but he redeemed himself by making the season’s biggest play. He blocked Brett Baer’s punt to set up Jelani Jenkins’ game-winning touchdown with two seconds to play. He also had five tackles -- including one on third down on the play immediately before the blocked punt -- and a pass breakup.
2. LB Jelani Jenkins (3): Jenkins was in perfect position to catch the blocked punt and he raced untouched into the end zone. An easy play, to be honest, but Jenkins was also UF’s top tackler (seven). He is finally hitting his stride now that he’s completely healthy.
3. QB Jeff Driskel (8): Before getting injured late in the third quarter, Driskel had put up solid numbers: 13-for-16 for 98 yards and a touchdown passing and a team-high 76 yards on 122 carries. He had a lot of success on screen passes and hurt ULL with his feet.
4. TE Jordan Reed: As he has all season, Reed led the Gators with five catches for 85 yards. Two of those catches were especially big: a 30-yarder from Driskel to the ULL 4-yard line that set up Driskel’s touchdown pass to Trey Burton and a 39-yarder from Jacoby Brissett to the ULL 3 that set up Brissett’s touchdown pass to WR Quinton Dunbar.
5. RB Omarius Hines (2): Hines had a season-high eight touches on Saturday and led the Gators with 108 all-purpose yards (37 rushing, 29 receiving, 42 on kick returns). Looks like the staff is committed to making him a bigger part of the offense.
6. QB Jacoby Brissett (NR): He needed a bit to get going after being forced into action because of the ankle injury Driskel suffered in the third quarter. He made two big plays on the game-tying drive. He recognized a blown coverage that left Reed wide open and then threw a touchdown pass to Dunbar on the next play. He rolled to his right and threw the ball low and to a spot that only Dunbar could reach. He finished 6-of-8 for 64 yards.
7. WR Quinton Dunbar (NR): He didn’t have great numbers -- four catches for 25 yards -- but he made a play when the Gators needed it. His diving catch in the end zone tied the game at 20-20 late in the fourth quarter. The four catches were a season-high.
8. RB Mike Gillislee (1): The yards are tough to come by because teams are stacking the box and run blitzing a lot, but Gillislee still managed to gain 45 yards on 14 carries. His chance at 1,000 yards in the regular season is dwindling, but gaining 158 yards in the next two weeks isn’t out of the question.
9. P Kyle Christy (NR): It wasn’t his best day, but he still averaged 45.6 yards on seven punts. He put five inside the 20.
10. K Caleb Sturgis (NR): Sturgis kicked a pair of field goals (38 and 21 yards).