Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/12/14
When Florida Gators running back Mike Gillislee (Florida’s first 1,000 yard rusher since 2004) graduated in the spring, it seemed there would be nothing to worry about, because it was clear who his heir apparent was at the position. Despite the arrival of highly touted freshman Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane, it was always Matt Jones’ job to lose. Jones served as Gillislee’s backup during his freshman season in 2012 and put up 275 yards and three touchdowns, including eight carries for 81 yards and one touchdown against hated rival Florida State. At 6-foot-2, 226 pounds he has the mix of size speed and power that set up perfectly to be Florida’s next 1,000-yard rusher and just overall workhorse. (Photo credit: Mark Zerof/USA Today Sports) However, in early August Jones was diagnosed with a viral infection that kept him out for much of fall camp. In his absence redshirt junior Mack Brown stepped up and earned the right to start while Jones got healthy. His recovery was slower than expected and after finally getting bak on the field for the Gators’ second game of the season against the Miami Hurricanes it was clear he was still a bit rusty, fumbling on the Gators’ opening drive. The next game against the Tennessee Volunteers did not go so well either, as he fumbled for the second time in as many games. Meanwhile, Brown had twice as many rushing attempts as Jones in that game and afterward head coach Will Muschamp said the Gators would ride the “hot hand” at running back the rest of the way. Needless to say, the outlook did not look good for Jones heading into the game against the Kentucky Wildcats. But, against the Wildcats he came out looking like the Matt Jones we expected to see all along. He rushed for a career-high 178 yards on 28 carries. He ran strong up the middle, showed he had enough speed to bounce it to the outside and that he could be a workhorse that could tote the rock 20-plus times a game if need be. Jones breakout performance could not have come at a better time either, with Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy making the first start of his career. Jones’ strong play took much of the pressure off of Murphy. Because the running game was so effective the quarterback was never put into a tough situation where he had to make a play. Jones was expected to be the Gators’ featured running back this season, and after his performance Saturday, he finally showed that he was the right man for the job all along.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Jarret Stoll arrested for possession of drugs

CJ Wilson: Josh Hamilton’s relapse a ‘tame scenario’

Head coaching candidates for the Denver Nuggets

Check out these leaked Clippers jersey redesigns

Aqib Talib’s aggravated assault investigation suspended


Ohio State expects 80,000 at its spring game this Saturday

Bryant strikes out three times in debut; Cubs fans heckle him

NBA rookies who disappointed in 2014-15 season

Report: Urban Meyer reassured Belichick about Hernandez

Cuban: Harden is MVP, Rockets are not very good

J.R. Smith: 'I don’t think anyone can beat us'

WATCH: A-Rod belts two homers in win over Rays

Ubaldo Jimenez hit Pablo Sandoval with pitch, was ejected

NBA to track and post referees’ calls beginning in playoffs

MLB payrolls continue to rise

NBA playoffs: Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs

Home runs ruined our ability to appreciate production

Why we love the NFL draft

There are only two contenders ... in the West?

Woman stripped of marathon win, didn't actually run in race

Matt Barnes' son betrays him for Steph Curry

WATCH: Padres fan saved from falling by alert cameraman

Kemp hosts Seattle party over OKC missing playoffs

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Jarret Stoll busted for drugs

CJ Wilson: Hamilton is 'ready to go'

Leaked Clippers jersey redesigns

Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase preview

Home runs ruined our ability to appreciate production

Why we love the NFL draft

The "worst" player on each NBA playoff team

Jim Harbaugh showed up at Ultimate Frisbee practice

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and the burden of legacy

Kris Bryant and floor versus ceiling

Top 10 storylines of the NBA Playoffs

A-Rod being taken to court over unpaid legal fees

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.