Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/1/13
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

Weeden compares QB situation to 'backing up Derek Jeter'

Matt Hasselbeck went to E.R. with illness on Tuesday

Calipari on 2015-16 Kentucky basketball team: ‘We stink’

Reports: Andrew Luck out against Texans

Rodgers on INT-free season: ‘I don’t think it is’ possible

Tyrann Mathieu: Lions may not know their own offense


NHL awards predictions for the 2015-16 season

WATCH: Maple Leafs use first coach's challenge, win

Ex-Patriot Jeremy Mincey: I'll respect Belichick 'until the day I die'

Cubs dominate Pirates to advance to NLDS

WATCH: Cubs, Pirates get in benches-clearing incident

Will Muschamp on Byron Cowart: His frustration is typical

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

MLB postseason power rankings

NHL awards predictions for the 2015-16 season

Quiz: MLB pitchers with 100+ career postseason strikeouts

Top storyline for each Week 5 NFL game

Which teams have underperformed or surprised in 2015

The six NFL players most likely to be traded by the deadline

What was happening in the world when Manning and Woodson debuted?

NFL through Week 4: What do we know?

NFL extends international series through 2025

5 players who can win the NHL MVP this season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker