GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida used Jordan Scarlett as its feature back last Saturday, albeit out of necessity.
With Jordan Cronkrite and Mark Thompson not making the trip to Jacksonville, Scarlett came into the Georgia game knowing Gators coach Jim McElwain would use him more.
“I was looking forward to it,” Scarlett said. “I just told myself that I had to stay healthy and just make every run count. And I just tried to do my best.”
Scarlett rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown in Florida’s 24-10 win. Not only were his 26 carries a career high, they doubled his previous mark of 13.
“I felt great,” Scarlett said of the increased workload. “I was glad to get all the touches I did. I got to show Coach Mac that I can get through tough sledding.”
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Scarlett averaged 3.6 yards per carry, less than his season average of 5.0. But the sophomore punched the ball in the end zone before half and had three first-down runs in the fourth quarter to clinch the win.
“He keep his feet moving. We still need to increase the explosive run piece,” McElwain said. “But I think he did some really good things … guy played his tail off.”
McElwain said he challenged Scarlett and the offensive line to gain a first down on fourth-and-1 with 2:06 remaining. After a Georgia timeout, Scarlett ran over the left guard and picked up 4 yards to move the chains.
“I think that we did a great job showing the nation what we can really do in the trenches and how we can control our offense,” Scarlett said of the run.
With his performance Saturday, Scarlett has nearly tripled his production from 2015 (181 yards) this year (468 yards). He also showed he can handle to the bulk of the carries on offense.
“He did a great job. Great job,” Gators quarterback Luke Del Rio said of Scarlett. “Jordan is a really, really tough guy. Runs hard. I’ve yet to see one guy tackle him, so hopefully he can continue to be that kind of juggernaut that’s hard to bring down.”