Gators' receivers ask to block for surging UF tailback Jordan Scarlett – Orlando Sentinel
Jim McElwain had never heard anything like it on the sideline.
The game was tied 10-10 and his offense had the ball in the fourth quarter.
But before Florida‘s drive began, one that would possibly decide the outcome of the most important game of its season, receivers Brandon Powell, Antonio Callaway and Tyrie Cleveland approached McElwain with a simple message: Please, give Jordan Scarlett the ball.
“‘He’s running people over,'” Powell recalled telling McElwain. “‘Why not just keep running the ball?'”
Scarlett rushed the ball eight of UF’s next 14 plays, setting up a field goal to give the Gators the lead en route to a 16-10 upset of the Tigers last week.
“First time I’ve ever heard that from a wide receiver,” McElwain said. “Our guys believe that he can go get it.”
Entering its regular season finale against No. 14 Florida State on Saturday, Scarlett is coming off back-to-back 100-yard performances. He has clearly separated himself among No. 15 UF’s running back group and will start in the backfield against FSU.
And his teammates couldn’t be happier.
“When he gets a football in his hands, he runs like he’s possessed,” quarterback Austin Appleby said.
A once-crowded UF backfield that often saw four to five players earn carries has suddenly thinned down to two — Scarlett and freshman Lamical Perine, the only two who received carries last week.
Scarlett leads the team with 725 rushing yards and six touchdowns, and none of Florida’s coaches or players are surprised.
Even FSU coach Jimbo Fisher knows Scarlett can deliver big plays.
Scarlett, a four-star recruit in high school, grew up a Seminoles fan and Fisher recruited him heavily.
“Big, strong, fast, physical,” Fisher said. “We thought he was going to be a heck of a player, and he’s