FWAA AutoNation Team of the week
FWAA AutoNation Team of the week

Gators dominate Ole Miss to stay unbeaten

DALLAS (FWAA) – The Florida Gators steamrolled Ole Miss in a battle of Southeastern Conference unbeatens, taking a 25-0 halftime lead and then securing the upset with three second-half takeaways to send the Gators to the top of the SEC East Division with a 38-10 win. The Gators (5-0) are unbeaten through five games for the first time since 2012 and have earned the AutoNation National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 3.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier tossed four first-half touchdown passes to set the tone early and get the sellout crowd of 90,585 at The Swamp into a deafening roar. Grier continued his hot streak from a week earlier, when he led Florida from 13 points down in the final 10 minutes for a 28-27 win at Tennessee. Against Ole Miss, Grier was 24-of-29 passing for 271 yards.

The rest was left to the Gators’ defense. Ole Miss came into the game leading the SEC in scoring (54.8 points per game) and total offense (543.5 yards per game), but left Florida Field with only 328 total yards.

“What a great win for the Gators, for our fans and Gator Nation,” head coach Jim McElwain said. “We have players who have accepted the challenges that we’ve put forth and are really invested in themselves and each other, and I think there were a lot of good things that point to that in this ball game. That stadium was something special and you know, for a kid from Montana, man, I just got to tell you that was pretty cool.”

No. 3 Ole Miss was the highest-ranked opponent to lose at Florida Field in 16 years, dating back to a Florida upset over No. 2 and defending national champion Tennessee in 1999. At 3-0 in SEC play, Florida is the only undefeated team in conference play in the SEC East.

Other AutoNation National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Oct. 3 included:

• Alabama (4-1): The Crimson Tide went into Athens and dominated No. 8 Georgia, 38-10, in a steady rain. Quarterback Jake Coker had a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown, and the defense and special teams each contributed a touchdown. Alabama’s defense contained Georgia’s two quarterbacks to a combined 11-of-31 passing day and 3.2 yards per completion.

• Arizona State (3-2): The Sun Devils held No. 7 UCLA to a season-low 342 total yards and only 62 rushing yards in a 38-23 win at the Rose Bowl. Mike Bercovici threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another. Meanwhile, ASU’s defense scored two safeties, forced eight three-and-outs, and held a second consecutive opponent to less than 100 rushing yards.

• UNLV (2-3): The Rebels snapped a nine-game road losing streak dating back to 2013 by holding off a late Nevada rally and winning its annual Battle for the Fremont Cannon, 23-17, in Reno. One possession after Nevada had climbed to within 13-10 in the fourth quarter, UNLV middle linebacker Ryan McAleenan stepped in front of a pass and returned it 52 yards for a score for provide a cushion.

As part of AutoNation’s history of charitable involvement, AutoNation will donate $1,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in the University of Florida’s name. This charitable college football initiative culminates with the AutoNation Cure Bowl, a new post-season NCAA football game that kicks off bowl season at the Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., and will be aired by CBS Sports Network. The aptly named AutoNation Cure Bowl also serves as a fund raiser for the BCRF, CharityWatch’s only A+ rated breast cancer organization in the country.

“We want to celebrate the very best of college football, while also helping to raise awareness for the importance of finding a cure for cancer,” says AutoNation CMO Marc Cannon. “This season-long partnership with the FWAA, leading up to the AutoNation Cure Bowl, puts a spotlight on a cause that we’re determined to tackle.”

“In our 75th season of existence, this a marvelous platform to get our players and the team of the week series excellent exposure as well as helping AutoNation in its effort to fight cancer and contribute to the educational funds of deserving student-athletes,” said FWAA 2015 President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald. “It is very exciting to be able to help our organization as well as others in this splendid effort.”

The Football Writers Association of America has named a national team of the week since the 2002 season. This is the first season AutoNation has presented the award. Members of the FWAA All-America Committee decide the weekly honor. Each remaining Monday during the 2015 college football regular season, the FWAA will name a National Team of the Week. Members of the FWAA All-America Committee decide the weekly honor.

AutoNation is also the presenting sponsor of the FWAA’s national offensive and defensive players of the week  announced each Tuesday, the 2015 FWAA All-America Team and the 75th Anniversary FWAA All-America Team. The 2015 AutoNation FWAA All-America Team will be announced at the AutoNation Cure Bowl on Dec. 19.

About AutoNation, Inc.:
AutoNation is transforming the automotive retail industry through bold leadership. We deliver a peerless automotive retail experience through our customer-focused sales and service processes. Owning and operating 293 new vehicle franchises, which sell 35 new vehicle brands across 15 states, AutoNation is America’s largest automotive retailer, with state-of-the-art operations and the ability to leverage economies of scale that benefit the customer. As an indication of our leadership position in our industry, AutoNation is a component of the S&P 500 Index.

About the AutoNation Cure Bowl:
The AutoNation Cure Bowl a new post-season NCAA football game whose net proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The AutoNation Cure Bowl takes place December 19 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, and will be broadcast by CBS Sports Network. The bowl is scheduled to involve teams from the American Athletic and Sun Belt conferences.

About the Football Writers Association of America:
Founded in 1941, the FWAA consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

2015 AutoNation National Teams of the Week
• Weekend of Sept. 5: Temple Owls
• Weekend of Sept. 12: Toledo Rockets
• Weekend of Sept. 19: Ole Miss Rebels
• Weekend of Sept. 26: Utah Utes
• Weekend of Oct. 3: Florida Gators