Florida rebounded from a tough home loss a week ago with a 48-10 win over visiting Colorado State on Saturday in Gainesville, Fla.
The Gators (2-1), who lost for the first time in 32 years to Kentucky last Saturday, took control in the first half on rushing, passing and special teams’ touchdowns as they forged a 27-3 lead over the Rams (1-3).
When the game was scheduled, it was expected to be a matchup between the Rams and former Colorado State coach Jim McElwain.
However, Florida fired McElwain — 22-12 with the Gators — last October after two-plus seasons and eventually replaced him with Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen.
The game was the final payment in a $7 million buyout agreement in 2014 that allowed the Gators to hire McElwain away from CSU.
The $2 million amount the Rams received was the school’s largest single-game payout ever.
The Rams were bidding to beat an SEC school in consecutive weeks after scoring 25 unanswered points to stun Arkansas 34-27 in Fort Collins last week.
The Rams committed a pair of first-quarter turnovers that led to Florida field goals, the first when punter Ryan Stonehouse bobbled the snap and was tackled at his own 11.
Kicker Evan McPherson put the Gators up four plays later with a 24-yard field goal and added another from 48 yards for a 6-0 lead after Elijah Conliffe recovered a Rams’ fumble on a shotgun snap.
Jordan Scarlett scored on a 30-yard run for a 13-0 lead, and Freddie Swain caught an 18-yard TD pass from Feleipe Franks.
Tyrie Cleveland recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a 27-0 lead.
Rams kicker Wyatt Bryan, the school’s all-time leading scorer, missed a pair of field goals in the first half before connecting on a 53-yarder to end the half.
CSU quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels tossed a 48-yard touchdown to Trey McBride to open the second half.
Swain recorded his second touchdown on an 85-yard punt return early in the fourth quarter.
Wide receiver Van Jefferson (38-yard catch) and running back Dameon Pierce (68-yard run) added long scores.
—Field Level Media