Florida Gators QB John Brantley Has Breakout Game Against Kentucky

Joe MorganSenior Analyst ISeptember 26, 2010

Florida quarterback John Brantley lit up the Kentucky secondary with 248 passing yards Saturday.
Florida quarterback John Brantley lit up the Kentucky secondary with 248 passing yards Saturday.Doug Benc/Getty Images

On a night when Trey Burton scored six touchdowns to break Tim Tebow's school record and Urban Meyer recorded career win No. 100, it's easy to overlook the other details, no matter how encouraging.

One storyline that was buried beneath the Burton hype was a breakout performance from starting quarterback John Brantley, who completed 24 of his 35 pass attempts for 248 yards and one touchdown.

In addition to having his best game of the season through the air, Brantley led an efficient Gator offense down the field on five touchdown drives, including two in the first quarter, which ended Florida's early-game scoring drought.

The only downer to Brantley's performance last night was that he threw an interception on a tipped pass, but to the redshirt junior's credit, it was his first pick of the season.

Having a great game couldn't have come at a better time for Brantley, who has been pretty underwhelming since taking over the starting quarterback job from Tebow this season.

Coming out of high school, Brantley was one of the nation's top quarterback recruits, especially after he broke Tebow's FHSAA career touchdown pass record.

So, when No. 12 averaged just 150.7 passing yards in the season's first three games, there were some doubts about his ability to be a top-notch SEC quarterback.

However, Brantley may have silenced his critics for good in a feel-good 48-14 blowout of the Wildcats and nobody is happier than Urban Meyer.

During the week leading up to Florida's 31-17 victory over the Tennessee, Meyer put some public pressure on his quarterback when he stated that "[Brantley]'s got to be a 200-plus-yard passer."

Well, Brantley did just that Saturday and Meyer is well aware.

"You have to give credit where credit is due, and that's on our quarterback position," Meyer told The Gainesville Sun. "We had a bunch of guys play their best games as Gators."

Now, the eyes of the entire Gator Nation will be on Brantley, expecting him to repeat his Kentucky success against the rest of Florida's opponents.

And perhaps the toughest test of all comes this weekend when the Gators travel to Tuscaloosa to face No. 1 Alabama.

Despite the pressure of the matchup with the Crimson Tide, Brantley, who already has a road victory at Neyland Stadium under his belt, will continue to focus on executing his duties at quarterback.

"We wanted to get off to a fast start tonight. You want to do that every game," Brantley told The Gainesville Sun. "We're real happy that happened. We were well-balanced today."

A confident Brantley will try to bring that balance to Bryant-Denny Stadium and if the Gators' offensive performance against Kentucky was any indication, this contest will be much closer than the last meeting.