GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - UAB was far from full strength against No. 18 Florida, and it showed.
The Blazers opened their season without running back Pat Shed, defensive tackle Elliott Henigan and cornerback T.J. Ballou - three of the team's best players - and the Gators took advantage en route to a 39-0 victory.
All three starters missed the game with sports hernias.
``You're going to lose guys and the next guy has to step up,' quarterback Bryan Ellis said.
Without Shed, the Blazers (1-0) struggled to get anything going on the ground. Without Henigan and Ballou, the defense put up little fight against the Gators (2-0).
``Obviously, I'm disappointed in the outcome for us,' UAB coach Neil Callaway said.
The Blazers had few, if any, highlights in a game that was more lopsided than the final score. Bryan Ellis completed 15 of 28 passes for 141 yards. Dontavius Jackson ran five times for 31 yards.
After managing 500 yards five times last season, including at Tennessee, the Blazers gained just 212 against Florida. They also allowed 512 under new defensive coordinator Tommy West.
Chris Rainey ran for 119 yards and a touchdown as Florida got its ground game going after a somewhat sluggish start.
``We missed a lot of tackles,' UAB safety Jamie Bender said. ``It wasn't so much that they did anything we didn't know about. They just beat us to the outside, and as a whole, we didn't do a good job of tackling. Stopping them early was good for us because it built our confidence. We did a great job in the early going.'
Florida leaned on Rainey more than usual, too.
Jeff Demps, the other half of Florida's dynamic rushing duo, sustained an injury in the first quarter. Florida officials refused to disclose the nature of the injury. He went to the locker room and did not return.
Nonetheless, the Gators accomplished everything they wanted in the second game. They opened up the playbook so much that they even used Rainey and versatile tight end Trey Burton in the wildcat, got John Brantley a little more comfortable in Charlie Weis' prostyle offense and eliminated the turnovers that bothered coach Will Muschamp in the opener.
The only problem was red-zone efficiency.
Weis said last week that settling for field goals in the red zone is a victory for the defense. If so, the Blazers won three possessions.
Caleb Sturgis hit from 24, 35 and 28 yards in the first half. He improved to 5 for 5 on the season, but all five could have been touchdowns. The Gators struggled inside the 20-yard line in 2010 and wanted to improve in that area this season.
So far, no good.
Still, Florida's offense has had little trouble moving the ball.
Brantley completed 12 of 19 passes for 195 yards. He had a mix of good and bad tosses. He underthrew a flea-flicker on the opening play of the game and misfired on a few passes. Rainey and Deonte Thompson also dropped passes. But Brantley also had a perfectly thrown ball to Andre Debose over the middle that set up Burton's 5-yard touchdown that made it 25-0 late in the first half.
Burton ran six times for 46 yards. Mike Gillislee replaced Burton in the second half and finished with 79 yards and a touchdown. Highly touted freshman Mack Brown added 36 yards rushing.
``They really showed up to play,' UAB linebacker Marvin Burdette said. ``We have a really young line, and you factor in the crowd like this, and it made a difference. We need to get the first-game jitters out.'
The Associated Press News Service
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