GAINESVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Steve Spurrier's decision to start Rex Grossman at quarterback worked out just fine.
Grossman threw for a career-best 375 yards and three touchdowns as the Gators built a big early lead and coasted to a 49-14 victory over outmanned Marshall in the season opener for both teams.
"We played very well tonight. I think we executed incredibly well in the first quarter," Grossman said. "I said going into this game that I was going to play with as few mistakes as possible and was pretty good at that tonight."
Earnest Graham added a career-high three touchdown runs for the Gators (1-0), who began a season atop both major polls for the first time in school history.
Marshall was forced to play without six reserves who were suspended by the NCAA for receiving unspecified extra benefits.
Grossman, who won a close competition from fellow sophomore Brock Berlin to earn the job as starter, threw a 28-yard TD pass to Reche Caldwell to make it 21-0 after one quarter.
Grossman tossed a 27-yard TD pass to Robert Gillespie and a 64-yarder to Taylor Jacobs to make it 35-0 by halftime.
Jabar Gaffney caught five passes for 102 yards and Caldwell had four receptions for 87 yards.
"I'm very proud of the receivers and the Rex and Brock throwing the ball," Spurrier said. "They threw it and caught it pretty doggone well."
Florida rolled up 541 total yards to win its 12th straight season opener.
Graham scored on runs of seven and six yards in the first 9:11 to give the Gators an early 14-0 lead and added a one-yard run in the fourth quarter. Graham carried 14 times for 53 yards.
Lito Sheppard set up the first Florida touchdown with a 26-yard punt return. Less than a minute after the score, safety Marquand Manuel recovered a fumble by Chanston Rodgers at the Marshall 7, and Graham scored one play later.
The Gators made it a long night for Marshall coach Bob Pruett, who was defensive coordinator at Florida in 1994 and 1995.
"Well, to say the least, we're very disappointed in the way we played," Pruett said. "I think Florida has an extremely outstanding football team. They have great athletes. They are more athletic than I thought they'd be."
Marshall finally scored in the third quarter on a 62-yard TD pass from Byron leftwich to Darius Watts. Chanston Rogers had a two-yard TD run for the Thundering Herd in the fourth quarter.
Leftwich completed 27-of-43 passes for 274 yards and was not intercepted.