The Florida Gators went down to Tampa and took care of business with a 42-20 win over the University of South Florida Bulls. The quarterback situation continues to become more confusing and a bigger topic of discussion given how both signal callers performed. Just like the Florida Atlantic game, this one was a mix of some good and some bad on both sides of the ball.
It’s hard to argue against over 650 yards of offense and another game of over 350 yards rushing. The Gators’ offensive line looks better in the run game compared to the last few years and that amount of yardage is a result. Anthony Richardson continued his electric play as well. Emory Jones also made some great plays including a dime to Xzavier Henderson and a great run on a speed option as both of those went for touchdowns. At one point, Florida’s offense scored on five consecutive possessions in the first half sandwiched between two punts. Not to mention, Florida’s wide receivers made several explosive plays led by Jacob Copeland and his two long touchdown grabs. The reason for the “B” is what happened in the second half. The Gators turned the ball over on four straight possessions coming out of halftime and were outscored 17-7 in the final 30 minutes. Some of those turnovers came on poor decisions by Emory Jones plus two different fourth-down stops, one of which was inside the 10. Mistakes will happen but Florida needs to limit them from happening consecutively.
The Gator defense allowed just 283 yards from scrimmage with 188 passing yards allowed and 95 on the ground given up. The defensive front once again took some time to get going in the pass rush and the secondary continues to be an adventure. Against a better team, there likely would’ve been more yardage or points given up. But, the pass rush was able to affect USF’s quarterbacks at times including one that resulted in the first interception of the year for the Gators secondary. The second cornerback spot opposite Kaiir Elam is still a work in progress/problem area for Todd Grantham’s squad. But, on several occasions, the Gator defense stiffened up and got the stops it needed for Florida’s offense to go to work. Ty’Ron Hopper seemed all over the place along with Mohamoud Diabate who filled in at middle linebacker for Ventrell Miller.
Special Teams: A-
Once again, not much for the special teams unit to showcase. But, what was shown looked good for the most part. The Gator kickers have yet to attempt a field goal this year but went six-for-six on extra point attempts. Xzavier Henderson didn’t have a single punt return as it seemed South Florida consistently kicked away from him. Florida only had two kick returns in the game between Malik Davis and Ja’Markis Weston. The Gators did some great things on kick coverage too including two big hits from Diwun Black creating short returns by the Bulls. And Jeremy Crawshaw had three punts including two over 50 yards and one downed inside the 20. The only real bad thing that happened on special teams was a missed tackle on a punt return that resulted in a fairly long USF gain, giving the Bulls great field position.
It’s another win for the Gators and that really is all that matters. But, with some of the issues Florida’s shown the last two games, things will need to improve as the Gators head into conference play. And they don’t start it off with the easiest of teams as Alabama rolls into town.