The Florida Gators are back in the win column after their comfortable 42-20 win versus the USF Bulls. The Gators had an excellent first half in which both quarterbacks were playing at a high level and the defense was playing well.
Florida Gators Cruise Past USF Bulls 42-20
However, the second half was a different story. USF actually outscored the Gators 17-7 in the second half and Emory Jones struggled again. Jones threw two interceptions in the third quarter and couldn’t put together a scoring drive.
On the other hand, redshirt-freshman quarterback Anthony Richardson continues to impress with his legs but also had an amazing day as a passer. Richardson combined for 267 yards of total offenses and three touchdowns. The quarterback controversy in Gainesville continues.
The USF Bulls were back home for the first time this season and played much better than they did in their season opener. Starting quarterback Cade Fortin continues to struggle as he completed 12 out of 18 passes for 91 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.
The Bulls’ ground game did have a better performance against the Florida defense than they did last week. USF rushed for 109 yards on 41 carries. Darrian Felix led the Bulls in rushing with 48 yards on fourteen carries. Jaren Mangham had eight carries for 29 yards and two touchdowns. So far, Mangham has the only two touchdowns the Bulls have this season.
There wasn’t much going for the Bulls in the receiving department as the Bulls quarterbacks all struggled. Junior wide receiver Xavier Weaver led the Bulls in receiving with two catches for 68 yards.
On defense, the Bulls gave up over 600 yards of total offense but were able to force two turnovers in the second half. Safety Vincent Davis led the Bulls in tackles with eight tackles including seven solos.
Senior defensive tackle Blake Green had the only USF sack in the game but also had two tackles for loss. Defensive backs Brock Nichols and Mekhi LaPointe both had an interception in the loss on Saturday.
The Florida Gators improved to 2-0 after their win against the USF Bulls but it was also a special win for their head coach Dan Mullen. Saturday’s win over USF was Mullen’s 100th win in his collegiate head coaching career.
The Florida passing attack improved from last week but starting quarterback Jones still leaves a lot to be desired. Jones completed 14 out of 22 passes for 151 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Jones looked much more comfortable in the first half but really struggled in the second half.
Florida’s backup quarterback Richardson had a great day passing the ball as he went three for three with 152 passing yards and two touchdowns. The incredible thing was that his only throw of the game that wasn’t a touchdown was his most impressive throw of the game.
The Gators’ quarterbacks also led the Gators in rushing. Richardson led Florida in rushing again as he had 115 yards on four carries including an 80-yard rushing touchdown. The unfortunate part of that run is Richardson’s right hamstring tightened up at the end of the run. The severity of the injury is currently unknown. He didn’t go into the locker room and he stayed on the sidelines.
Jones ran the ball as he ran for 81 yards on thirteen carries and a touchdown. Senior running back Dameon Pierce also ran the ball well as he had five carries for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Junior wide receiver Jacob Copeland had a career game against the USF Bulls. Copeland led Florida in receiving with five receptions for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver Xzavier Henderson also had a big game with four catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.
The Florida Gators defense for the most part played pretty well against the USF Bulls offense. They held the Bulls’ offense under 300 yards of total offense and also picked up their first interception of the season.
Junior linebacker Mohamoud Diabate led the Gators in tackles with seven including four solos. Another linebacker that played well was Jeremiah Moon. The sixth-year senior had five tackles, one tackle for loss, and a sack. Junior cornerback and AP Second Team Preseason All-American Kaiir Elam had three tackles but also had an interception.
The Florida Gators will be back home for their toughest opponent this season. Florida will host the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama is 2-0 on the season with very comfortable wins against Miami and Mercer. The kickoff is at 3:30 pm EST on CBS.