The Florida Gators make the short trip to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to kick off against the South Florida Bulls on Saturday afternoon. The Gators (1-0) are coming off a 35-14 victory over Florida Atlantic last weekend. The South Florida Bulls (0-1) were crushed by N.C. State 45-0 in their first matchup. The #13 ranked Gators come into this inter-state showdown as -28 point favorites.
Gators Easily Handle FAU OwlsThe Gators may have themselves a quarterback controversy after they dismantled the Florida Atlantic Owls 35-14 last week. According to coach Dan Mullen, Emory Jones is the starter, and Anthony Richardson remains the backup. Jones was far from sharp, finishing with a touchdown and two interceptions in his first career start, but the fourth-year junior had some moments to build on moving forward. He did much of his damage with his legs, finishing with 74 of the team's 400 yards rushing. Richardson looked more ready for the spotlight. He ran seven times for 160 yards, including a 73-yard score late in the game and an 11-yarder in which he broke three tackles and hurdled another defender. He missed his final five passes and finished 3-for-8 for 40 yards.
Coach Dan Mullen told the Associated Press after the game that Jones has a better grasp of the entire offense right now and will keep his job. Florida’s defense, which was gouged for 30.8 points a game last season, looked like it would notch the program's first shutout since beating Vanderbilt 56-0 in 2019. But the Gators gave up a touchdown with 4:27 remaining and another in the closing minutes of the opener for both teams. It remains to be seen who will be behind center for the Gators in this game, but Coach Mullen has reaffirmed Jones as the starter.
Bulls Blown Out by the WolfpackCade Fortin had a tumultuous return to the college landscape as his South Florida Bulls were destroyed 45-0 against N.C. State. Fortin's last college start came in November 2018 for UNC against N.C. State. He threw for 276 yards and accounted for two touchdowns in that overtime loss. But he was missing or throwing behind open receivers early and never looked comfortable for the Bulls, finishing with 41 yards on 7-for-20 passing with a fourth-quarter interception. It was a very ugly game.
South Florida gained most of their yards after the game was already decided. The Bulls and second-year coach Jeff Scott put together a deplorable effort in their first game after their awful season in 2020. It remains to be seen just how patient USF brass is regarding the future of the team. Unfortunately, things will not get any easier with the Gators making the short trip into town.
- Bulls are 1-5 ATS in their last six games facing SEC opponents
- Bulls are 1-5 in their last six home games
- Bulls are 0-9 in their last nine games overall
- Gators are 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 games played in Week 2
- Gators are 9-0 in their last nine games played in September
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