Final Score: (8) Florida 38, South Florida 14
Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) – John Brantley shook off a rough early start to throw for 173 yards and two touchdowns, while the two-headed monster of Jeffery Demps and Emmanuel Moody combined for 176 rushing yards, as eighth- ranked Florida pulled away for a 38-14 victory over South Florida.
Brantley completed 18-of-32 passes, six of them to Deonte Thompson, who compiled 83 yards receiving in the victory. Demps ran for 122 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown scamper that broke the game open, and Moody added 54 tough yards on 14 carries for the Gators (2-0), who trailed for most of the first half.
B.J. Daniels used his feet effectively, rushing for 107 yards, but wasn’t nearly as successful through the air, completing just 5-of-20 passes for 84 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. Demetris Murray added 62 yards on the ground and a touchdown for the Bulls (1-1).
The Bulls went on a journey through the Swamp, navigating 96 yards on 17 plays to the game’s first score. Daniels and Moise Plancher moved USF out of dangerous territory deep in its own end, including a pair of third-and-short conversions. After yet another third-down conversion, the Bulls quickly faced another, and Lindsey Lamar easy picked it up with a 21-yard jaunt through the heart of the Gators defense.
After a pass interference penalty kept the drive alive inside the Gators 10- yard line, Daniels found Andrew Ketchel for a two-yard scoring connection.
The Gators’ longest march of the first half ended without points. Brantley completed an early third-down pass deep in the Gators own end then connected with Demps on a 21-yard pitch-and-catch down the right sideline that would have been longer if not for a holding penalty nullifying some of the yards after the catch. The 15-play drive stalled just outside the Bulls’ red zone, but Caleb Sturgis missed wide on a 39-yard boot.
South Florida, trying to shut out the Gators and take the touchdown lead into the locker room, made an error in judgment prior to the half. Daniels, trying to find his running back on a screen pass, errored high and wide, instead hitting Florida defender Ahmad Black between the numbers.
The interception triggered the Gators’ first scoring drive, as Brantley threw an 11-yard dart over the middle to Carl Moore to square the contest late in the half.
The Gators took their second-quarter momentum into the third, as Demps scampered down the left sideline, bobbed and weaved between a pair of USF defensive backs and outran the rest for a 62-yard scoring run and 14-7 edge.
Florida continued to open massive holes for its running backs in the third period. A 30-yard punt return set the Gators up in USF territory, and four plays later they were in the end zone. After a 15-yard completion, Moody ran for seven and nine yards before Mike Gillislee scored from four yards out.
The close game turned into a three-score affair as Daniels was intercepted by Justin Trattou on the next series, and he sprinted 35 yards for a touchdown and a 28-7 lead.
The Bulls responded with a 69-yard jaunt capped by Murray’s four-yard plunge. The big play on the march was Daniels’ 51-yard strike to Evan Landi.
Florida tacked on to its lead early in the fourth quarter on a 22-yard field goal by Sturgis. A 57-yard drive culminated in another Gators touchdown inside the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Brantley found Jordan Reed for a two-yard score and a 38-14 advantage.
This was the first-ever meeting between the two schools…Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey left the game in the first half with a concussion…Each team racked up the rushing yards, as USF finished with 239 and Florida with 238.