No. 18 Florida will seek redemption while unranked South Florida will try for its first victory over a Power 5 opponent in four years when the two Sunshine State neighbors clash Saturday night in Gainesville, Fla.
The Gators (1-1) opened with a comeback win over then-No. 7 Utah but fell flat against No. 20 Kentucky last week, going scoreless in the second half and managing only 279 yards in total offense in a 26-16 loss.
Anthony Richardson, the hero of the win over the Utes when he rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 168 yards, struggled against the Wildcats in what was the sophomore’s fourth career start. He completed 14 of 35 passes for 143 yards and rushed for only 4 yards. He also threw two interceptions, leading to 13 points for Kentucky.
“It’s part of being a young player,” first-year Florida coach Billy Napier said. “It’s part of being a guy who’s not very experienced. That’s reality here. Anthony’s a young player. He’s getting his first opportunity to be the guy. I just think this is part of the story. This is part of his growth.
“And he’ll use that. This guy’s a competitor. He’s motivated, and I think he’s going to take full advantage of the experience he’s had, both good and bad so far.”
Third-year coach USF Jeff Scott picked up his fourth win as coach of the Bulls (1-1 this season) with last week’s 42-20 thumping of Howard, their third in that span over an FCS foe (The Citadel, Florida A&M).
The Bulls’ only win over an FBS opponent was last year against Temple. USF hasn’t beaten a Power 5 team since a 25-19 win over Illinois on Sept. 15, 2018.
The Bulls’ running game was the big factor against Howard. USF rushed for 205 yards and six touchdowns. Sophomore Brian Battle posted the third 100-yard rushing game of his career with 105 yards on seven carries as the Bulls broke the game open with four second-half touchdowns after leading 14-7 at the break.
Baylor transfer Gerry Bohanon added 219 yards in completing 17 of 28 passes — seven to Xavier Weaver for 57 yards.
Florida will be the second Top 25 opponent for the Bulls in the first three weeks of the season. The Bulls lost their opener 50-21 to then-No. 25 BYU.
“I would say that after we finished the BYU game, we were not ready to beat a Top 25 team,” Frost said. “That was two weeks ago. That’s the exciting part about football. Each week is a new week and you get new opportunities to grow. We’ll find out after Week 3 if we played well enough. to do that.”
The game will be the Gators’ third in a row at home to start the season before the team opens Southeastern Conference play at Tennessee on Sept. 24.
–Field Level Media