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Gators 38, USF 14: Defense triggers second half surge for No.8 Gators

GAINESVILLE -- Thoughts on the game, anyone?

It took longer than expected but the No.8 Gators finally began looking like a team loaded with talent on Saturday in their 38-14 victory against the University of South Florida. The Gators are now 10-0 against instate teams since 2005 (Urban Meyer Era), and, for the record, UF is the last team in Florida from a major conference to still boast a perfect record this season. 

A few observations from Saturday's game ...

-Pretty funny how the crowd applauded the first snap from Mike Pouncey to John Brantley.

-Demps is fast. He had 255 total yards of offense including a career high 139 yards rushing on just 11 carries. His 62-yard touchdown run was his second score of more than 60 yards in back-to-back games.

-Ahmad Black and Janoris Jenkins should both be on the Jim Thorpe watchlist after the first two weeks of the season. Black had two picks on Saturday to give him three on the year. Jenkins had his second interception of the season on Saturday.

-USF quarterback B.J. Daniels completed just 5 of 20 passing attempts for 84 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

-Justin Trattou showed excellent awareness on his interception return for a touchdown. Love how he sprinted all the way into the end zone, too.

-Duke Lemmens, who had a fumble recovery on Saturday, gave me a great quote that didn't make the paper: "We've got a lot of speed out there and most importantly we go hard. That was one of the best athletes (Daniels) I think in the country who was playing quarterback for him and he'll wear you out but we kept coming after him the whole time and I think eventually it led to him making some bad throws."

-Wonder what Will Hill did to be suspended for the Gators' first two games?

-Deonte Thompson had a career day with six receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown.

-Chris Rainey left the game with a concussion and Janoris Jenkins took over returning punts. Jenkins had a 30-yard punt return on his only attempt. Maybe Urban Meyer should consider leaving Jenkins out there to return punts.

-Jordan Reed really surprised me with his touchown reception to end the game. Well, Reed didn't really surprise me but it surprised me that UF called his number. Great call by Steve Addazio.

-Freshmen cornerbacks Cody Riggs, Josh Shaw and Jaylen Watkins all played when Jeremy Brown left the game with what Urban Meyer called a "full-body cramp." Riggs dove to break up a pass and Watkins made an excellent tackle to cause and incompletion.

-Kind of surprising Andre Debose couldn't get open. He played on Saturday but didn't catch a pass.

-Robert Clark is a fierce competitor on the football field. This guy might be UF's next Ahmad Black ... only on the other side of the ball, of course.

THIRD QUARTER LIVE BLOG BELOW
Led by a relentless defense, the Florida Gators scored 21 points in the third quarter and led USF 31-14 with 12:20 left in the game.

-Gators DE Justin Trattou had a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown to give UF a 28-7 lead.

-Gators RBs Jeff Demps and Mike Gillislee scored back-to-back rushing TDs to give UF a 21-7.

HALFTIME BELOW
Gators senior strong safety Ahmad Black (WHO THE MIAMI HERALD SMARTLY FEATURED THIS WEEK) saved face for the Gators with two interceptions against the South Florida Bulls at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday.

Black's first interception with 60 seconds left in the second quarter set up UF's only scoring drive of the first half. Black made the play at the USF 31 and returned to two yards. Gators quarterback John Brantley completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to fifth-year senior Carl Moore to tie the game at 7-all with 44 seconds left in the half. 

Black made his second interception on a desperation heave by USF quarterback B.J. Daniels to end the first half. Black now has 11 interceptions for his career and three this season.

2:14 LEFT IN HALF

Amazingly, Florida is still scoreless with 2:14 left in the second quarter. The Gators' only semi-successful offensive possession of the first half has ended with a failed field goal attempt from Caleb Sturgis with 2:14 left in the first half.

-Gators second offensive series stalled when receiver Deonte Thompson dropped a wide-open pass. Gators offense seemed to find a little offense before the drop.

USF 7, GATORS 0
Just off the Quran burning beat to witness something I thought I would never see while covering the Florida Gators.

On its first offensive possession of the game, USF drove 96 yards on 17 plays (time of possession 9:58) for a touchdown drive. USF 7, Gators 0 with 3:53 left in the first quarter. And I'm like, "Dang," sitting in this hot press box. A rivalry is born.

-Gators safety Will Hill is not playing for the second straight week.

-Gators first offensive possession with a three-and-punt featuring a fumbled snap by QB John Brantley. Wow.

-jo-

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