No. 8 Gators overcome slow start, beat USF 38-14
By Mark Long
September 11, 2010
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Jeff Demps has emerged as Florida's top playmaker.
Demps ran for a career-high 139 yards and a touchdown, finished with 255 all-purpose yards and helped No. 8 Florida beat South Florida 38-14 on Saturday.
The Gators (2-0) overcame a sluggish start for the second consecutive week, took advantage of five turnovers and extended their home winning streak to 13 games.
Big plays were key.
John Brantley's lone TD pass came after an interception. Demps' 62-yard TD run followed a fumble. Mike Gillislee scored after another turnover. Defensive end Justin Trattou picked off a pass and rumbled 35 yards to the end zone. And the Gators turned Demps' 54-yard kickoff return into a field goal.
Florida would like to forget the first half -- again. After struggling with botched snaps and ball security last week against Miami (Ohio), the Gators punted three times and missed a field goal against the Bulls (1-1). The Gators scored in the final minute of the half, then rolled after the break.
South Florida's B.J. Daniels, the guy who almost single-handily beat Florida State last year, completed just 5 of 20 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. He also threw four interceptions.
The Bulls kept it close early and even led 7-0 for most of the first half. They drove 96 yards on their opening possession, gashing Florida with long runs, and then scored on a 2-yard pass from Daniels to Andrew Ketchel. The 17-play drive was the team's biggest highlight, though.
Florida settled down on defense and held South Florida to 224 yards the rest of the game.
The Gators played without safety Will Hill, apparently out because of a suspension, for the second consecutive week and lost cornerback Jeremy Brown in the second half.
The secondary didn't miss a beat. Ahmad Black intercepted two passes, giving him three in two games. Janoris Jenkins also picked one off, giving him two in as many weeks.
Trattou's pick may have been even more impressive. With linebackers Jon Bostic and Brandon Hicks chasing Daniels, the quarterback threw the ball for grabs. Trattou plucked it out of the air and sprinted the other way untouched, giving the Gators a 28-7 lead.
South Florida answered with a quick TD drive -- capped by Demetri Murray's 3-yard run -- but the Bulls couldn't stop Florida the rest of the game.
Florida settled for a short field goal, then Brantley lofted a perfect touch pass to Jordan Reed in the corner of the end zone for the final score. Brantley completed 18 of 31 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Deonte Thompson caught six passes for 83 yards, but also dropped another pass.
Receiver Chris Rainey did not play in the second half because of a concussion.