Florida Offense Wakes Up After Half

They started like they finished. After three plays and out that included a muffed snap, and a free shot on quarterback John Brantley, the offense struggled through the first half on offense. The second half would be a new story for this offense and maybe something they can build on as they move forward. The Gators beat South Florida 38-14 to the delight of the fans that stuck around to watch.

The highlight of Florida's first offensive drive was a four-yard run by senior Emmanuel Moody. Junior quarterback John Brantley mishandled a good snap and took a vicious shot on one play and the Gators started their second game much like they played in the first one.

After a solid punt that saw South Florida start on their own 4-yard line, the defense had their worst series of this short year giving up the first touchdown of the season. Highlighted by several long runs from USF quarterback B.J. Daniels, the Bulls clawed their way down the field for a 7-0 lead.

The defense held the Bulls to just 66 yards for the remainder of the half and came up with what was the play of the half when Ahmad Black intercepted the first of two passes on the day and set up the Gators on the Bulls' 29-yard line.

Florida spent the half trying to gain some composure getting a little bit done but not much until that Black interception. Starting on the 29, with 60 seconds left, Brantley started with a bang and a 26-yard corner pass to Deonte Thompson who was out at the 6. Three plays later Brantley hit senior receiver Carl Moore for a touchdown. It was the first score of the game for Florida who was able to tie it before half.

Black would have a second interception right before the half as time ran out.

It was apparent during the first half that Daniels, the USF quarterback was running for 71 yards and netting 63 in the first half. He was also 3-for-12 for 36 yards and two interceptions when he had to rest his legs and throw the ball.

Brantley was 12-for-22 in the first half and threw for more yards in the half (115), than he did a week ago in the entire game. Brantley threw the ball to four different receivers in the half and Deonte Thompson had five catches for 62 yards in the half but a crucial drive killing drop as well.

The last minute was a preview to the entire second half. In a flurry, the Gators pulled all the stops out after halftime and one short possession.

Led by Jeff Demps, who rushed for 139 yards in the game, the offense took on a swagger it had been missing through three halves of football this season.

The Florida defense came out tough again in the second half with a quick three-and-out that started with senior Duke Lemmens' tackle for a three yard loss. The Bulls would punt and Florida would get the ball deep in their own territory and at their own 3-yard line.

After a couple of first downs highlighted by a 10- and 11-yard run by sophomore Mike Gillislee, Florida would have to punt the ball for the last time of the day.

On the next Bull's possession, they would grab two first downs before fumbling the ball away to Duke Lemmens, who had his best game as a Gator.

From their own 12-yard line, Brantley would hit Thompson an a deep crossing pattern for 21 yards. Two plays later, Demps scampered 62 yards for his second longest touchdown of the season.

The defense then followed with another three-and-out and Janoris Jenkins showed his versatility with a huge punt return that gave the ball to Florida on the USF 35-yard line. Freshman Robert Clark caught his first pass of the season for 15 yards and with the ball down at the 20, Moody carried it for 16 more yards on two more carries. Gillislee finished it off with a four-yard burst up the middle and suddenly the score was 21-7.

The defense got in the scoring mix on the next drive. After two first downs, pressure on Daniels led by senior linebacker Brandon Hicks caused him to make an errant throw into the waiting arms of senior defensive end Justin Trattou. Trattou did the rest lumbering 35 yards for the touchdown. After the extra point, Florida was up 28-7 and the whole stadium had a different feel to it.

Seemingly gassed and left for dead, the USF offense woke up again. On a play that could have gone for a pick-six in the other direction, Ahmad black jumped the pass but came up empty and the USF tight end Eric Landi picked up a huge 51 yards down the field to the UF 19-yard line. The mistake was costly as four plays later, USF ran in for the score.

That would be it for the Bulls.

Demps would return the next kickoff to the USF 40-yard line. The Gators would only settle for a field goal, but they still managed another couple of first downs in the process.

Janoris Jenkins would highlight the next drive with an interception played like the All-American he is supposed to be. Watching the ball all the way from the quarterback's hand until he caught it, Jenkins weaved across the field for several yards on the return.

The offense answered again with a 10-plus play drive, capped by a beautiful corner pass in the end zone to tight end Jordan Reed. The Gators drove the length of the field in a bunch formation using seven offensive linemen almost the entire drive. Run after run set up the pass to Reed who got behind his man in the corner for what was really an easy touchdown.

Amazingly enough USF had 244 net yards rushing in the game and only came up with 14 points. Daniels was ultra impressive running for 107 yards and only taking one sack for 11 yards under pretty good pressure on the day. The Bulls were held to just 86 yards receiving on the day and 51 of that coming on the one play to Landi.

The USF defense that held Florida to 157 yards and seven points in the first half gave up 246 yards in the second half as the Gators ran for 251 and passed for 172 yards passing and 423 total.

Thompson had a career best six catches and totaled 86 yards but still had a couple of more he should have hauled in. Carl Moore was a positive with a few first downs on five catches for 40 yards. Brantley was 18-for-31 for 172 yards and two touchdowns.

Demps was the story on offense with a career high 139 yards and 12.6 yard average. Four tailbacks got in the game Moody (14 carries, 56 yards), Gillislee (4 carries, 29 yards), and freshman Mack Brown (3 carries, 23 yards).

Ahmad Black led the defense again with eight tackles, most in the first half. His two interceptions were also big keys to the victory. The next three leading tacklers were linebackers A.J. Jones, Jelani Jenkins, and Jon Bostic.


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