USF went to Gainesville to play Florida knowing it could ill afford to make many mistakes -- if any -- against a Gators team anxious to make up for an unimpressive win in its opener.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, they were right.
Their mistakes turned momentum Florida's way and turned what could have been a close scrum into a comfortable 38-14 triumph for the Gators.
The Bulls had five turnovers, four on interceptions. But two in particular were crucial.
The first came late in the first half with the Bulls holding onto a 7-0 lead. Facing third-and-6 at his own 26 with halftime fast approaching, quarterback B.J. Daniels threw an interception that Florida turned into its first touchdown.
Had the Bulls been able to punt, Florida may have faced a long field with less than a minute before the break.
The second interception came early in the third quarter with the game tied 7-7. On first down at Florida's 12-yard line, Bulls running back Demetris Murray fumbled at the end of a 4-yard gain. Three plays later, the Gators' Jeff Demps dashed 62 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
"I thought our team played hard but we certainly did not play smart enough to win," coach Skip Holtz said. "Turnovers are the number one thing -- the single biggest statistic that shows winning and losing.
"It is not yards, it's not punts, it's not yards per kickoff return, etc. The number one statistic in the country that determines wins and losses is turnovers, and I believe we finished minus-5 in that category today."
The Bulls, who were playing the Gators for the first time, now have an open date before beginning a three-game home stand that starts with a visit from Western Kentucky on Sept. 25.
--USF didn't really want QB B.J. Daniels to be its leading rusher again this season, but sometimes you don't always get what you want. Daniels led the Bulls' ground attack with 107 yards on 17 runs. He now has a team-high 130 yards rushing in two games.
--USF is scheduled for a return visit to Gainesville in 2015 but Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley told the Tampa Tribune the Gators have no interest in playing the Bulls in Tampa. "As long as we're playing eight SEC games, going somewhere else to play doesn't make sense for us," Foley said.
--The crowd of 90,612 at Florida Field was the second-largest road crowd to watch the Bulls. The largest is 99,235 at Penn State on Sept. 3, 2005.
GAME BALL GOES TO: LB Sam Barrington -- A sophomore who began to earn more time on the field as a true freshman last year, Barrington recorded a career-high eight tackles against Florida, nearly half of his season total in 2009. His previous high was seven against Connecticut in the 2009 season finale.
KEEP AN EYE ON: RB Demetris Murray -- Also a sophomore, Murray may be staking an early claim on a starting job. He rushed for 62 yards on 11 carries, including a long gain of 33 yards. He scored on a 3-yard run. The one downer was his lost fumble at Florida's 12-yard line on USF's second possession of the second half.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We went out there, got a fast start, the energy was there, the excitement was there and all of a sudden it was not. As a football team, we have to go back a re-group and figure out why that energy wasn't there the second half." -- Senior CB Mistral Raymond, after the Bulls were outscored 31-7 in the second half of the 38-14 loss at Florida.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: USF's defense did a solid job in the first half and may have gotten a shutout were it not for QB B.J. Daniels' interception that gave the Gators a short field to work with in the final minute. The Bulls also rushed for 244 yards against Florida behind QB B.J. Daniels (107) and RB Demetris Murray (62).
STILL NEEDS WORK: Interceptions led to four of Florida's five touchdowns. Daniels was only 5-of-20 passing. The Bulls also were hurt by penalties (seven for 45 yards) and had a fumble snuff out a scoring opportunity with the scored tied early in the third quarter.
--WR Dontavia Bogan injured his ankle early in the game and wasn't a factor the rest of the afternoon. He had only the one reception for a 12-yard gain.
--DE Ryne Giddins, who sat out the opener, saw only limited time and was not credited with a tackle.
--Sophomore WR Lindsay Lamar had a long run of 39 yards among his 87 yards on three kickoff returns.
--Sophomore TE Andreas Shields recorded his first three catches of the season (good for 21 yards) in the loss at Florida.