Florida football team rallies to avoid upset loss to South Florida

Florida improved to 3-0 all-time against South Florida
The Florida Gators narrowly defeated South Florida at home to win their second game of the season.
Published: Sep. 18, 2022 at 12:41 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Despite Anthony Richardson throwing two interceptions for the second consecutive game, No. 20 Florida was able to overcome a late, four-point deficit to slip by in-state opponent, South Florida, 31-28.

The Bulls (1-2) had a chance to tie the game with a 49-yard field goal, with just 23 seconds remaining on the clock, but a bad hold caused kicker Spencer Shrader to push his attempt wide right. The missed kick preserved the Gators (2-1) victory.

Florida built an 11-point lead at halftime, thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns - a 62-yard score by Montrell Johnson and a 7-yard score from Nay’Quan Wright - to go along with a 39-yard pick-6 by Jalen Kimber to secure a 24-13 advantage at intermission.

The start of the second half quickly went awry for Florida. Richardson threw the first of his two interceptions on the night on the team’s opening drive of the third quarter. That interception led to South Florida’s Gerry Bohannon running in a qb-keeper from 6-yards out to shrink the Gators lead down to three, after the Bulls successfully converted a 2-point conversion.

South Florida went ahead for just the second time in the game, after their 11-play, 51-yard drive ended with Michael Dukes diving across the front right corner of the endzone for 6. Bulls led 28-24 with 11:14 to play in the fourth quarter.

With Florida fans holding their breath, Richardson tossed his second and final interception of the contest in the Bulls endzone for a USF touchback. Richardson finished the game 10/18 112 yards, 2 interceptions, 0 touchdowns.

However, on the ensuing Bulls possession, Bohannon threw his second I-N-T of the game, when Tre’Vez Johnson made a diving catch to steal momentum back for the orange and blue. The defense’s third takeaway of the game helped set up Trevor Etienne’s 3-yard rushing touchdown to vault Florida back in front, 31-28. All three of Florida’s offensive touchdowns came on the ground by three different running backs.

South Florida received the kickoff with exactly 5:00 remaining in the game, but in the end, their bad hold on the game-tying field goal did them in.

Florida will now go on the road to face SEC foe Tennessee, next. The game will take place Saturday, Sept. 24 at 3:30 p.m.

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