GAINESVILLE FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback John Brantley #12 of the Florida Gators attempts a pass during a game against the South Florida Bulls at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 11 2010 in Gainesville Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
On Saturday, September 11, 2010, while #18 Penn State was trying to figure out how they might score a single touchdown in Tuscaloosa, #8 Florida was hosting one-time Big East wannabes, the South Florida Bulls and their first-year head coach Skip Holtz. The Bulls (not to be confused with Da Bulls), were fresh off a 59-14 curbstomping of Bobby Bowden resume-sounding Stony Brook, and had a swampy upset on their minds. And they started out like they meant it, too, marching their opening drive 96 yards downfield en route to a 7-0 lead, converting four 3rd downs along the way. That was all before they started turning the ball over to what turned out to be another fine Gator defense. Sophomore Bull quarterback, BJ Daniels, attempted 20 passes on the day. He completed 5 of them to his own team and 4 to the Gators. They also lost a fumble. Said skipper Skip of the miscues:
"I thought the team played hard, but we certainly did not play smart enough to win. The No. 1 statistic in the country that determines wins and losses is turnovers, and I believe we finished minus-five in that category. You are not going to win too many football games turning the ball over like that."
The Gators further held the Bulls to 86 yards passing and 244 rushing and forced punts on 7 of their 12 third-down opportunities. Senior 4* strong safety Ahmad Black had this to say about the defensive gameplan:
"The thing about this game is we wanted to let him try to beat us running the ball, because we knew for a fact he wasn't going to beat us throwing the ball. If he put the ball in the air, it was ours."
Offensively, the Gators took a little time warming up, but at least seemed to have worked out the fundamentals inherent to the snapping of the ball (4* Senior Center Mike Pouncey noted of his improvement from the Miami game: 'This isn't just a one-week thing; I'm going to keep doing it week in and week out). After punting on their first three drives and missing a field goal on their fourth, Florida eventually converted 21 first downs and racked up a balanced attack consisting of 172 rushing and 251 passing yards. 4* RSJR QB John Brantley finally got the Gators on the board with a minute left in the first half when he found senior 5* JUCO transfer Carl Moore (#9) open for an 11-yard touchdown.
The real (track star) story, tho, was JR 4* receiver/track star Jeff Demps, who had a career (on the football field, not the track) day and ran for 139 yards and a touchdown and finished with 255 all-purpose football yards. Still, center Pouncey had this to say about his teammate: "He's an All-American in track, and he's going to be an All-American [in football]." Outgoing coach Urban Meyer added: "Jeff Demps is the guy you want to have with the ball." Other contributors to the quote board included SR 4* RB Emmanuel Moody, formerly of USC fame, who, after racking up 54 yards on 14 carries had this to say about the Gators improved performance from the week before: "This is Florida. We're not going to come out and play two bad games. We're going to fix what we need to fix."
Florida went on to win their next two games before getting smoked by Bama, and finished the season 7-5 with a retiring coach and a matchup with us in the Outback Bowl. USF won a few more games and wound up tied for fifth in the Big East with a matchup vs. Clemson in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.