Gators lose again as season spins away

by Gary Shelton on October 17, 2021

in general

UF QB Anthony Richardson./STEVEN MUNCIE

Sunday, 3 a.m.

In a place known as Death Valley, they can recognize a corpse.

Especially when it's wearing orange and blue.

The chances of the University of Florida finishing with anything other than a mediocre football season were reduced to nil Saturday afternoon when the Gators went down, 49-42, to an injured, unranked football team from LSU.

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The Gators dropped their third game, their slide fueled by four interception and a 287-yard rushing performance by Tyrion Davis-Price; Max Johnson -- son of former Bucs' quarterback Brad Johnson -- threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Jaray Jenkins -with 3:30 to play to break a 42-42 tie. Johnson and Jenkins combined for three touchdowns.

The Gators seemed to be on good shape a couple of weeks ago following a win over Tennessee. They were 4-1 with a close loss to Alabama. Since then, they have been beaten by Kentucky and LSU.

The Tigers played with Derek Stingley Jr., Eli Ricks, Ali Gaye and Andre Anthony.

After the game, there was heavy criticism on Florida defensive coordinator Todd Granthan.

"Nothing changes my perspective on him," Florida coach Dan Mullen said of Grantham. "We're always evaluating everything we do."

One of those things is turning the ball over. FSU quarterbacks threw four interceptions.

“The one stat to me stands out a lot is we’re minus-4 turnover ratio,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said. “We didn’t stop the run and make the stops we needed to in the second half when we started to gain momentum. Every time we’d get that kind of fix to get ourselves out of the hole we kind of couldn’t get the stop to get over the hump.”

Florida is off next week before playing No. 1 ranked Georgia in Jacksonville

Tulsa 32, USF 31: In the end, USF had nothing to lose. Just a ballgame. And the way things are going for the Bulls these days, what's another loss?

The Bulls, with a rare lead late in the game over Tulsa, chose to go for a first down on third-and-one at the USF 42 with 4:27 to play. The Bulls, who had just been stopped on third-and-one, were stuffed again. Tulsa took over and, nine plays later, scored the winning touchdown.

“Obviously, the call everyone wants to talk about is understandable, the fourth-and-one," said USF coach Jeff Scott. "At the end of the day, I’m going to go down believing in our guys. That’s what it was all about. Jaren Mangham and that offensive line have been dang-good this year. It was four minutes to go. You get the first down, I feel like you win the game. Yeah, we could’ve punted it and this, that and the other, but we said we’re going to attack, we’re going to be aggressive and we felt like we had the right call.”

Oh, you can quibble with Scott. After all, doesn't he believe in his defensive players, too?

But the Bulls hadn't had much luck stopping Tulsa most of the day. The Hurricanes gained 535 yards of offense. The Bulls, who led 24-10, had their lead because of a touchdown return by Brian Battie and a 69-yard interception return by Antonio Grier.

I’m obviously disappointed in the result," Scott said. "I take a lot of responsibility on me. There were a lot of plays that we had where we could’ve won the game, maybe 8-10 of those plays. We didn’t get it done and at the end of the day that falls on me. The one thing I am very proud of is how hard our guys played. Our guys did not play like a 1-4 football team that have been through what they’ve been through in five games. They played their hearts out. At the end of the day, we didn’t get it done at the very end when we had some opportunities. It was a big difference from when we played these guys a year ago with pretty much the same team. We were in position. We’ve got to find a way to win the game.

For Tulsa, Shamari Brooks rushed for 145 yards and Deneric Prince for 110.

USF is home next week to play Temple. The game is at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium.

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