No. 13 Florida heads south to battle USF

NCAA Football

The 13th-ranked Florida Gators take their show on the road to Tampa this Saturday, where they’ll have plenty of support from inside Raymond James Stadium against host South Florida.

The Gators (1-0) have a quarterback controversy potentially brewing. Junior Emory Jones is the starter but redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson is making the coaching staff wonder a little bit about increased playing time.

Jones was 17 for 27 for 113 yards with a touchdown pass and two interceptions in his team’s 35-14 win over Florida Atlantic last week. Head coach Dan Mullen says there is no controversy, even though Richardson ran for 160 yards on seven carries, passed for another 40 yards and, with the Gators having sealed their win late in the game, impressed with a 73-yard touchdown run.

If nothing else, expect to see the two quarterbacks again on Saturday against the Bulls (0-1), who fell at North Carolina State 45-0 last week.

The game will be the first regular-season game in Tampa for Florida since playing Mississippi State in 1989, before the current home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers was built. Defensive end Zachary Carter, who had three of his team’s six sacks against Florida Atlantic, is among those Gators from the area who get to play in their hometown.

“You know, I haven’t played a game in Tampa in about four years,” Carter said. “I’m getting old, but I’m excited to be back in Tampa. I’m going to have a big crowd (of family and friends) there.”

The Gators will also sport a new-look white helmet.

Florida and South Florida have faced each other just one other time, a 38-14 win for the Gators at The Swamp in Gainesville in 2010.

The Bulls might be close to a quarterback change. True freshman Timmy McClain and sophomore Cade Fortin, the starter last Thursday, had the same number of completions against N.C. State: seven.

McClain threw for 126 yards on 13 attempts compared to 41 yards on 20 attempts for Fortin. McClain threw two interceptions, though, and Fortin will get the start again this week, head coach Jeff Scott said.

“Cade settled down when we put him in later in the game. He showed better decision-making,” Scott said.

Both quarterbacks will play, Scott added.

“The biggest disappointment was the turnovers. He just forced some throws in the red zone that did not need to happen there, and took away some opportunities to get points,” Scott said of McClain. “I expect both of those guys to play better this week.”

Scott said the team looks forward to a big crowd at home after fans were not allowed for games at home last season. He said he hopes his team has learned lessons from the season-opening loss but knows the Gators will be a tough opponent.

“For me it starts with being able to stop their running game. They had over 400 yards rushing last week,” Scott said of the Gators, who averaged 8.7 yards per carry against FAU. “Both of their quarterbacks are tremendous.”

–Field Level Media

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