FOOTBALL

Gator Extra: Pregame notebook

Special to Gatorsports.com
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A general overall interior view of Raymond James Stadium, home of defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and site for today's Florida vs. USF game.

No. 11 Florida (1-0) at South Florida (0-1)

When: 1 p.m. today. TV: ABC. Radio: 103.7-FM

Line: Florida by 28 ½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Florida leads 1-0.

The Gators have won three straight at Raymond James Stadium, all in the Outback Bowl. They beat Iowa twice, in 2005 and 2016, and knocked off Penn State in 2010. The last time Florida played a regular-season game in Tampa was in 1989 against Mississippi State, a 21-0 victory.

More:USF hosting Gators for first time with near sell-out crowd expected

A pylon with a USF logo before the game between the Florida Gators and the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL on Saturday, September 11, 2021. [Matt Pendleton/Special to Sun]

Key matchup: Gators vs. Bulls

South Florida’s run defense versus Florida’s ground game. The Gators ran for 400 yards in a 35-14 victory against Florida Atlantic – more than anyone else in the country and the program’s most in any opener. The Bulls, meanwhile, surrendered 293 yards and four touchdowns rushing in a 45-0 loss at North Carolina State.

Florida at USF: Players to Watch

South Florida: Andrew Stokes could get plenty of work and might be one of the team’s best players. The 27-year-old Australian punted eight times for 361 yards against the Wolfpack and averaged 45.1 yards. He had a 66-yarder and consistently had so much hang time that N.C. State managed just two returns for 12 yards. The 6-foot-5, 228-pound Stokes spent the previous seven years playing Australian Rules Football.

Florida: Zach Carter, who notched a career-high three sacks and a forced fumble in the opener, expects to have about 40 friends and family on hand for his homecoming. Carter grew up in Tampa, about two hours south of Gainesville, and is looking forward to playing at Raymond James Stadium for the first time. He got oh-so-close to playing a championship game in the NFL stadium as a youngster, but his little league team fell one game shy of making it to the big stage.

Related story:Florida's contest with USF a rare homecoming for several key Gators

Roster:2021 FLORIDA GATORS FOOTBALL DEPTH CHART

Facts & Figures

The Gators and Bulls are meeting for the first time in Tampa. They signed a two-for-one contract that will have USF traveling to Gainesville next season and again in 2025. Their previous matchup came at Florida Field in 2010, with the Gators winning 38-14 at home. … Mullen insists he has no QBs controversy despite backup Anthony Richardson outplaying starter Emory Jones in Week 1. If Richardson does it again, whispers and shouts of change will grow even louder. … Former USF recruiting coordinator/CBs coach Jules Montinar left to join Mullen’s staff after one year in Tampa. … The Bulls are 1-9 under second-year coach Jeff Scott. ... USF is 11-30 all-time against ranked opponents since joining the FBS in 2000. Today's game is sold out. The largest crowd for a USF home game was 69,383 in 2012 against Florida State.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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