Whitley At The Half: Gators run Bulls

David Whitley
Gator Sports
Florida Gators quarterback Emory Jones (5) rushes a gap during the second quarter against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL on Saturday, September 11, 2021.

Sun sports columnist David Whitley looks at the first half of the Florida-FAU game:

TAMPA —  Do they have to play the second half?

 It took about 10 minutes for the Gators to find their bearings. Then, oof!

 USF might be worse than advertised, and the advertisements said the Bulls were atrocious. As for the Gators. ...

• Let’s go ahead and inaugurate a QB Controversy Meter, with a scale of 1-10. Right now, it’s an 8.9. But it’s a positive 8.9. Positive in that Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson are both playing well. Though it didn’t start that way.

Jones had his first pass knocked down and badly overthrew his second one. The Gators went 3-and-out on their first possession. That was definitely not what fans wanted to see out of Jones after his erratic passing performance against FAU last week.

But Jones got things rolling when he hit Ricky Wells with a 20-yard pass to open UF’s second drive. He completed nine of his final 10 passes and finished the half with 114 yards passing and one TD. That should calm the Emory Worries a bit. But ...

•The QB controversy wasn’t calmed because Richardson again looked like a young Cam Newton. His first pass was a 75-yard TD to Jacob Copeland. His second pass was a 41-yard TD pass to Copeland. Those are the only passes he’s attempted. Richardson also had an 18-yard scramble for a first down.

Sellout? Raymond James Stadium seats 65,618 fans, and South Florida announced the game was sold out. Apparently 15,000 people decided not to show up, because the upper decks are half-filled. And they’re half-filled with mostly Florida fans.

What to look for in the second half: It’s a glorified workout at this point. The Gators just want to run the clock, avoid injuries and not give Alabama anything to look at on tape.