Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Defense keeps Gators close against Hurricanes

MIAMI — While No. 12 Florida's offense failed to score touchdowns on 5 of 6 red zone opportunities in Saturday's 21-16 loss to Miami at Sun Life Stadium, its defense kept it in the game.

After allowing Stephen Morris to throw for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter, Florida held Miami scoreless until 3:29 left in the game — two plays after the offense lost a fumble at its 4. The 'Canes recorded only 212 yards and were 1-of-11 on third down.

Still, Miami's first quarter left Florida coach Will Muschamp with a bad taste in his mouth.

"I thought we gave them way too much momentum and belief early in the game," he said. "The linemen, the communication, the assignment, you name it. We didn't do it very well in the first series. We got very discombobulated … defensively."

Miami's first touchdown came 7:36 in on a 7-yard catch by Herb Waters, who beat free safety Cody Riggs on an out route. That capped a nine-play, 50-yard drive. Then with 1:47 left in the quarter, Morris connected with Phillip Dorsett on a 52-yard touchdown over strong safety Marcus Maye to increase the Hurricanes' advantage to 14-6.

But after that, the Gators defense — which saw standout cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy and linebacker Antonio Morrison return from one-game suspensions — forced four consecutive three-and-outs.

Three plays after Miami's initial first down in more than 27 minutes, linebacker Ronald Powell sacked Morris on third and 11 to force a punt late in the third quarter.

Later, freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves recorded his second interception in as many games to set up Florida at the Miami 47 with 9:30 left in the game.

The Gators held Morris to 61 yards on 4-of-14 passing over the final three quarters. Duke Johnson, who ran for 186 yards and a touchdown in the opener against Florida Atlantic, had just 59 and a 2-yard touchdown. And Florida stopped him for no gain or a loss on nine of his 21 carries.

Overall, Morris, a senior in his second season as a starter, was impressed: "That was the best defensive line I've ever seen and went against."

Defense keeps Gators close against Hurricanes 09/07/13 [Last modified: Saturday, September 7, 2013 9:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  3. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start


    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues


    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  5. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'


    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.