Florida Gators Beat Bulls in Gripping Final Moments

In the slow first quarter of this Florida vs. South Florida football matchup, I considered bailing. By the end, I was on the edge of my seat.

In this shot from ESPN, Florida takes the lead.

Screen-grab from ESPN.com

In this shot from ESPN, Florida takes the lead.

Lex Tawes, Contributor

The September 17th football game between the University of Florida and the University of South Florida – the Gators and the Bulls – was a memorable roller coaster ride.

I didn’t come into watching this game with high expectations. Most commentators wrote it off as a win for the Florida Gators before the game even started, for a few reasons.

First, Florida was the home team, giving them a significant advantage. Second, the only two times Florida and South Florida have played each other previously, Florida won decisively. Third, Florida had lost the week prior to Kentucky. Many believed this would drive the Gators to fight even harder against the South Florida Bulls.

With college football experts, and even Vegas, predicting a huge Florida victory, the stage was set for a blowout game.

But that’s not what happened.

In front of almost 90,000 people at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, the game was a battle that came down to the final play. 

In the beginning, there wasn’t much action on either side, especially by college football standards. The first touchdown wasn’t scored until almost the end of the first quarter.

During this quarter, I seriously questioned whether I should stay and watch the rest of the game. I found myself getting distracted by my phone and computer. I was worried the entire game would carry on in the same fashion. But I decided to continue watching. 

The second quarter started with a massive increase in energy from the Gators. After scoring a measly three points in the first quarter, Florida rallied to score 21 points in the second. South Florida scored 13. Suddenly, the game was much more entertaining to watch. 

Coming out of halftime, the Gators were up by 11 on the Bulls, and looking to build on their momentum. But the Bulls dominated the third quarter, and cut the game to within three points.

Now things really started to get interesting.

In the fourth quarter, USF scored early to go up 28-24. The atmosphere in the stadium was now apprehensive. I could feel it even watching from my living room.

But the crowd’s nervousness was soon crushed by the Gators’ answering touchdown, that put them in the lead. 

For the last five minutes, I was on the edge of my couch waiting to see if South Florida could defy all expectations and upset Florida at their own stadium. With only 23 seconds left, the Bulls attempted a field goal to see if they could push the game into overtime. Shockingly, the kicker barely managed to strike the ball, and he missed the field goal, securing the win for Florida. 

Watching this play unfold, and seeing the reaction from the massive crowd at Florida, was the highlight of the game. Hearing the crowd’s reaction, and seeing the fans jumping around in celebration, solidified what a great moment this was. Following one unlikely twist after another, it was only fitting that the game ended so dramatically.

This game was so enjoyable to watch not only because of the constant changes in momentum and score, but because it wasn’t supposed to be this entertaining in the first place. In the end, I’m glad I watched, and I’ll certainly remember it for a long time.