TALLAHASSEE | When Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois sailed a third quarter pass over his intended receiver, University of Florida safety Chauncey Gardner was positioned perfectly. The true freshman safety, making his first start due to a barrage of injuries, hauled in the pass and nabbed his first career interception.

Suddenly, Florida was just a touchdown away from tying the Seminoles — and had great field position.

But like it did most of the night in the 31-13 loss to the Seminoles, UF’s offense stalled and gave way to an Eddy Pineiro field goal. The Gators cut FSU’s lead to four but never recovered from an early 10-0 deficit and another good defensive effort was wasted.

Francois threw for only 138 yards, his second-lowest total of the season. In addition to the pick, he fumbled the ball away late in the fourth quarter on a hard hit by Marcell Harris when the Gators still had life.

Florida’s secondary was the catalyst and Gardner, a Cocoa native had six tackles and the forced fumble while Harris led the team with 11 tackles in what might’ve been his best game as a Gator.

Harris accounted for UF’s lone touchdown on a fumbled Nyqwan Murray punt return that he scooped and scored in the fourth quarter.

A few drives later, Harris wreaked havoc again, this time on defense. Down 24-13, the redshirt junior lowered his shoulder on a scrambling Francois, forcing what could’ve been a game-changing fumble if not for UF’s woeful offense.

“The guy’s a good player,” UF coach Jim McElwain said. “He plays his tail off and cares. We have a lot of those guys.”

Two other bright spots in the somber loss were cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson. The pair of defensive backs, both likely first round picks in

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