Florida secondary stands out in loss to Seminoles – Florida Times-Union
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