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College Roundup: Gators’ defense continues streak vs. Kentucky

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The streak lives on.

For 29 years, since the year that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen were born, from the year of the Challenger disaster, since Ronald Reagan was president, Florida has owned the Kentucky Wildcats.

Well, it happened again. The Gators beat the Kentucky Wildcats 14-9 in a much stronger night for the Florida defense than in last week’s game against East Carolina. The defensive line in particular, featuring Jon Bullard, stood out.

For Florida, Will Grier started at quarterback and went the entire way, throwing for 125 yards. After the game, however, coach Jim McElwain stopped short of saying that the job was Grier’s.

Kentucky’s Patrick Towles hit only eight of 24.

The Gators play Tennessee next week.

Miami 36, Nebraska 33: The Miami Hurricanes can feel good about their latest victory. They can feel good about being undefeated. They can feel good that they might slip into the Top 20 this week.

They can also feel good that they don’t feel horrible.

The Hurricanes beat Nebraska, 36-33, in overtime Saturday after blowing a 33-10 lead in the final period. But instead of feeling awful about what would have been a historic collapse that would have increased the heat on coach Al Golden, Miami can feel good that Michael Badgley kicked his fifth goal of the day to hold off the Cornhuskers.

UM went ahead 17-0, and they led 33-10 with 11:14 to play. But Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw for three touchdowns and two two-point conversations in the final 8:36 of the game to force overtime. Nebraska’s tying points came with 33 seconds to play.

The Hurricanes had other chances to score. Offensively, Miami was sharp. Quarterback Brad Kaaya threw for 379 yards and two scores. Running back Joe Yearby gained 125 yards rushing. Receiver Rashawn Scott caught nine passes for 151 yards.

For the Huskers, Armstrong threw for 309 yards.

UM plays at Cincinnati on Thursday night, Oct. 1.

Maryland 35, USF 17: So much for a new up-tempo offense.

The South Florida Bulls struggled to move the ball again Saturday in a 35-17 loss to Maryland, which was coming off a loss to Bowling Green. Bulls’ quarterback Quinton Flowers ran for 85 yards, but he passed for only 60 in his fourth start.

Opposing quarterback Chad Rowe, on the other hand, made his first start of the year a good one, throwing for 297 yards and four touchdowns in the victory. Rowe threw for scores of 70, 22, 12 and 1 yard in the win.

The Terps won despite losing three turnovers and committing 12 penalties.

“We gave up too many big plays on defense and on offense. When we had an opportunity to make a big play, we dropped the ball or had a penalty. I thought there were too many penalties that brought back some touchdowns for us,” head coach Willie Taggart said. “We just played sloppy football, undisciplined football – totally unexpected of our football team.”

The game turned in the minutes before and after the half. The Terps led 14-10 when they botched a pitchout, but Brandon Ross picked it up and ran it in  for the score. Then Maryland took the second half kickoff and scored again.

“We’ve just got a football team that’s gotta learn how to win,” Taggart said. “You can’t make those mistakes that we made if you’re trying to win those games.”

The Bulls play Memphis at home a week from Friday night.

Buffalo 33, FAU 15: Buffalo scored three defensive touchdowns and a safety to end any thoughts of FAU winning its first game of the season.

The Owls started Jason Driskel, who had the team off to a 9-0 lead. Driskel threw the ball 55 times and gained 385 yards. However, Buffalo ran back two fumbles and returned an interception to get plenty of points.

FAU gained 490 yards of offense, but it turned the ball over five times in the loss.

For the Owls, Jenson Stoshack and Kamrin Solomon each had 120 yards in receiving in the defeat. Buffalo scored 19 unanswered points in the third period to overcome a 9-7 deficit.

FIU 39, N.C. Central 14: Alex McGough threw for three touchdowns to lead FIU to an easy victory over N.C. Central. He finished with 319 yards of total offense.

FIU gained a total of 490 yards and limited Central to 38 yards rushing. FIU plays at Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

Furman 16, UCF 15: Three games in, and it seems official. This season is a disappointment for the Central Florida Knights.

UCF fell to FBS opponent Furman, the first FBS team the Knights have lost to since leaving the FBS itself. Three games into the season, and the Knights have lost to FIU, Stanford and now Furman.

John Hollingsworth kicked a 55-yard field goal for Furman’s winning points.

FSU 14, Boston College 0 (Friday): For most of the off-season, most of the talk around FSU centered around quarterback Everett Golson. The rest of it went to running back Dalvin Cook.

As it turns out, the FSU Seminoles also have a defense, however, one that made just a few points stand up in a 14-0 victory over Boston College Friday night.

FSU held the Eagles to 139 yards rushing and 15 yards passing in the shutout, The Seminoles’ last shutout on the road had been in 2003 vs. Notre Dame. The last shutout was a 63-0 win over Maryland in the championship season of 2013.

Quarterback Golson was five-for-five on an 83-yard drive to start the game, but that was all the vaulted FSU offense could muster. Golson finished with only 116 yards through the air, and running back Cook was held to 54 yards on 15 carries.

Instead, Jalen Ramsey and Antonio Smith led a fierce FSU defense that kept Boston College out of the end zone. Ramsey picked up a fumble forced by Smith and ran it in 24 yards for a score in the fourth quarter to make the margin a bit more comfortable.

FSU has a bye week next week, then travels to Wake Forest to play.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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