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College Roundup: Florida’s Will Grier stars on fourth down

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Call him Mr. Fourth down.

Will Grier went from a resort freshman quarterback to a piece of lore Saturday afternoon, leading the Florida Gators to a dramatic comeback over the Tennessee Vols.

Florida, behind 20-7 at one point, roared back to beat the Vols, 21-20, in the first significant victory of the Jim McElwain era Saturday. In the win, Grier went from a quarterback who hadn’t quite satisfied his head coach to a player to content with. He picked up five fourth-down situations, the last of them a 63-yarder to freshman Joshua Callaway on fourth-and-14.

For the game, Grier hit 23 of 42 for 283 yards and two scores.

Florida got 102 yards rushing from Kelvin Taylor and a 112 from Callaway in the victory.

Tennessee took a big lead behind the play of quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who rushed for 132 yards and caught a 58-yard touchdown pass on a throwback from Jauan Jenkins.

FSU missed a 55-yard field goal as time ran out. It was the Vols’ second fourth quarterback blown lead of the year. Teams in college football are 188-3 when leading by 13 or more in the fourth quarter this year; two of the losses belong to Tennessee.

The Gators increased their winning streak to 11 straight games in the series.

South Carolina 31, UCF 14: Despite the last-ranked offense in the country coming in, UCF actually held a 14-8 lead at halftime before falling to the Gamecocks.

The Knights fell to Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks, however, as freshman quarterback Lorenzo Nunez ran for 123 yards and threw for 184 and two touchdowns as the Gamecocks outscored UCF 23-0 over the second half.

UCF got 189 yards passing from freshman Bo Schneider, but they ran 23 times for only 26 yards to fall to 0-4 on the season. The Knights haven’t started a season 0-4 since George O’Leary went 0-11 in his first season.

UCF plays at Tulane next week.

Louisiana Tech 27, FIU 17: A rushing advantage of more than 200 yards led Tech to a victory over Florida Atlantic Saturday.

Although the Panthers had a slight lead in the yards through the air, Tech out-rushed FIU by 246-45. The Panthers’ Alex McGough threw for 263 yards and two scores.

But Tech was able to run the ball all day, which FIU was not, including a 63-yard run by Kenneth Dixon, who gained 169 yards on the day. Jeff Driskel, the transfer from Florida, threw for 226 yards.

FIU plays against UMass next week.

FAU 17, Charlotte 7: FAU overcame five of its own turnovers to hold off the 49ers for their first victory of the season.

It was the third straight week the Owls have committed five turnovers in a game, but this time, the defense held off Charlotte to make sure it won the game.

Jaquez Johnson returned for FAU and threw for 144 yards. The FAU defense held Charlotte to only eight completions of 31 passes. Charlotte was led by Kalif Phillips, who had 165 yards rushing.

FAU plays against Rice a week from Saturday.

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 [email protected]

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