It was a wacky weekend in Florida, with numerous double headers being played and some of the biggest programs in the state falling to what have been traditionally weaker teams.
Florida State mixed its A and B sides on the weekend, with one group playing Spring Hill College and the other taking on South Alabama. The Seminoles are transitioning from 7s to 15s, but are also coming off an appearance in the DI-AA 15s national quarterfinals in the spring, so when they lost to Spring Hill and narrowly beat South Alabama, it came as a surprise.
Florida State is not playing much 15s this semester, and opted out of the Florida Cup, the all-collegiate friendly 15s competition held each fall.
Elsewhere, at the All Florida competition in Tavares, Fla., Central Florida knocked off Florida 47-7. It was the first time in at least five years that the Golden Knights have beaten the Gators, and only the second time in that span that a college team from the state of Florida has done so.
“We went into the game a little bit nervous. We were missing our starting prop, our starting hooker, starting fullback, starting wing and starting lock and we were kind of nervous with all the subs in there,” said UCF’s Jason Ross. “But, I’m telling you, everybody we put in there to sub in, they played their heart out and they played 110-percent. It was really an impressive performance from our team.”
Leading from the front for the Golden Knights was captain and No. 8 Gerhard Veit.
“He was possessed on Saturday. He played his heart out, running hard, tackling well,” said Ross. “He was everywhere in the backline and in the forwards. When the scrumhalf couldn’t get to the ball, he spun it out and kept it moving to keep Florida on its heels. He did everything.”
The loss was Florida’s first 15s game of the season, while UCF had been playing for a couple of weeks in the Florida Cup. But, said UF coach Ken Simmons, it was Florida’s true A side. He added that his team still seemed to be in 7s mode, running sideways, passing recklessly and not attacking on defense. The Gators also blooded seven new A-side players on the weekend.
Florida rebounded Sunday with a 58-10 defeat of Florida Atlantic, who draws UCF Saturday in Florida Cup play. UF is back in action against North Florida.