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Three Now Atop Florida D1AA

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Three Now Atop Florida D1AA

Florida mounted a huge comeback to beat South Florida. Photo Connor Brady.

Three teams are now unbeaten and atop the Florida D1AA Conference, as Florida, Florida State, and upstarts St. Thomas all won.

For the Florida Gators it was a close-run thing as South Florida scored early and added another to make it 10-0 before the Gators got going. USF still led just after halftime, 17-7 and around 50 minutes, after Isaiah Taylor's try, it was 22-7.

But the comeback started after that. the two teams traded tries, to make it 29-12 with a bit over 20 minutes left.

Florida No. 8 Louis Bollaerts then scored and Justo Olivero's conversion made it 29-19. The pressure kept coming and Florida got a penalty try with about five minutes left to inch closer at 29-26.

Then, with time essentially up on the clock, flanker Andre Mortensen went over. Olivero converted but the point was moot; Florida had the win 33-29.

Head Coach ken Simmons praised Olivero's clutch goalkicking and the never-quit leadership of Ryan Duffy (who was going over to score when the penalty try was called), captain Louis Bollaerts, and Brian Stock.

"Those three stepped up to lead the team to never quit," said Simons. "We made adjustments in defensive lineouts at halftime that helped disrupt some of USF's lineouts. But also the fresh legs at the right time helped keep the fight alive. Overall we're not happy with our performance against a very good USF team, but very proud that we never quit." 

Florida State's win over FIU is officially listed as a forfeit as FIU struggles with numbers. They are playing their games, but the games have so far been listed as forfeits.

And St. Thomas knew they would face a tough ask against Central Florida, and so their did. Tries from Adrian Suarez, Jahron McGee, Taonaishe Mapani, and Owen Phillips set them up for a 24-17 victory. Jarrett and Jackson Eldridge scored tries and Caleb Goertzen added eight points with the boot for UCF.

As a result we've got a logjam at the top (still early days) and what appears to be a chase for 4th and a place in the semis among four teams—yes, at 0-2 Central Florida is by no means out of it.

Unofficial Florida D1AA Standings

Florida State 3 0 0 128 34 94 3 0 15
Florida 3 0 0 96 55 41 3 0 15
St. Thomas 2 0 0 104 17 87 2 0 10
Eckerd 1 1 0 47 60 -13 1 0 5
North Florida 1 1 0 20 80 -60 1 0 5
South Florida 0 1 0 29 33 -4 1 1 2
Central Florida 0 2 0 31 57 -26 0 1 1
FAU 0 2 0 27 76 -49 0 1 1
FIU 0 3 0 0 60 -60 0 -3 -3