Here’s ESPN’s take on Florida’s quarterback battle

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For the second week in a row, starting Gators quarterback Emory Jones struggled against an inferior opponent. He threw two interceptions for the second week in a row, and he was outshined by his backup, redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson.

Richardson has been a force in the first two games, and against South Florida, he tossed for 152 yards and two touchdowns going a perfect 3-for-3 through the air. He also totaled 115 yards and a score on the ground, which came when he broke an 80-yard run. That run also ended his day as he left the field with an apparent hamstring injury.

Still, if he’s healthy moving forward, Richardson’s play has called Jones’ status as the starter into question. Here’s what ESPN’s Alex Scarborough said about the emerging battle in Gainesville.

Emory Jones waited three years to be Florida’s starter, and at times he has played OK, especially running the football. But in terms of passing, he has been inconsistent with two interceptions in each of the past two games.

Then there’s the freshman, Anthony Richardson, who hasn’t been asked to do nearly as much in terms of running the offense but nonetheless keeps making big plays. He did it against FAU in the season opener, rushing for 160 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. And he did it this past weekend against USF, throwing touchdowns on each of his first two pass attempts, followed by an 80-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Coach Dan Mullen said Richardson “doesn’t always do the right thing, but he does special things,” which explains why he continues to stand by Jones publicly. Regardless, there’s going to be an interesting dynamic moving forward, both in terms of the division of labor and what opposing defenses have to do to prepare for both players. If anything, it gives Nick Saban and No. 1 Alabama a lot to consider heading into Saturday.

Gators fans await Richardson’s status for the Alabama game on pins and needles, but Mullen has affirmed that even if he’s healthy, Jones will be the starter. But Jones has struggled against Group of Five teams, and if he has similar struggles against the mighty Crimson Tide, Florida will have no choice but to look for a spark elsewhere to keep the game competitive.

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