Survive and advance.
That is the slogan for the defending national champion Florida Gators.
Style points don't matter, just winning so they can go into the SEC championship game against Alabama with a chance to play for their third title in four years.
That is how Florida's players summed up their outlook after South Carolina bowed to the top-ranked Gators 24-14 Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
"That is the great thing about winning, the 'W' doesn't get bigger by how many points you score or how big the win was, and that is huge for us," Florida quarterback Tim Tebow said. "We have a team full of character and we fight to the end. It's not always pretty but we fight to the end."
Everything has worked well enough for the Gators to win 20 games in a row and become the 11th team in the SEC history to go unbeaten in league play. They have won 19 times by double digits and have won 14 SEC games in a row, which is tied for sixth in SEC history. Tennessee is the last team to go unbeaten in the SEC, in 1998.
Florida coach Urban Meyer likes the way the script has played out.
"Find a way to win that game as opposed to find a way not to win the game," Meyer said.
Last year, Florida won games going away, including a 50-point margin against USC.
This time, the Gators were handed great field position all day but could not capitalize until Justin Trattou intercepted a Stephen Garcia pass and returned it 54 yards to the South Carolina 26-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Four plays later, Tebow tied the SEC record for career touchdowns with a 1-yard plunge and a two-possession lead.
"I don't care if we win by one point," Florida receiver Riley Cooper said. "We are a different style team this year. We're a tough team and we wear other teams down."
The Gators started drives at the 50, their 40 and the South Carolina 49 and 37-yard lines and came away with no points. The final three times came in the third quarter and resulted in a punt, a missed 54-yard field goal and Tebow being stopped on a fourth-and-1 from the USC 28.
The average starting field position for Florida was its 47-yard line while South Carolina started on average at their 23-yard line.
"We knew we should have put some of those in there instead of missing field goals," Tebow said. "But there was no panic, there was no frustration. Give us the ball again and we'll go put it in."
Meyer was content to play the field-position battle.
"We played field position football," Meyer said. "We did not play perfect. Obviously, I'm not sure we've played perfect in quite a while but that's 20 in a row and I'm awful proud of those guys."