Eric Norwood. The SEC sack leader had two more against the Gators, giving him nine for the season. The junior also recovered a fumble and returned it 28 yards before being dragged down by quarterback Tim Tebow.
Spencer Lanning. Lanning had a busy night, averaging 40 yards on a season-high 10 punts. He got off his punts quickly against a Florida team that had two blocks the previous week at Vanderbilt.
What went right
Nobody was seriously injured for the Gamecocks, who have stayed mostly healthy through the first 11 games of the season. ... The defense played well early, forcing a fumble and a punt on the Gators’ first two offensive possessions. ... Kenny McKinley moved up three spots on the SEC’s all-time receptions list. McKinley’s six catches give him 194 for his career, tied for seventh with Alabama’s D.J. Hall and Kentucky’s Anthony White.
What went wrong
Where to start? Despite throwing nearly every play after the first quarter, the Gamecocks managed 120 passing yards, the fewest in Steve Spurrier’s four seasons. ... USC’s four turnovers resulted in 28 points; the Gamecocks had allowed 27 points off turnovers in their first 10 games. ... USC trailed 21-0 with 2:22 left in the first quarter despite having given up 81 yards.
USC fell from first to fourth in the SEC in total defense. After giving up 519 yards, the Gamecocks’ average jumped from 256 yards allowed per game to 280. The Gamecocks are ninth nationally.
The open date comes at a good time for the Gamecocks’ secondary. Three players are hurting: cornerbacks Carlos Thomas (knee sprain) and Captain Munnerlyn (turf toe) and safety Akeem Auguste (hamstring), who did not play against Florida. Spurrier is hopeful all three will be ready for Clemson.
The 50-point loss to Florida did not damage the Gamecocks’ bowl outlook too much, thanks to Kentucky’s 31-24 loss to Vanderbilt. The Wildcats (6-5, 2-5 SEC) and USC (7-4, 4-4) appear to be the front-runners for the Outback and Chick-fil-A bowls. Kentucky, which has lost five of seven games since a 4-0 start against nonconference opponents, is off this week before traveling to Tennessee on Nov. 29.
The Gamecocks’ stint in the national rankings was brief. USC, which was ranked 24th in the media poll and 23rd in the coaches’ poll last week, received a handful of votes in each this week. USC has had two one-week appearances in the polls this year: The Gamecocks were 24th after beating N.C. State before falling out following their loss at Vanderbilt.
Florida’s Percy Harvin, who rushed for a career-high 167 yards on eight carries against USC, had touchdown runs of 26 and 80 yards — both on counter plays. “The coaches noticed the counter was effective all day,” Harvin said.
The Gamecocks have an open date before the Nov. 29 game at Clemson. USC has lost nine of the past 11 meetings with its instate rival.
— Joseph Person