David Cloninger

USC vs. Florida: 5 gameday storylines, 5 key numbers

1. SO MANY STORIES

The Gamecocks are still in contention for the East. Will Muschamp taking the team that got him fired to the place where he was fired. USC’s freshmen saving the season while Florida’s don’t appear to be. Steve Spurrier on the sideline.

2. RUN, RUN, RICO

Rico Dowdle has punished Tennessee and Missouri the last two weeks, but those teams had bad rushing defenses. Florida has the No. 4 rushing defense in the SEC, although it has allowed three 100-yard rushers this season, including Rawleigh Williams last week.

3. JAKE AND STEVE

Comparing Jake Bentley to Steve Taneyhill in 1992 has been the popular topic, but Taneyhill couldn’t win in The Swamp that year. If Bentley does it and keeps the Gamecocks in contention for the East, does that give him points on the T Scale or does it still come down to Clemson?

4. THE NEW BLOOD

The Gamecocks may have had a great plan to attack Florida’s key players – such as quarterback Luke Del Rio – and had to scrap it and start over when Del Rio was hurt last week. How much will USC try to switch things on defense with Austin Appleby under center, or on offense with two starting Gator defenders out?

5. BEASTS OF THE EAST

Yes, USC would need a miracle equivalent of Jethro Tull winning a Best Hard Rock/Metal Grammy to win the SEC East, but that chance is still there. The only thing the Gamecocks can control is beating Florida but if they do that and get all the help they need, is there any doubt Will Muschamp is SEC Coach of the Year?

FIVE KEY NUMBERS

1

South Carolina wins needed for bowl eligibility. It would be just the 21st bowl game in program history.

4

Florida starters lost to injury in last week’s 31-10 loss to Arkansas.

9

Punts or interceptions among the Gators’ 13 possessions last week.

127, 149

Rushing yardage by USC’s Rico Dowdle in his last two games.

120.2

Rushing yards allowed by Florida’s defense this year, the fourth-best total in the SEC.

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