Josh Kendall

South Carolina on a roll headed into most interesting game of year

Game preview: Storylines aplenty as Gamecocks face Florida

The State's Josh Kendall and David Cloninger preview and predict the Gamecocks' game against Florida, set to being at noon Saturday in Gainesville.
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The State's Josh Kendall and David Cloninger preview and predict the Gamecocks' game against Florida, set to being at noon Saturday in Gainesville.

This is what momentum feels like.

It has been a while for South Carolina’s football team, which is on its first three-game winning streak since September of 2014. The Gamecocks are being lauded locally and nationally as they head into Saturday’s game against Florida.

If that didn’t make the game interesting enough, how about this laundry list of subplots: South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp heading back to the place where he was fired two years ago; former Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier on the other sideline as a consultant for the Gators; Florida replacing injured starting quarterback Luke Del Rio, and both teams still being in the SEC East race.

All eyes Saturday will be on Muschamp, who says he’s a better coach now than when he was asked to leave Gainesville.

“I’d equate it to being a freshman player. That first year, it’s moving really fast and you’re kind of learning on the run a little bit in some situations,” he said. “The second year, it slows down a little bit, third year, it slows down a little bit. Now in my fifth year, anticipation of when things happen, all of those things, you’re able to dissect and have a little better anticipation of situations that occur within your team, within your staff, within recruiting or whatever the case may be. The more experience, the more at-bats you have, the better you’re going to be, if you’re willing to learn from your experiences, and I’m certainly willing to do so.”

Florida fans aren’t thrilled at the moment with Muschamp’s replacement, Jim McElwain, who is not recruiting at the Gators standards and not scoring many points at the moment. If the Gamecocks win this game, Muschamp is going to look a lot better than McElwain to a lot of Florida fans, but that’s a lot to ask for a team that hasn’t been at its best on the road this year.

Florida 24, South Carolina 21

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