There still is time to salvage something from South Carolina’s football season.
But that time is running out.
The Gamecocks go to Florida Saturday, and all the momentum is rolling toward the Gators. Florida has won two in a row and may be in the process of saving Will Muschamp’s job. South Carolina has lost four straight SEC games and may be in the process of driving Steve Spurrier to retirement.
The tangible signs mostly point to the Gators, too. Florida’s newfound offensive strength, a power running game behind a freshman mobile quarterback, hits right at the Gamecocks weakest point. South Carolina is allowing 5.9 yards per carry, the worst total in the SEC, and has been mostly helpless against quarterbacks who can run.
The Gamecocks’ strong suit, a prolific offense which has posted a school-record four straight games with 500 or more yards of total offense (including a season-high 625 against Tennessee two weeks ago), will be facing the best defense it has seen all season. The Gators are fourth in the SEC in yards allowed (334 yards per game). Gators defensive lineman Dante Fowler will be a problem for South Carolina because Florida will move him around on the defensive line, which Missouri did with its athletic defensive ends on the way to holding the Gamecocks to 20 points.
Spurrier’s offense hasn’t scored more than 19 points in the three seasons Muschamp has been at Florida. The Gamecocks have won two of those three games because the defense held the Gators to 12 points in 2011 and 14 in 2013. No one expects this year’s South Carolina defense to hold Florida below 30, much less 20. The Gamecocks’ last three SEC opponents have averaged 44 points.
I picked the Gators to win 38-35 in our preview video that was filmed earlier this week. I’ve grown less confident in the Gamecocks since.
Florida 38, South Carolina 24
Around the SEC:
Nick Marshall will play in Sanford Stadium this weekend for the first time since being dismissed from Georgia’s team. After playing defensive back for the Bulldogs, he’s now one of the country’s most dangerous quarterbacks for Auburn.
Kentucky has beaten Tennessee once in 29 tries so calling it a rivalry is a bit of a stretch.The Wildcats are 1-5
since beating South Carolina, and that one win came against Louisiana-Monroe.