Gators reach new low, fall 17-12 to Gamecocks

By Adam Silverstein
November 12, 2011

An ugly season got even uglier for the Florida Gators (5-5, 3-5 SEC) on Saturday as the team fell to 0-5 against ranked opponents in 2011 after losing 17-12 to the No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks (8-2, 6-2 SEC) on the road in a rivalry game at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC.

The Gators finished the Southeastern Conference with a sub-.500 record for the first time since 1986 and are 0-9 against ranked opponents dating back to 2010. The Gamecocks, on the other hand, reached six victories in SEC play for the first time since joining the conference in 1992.

Quarterback Connor Shaw only threw the ball 12 times on Saturday but led the way for South Carolina offensively. He completed six passes for 81 yards and threw an interception but also carried the rock 16 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns.

[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of the Florida-South Carolina game story.]Florida held USC playmaking wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey to 17 yards on two receptions but was soft against the run, allowing running back Brandon Wilds to exploit them all game to the tune of 120 yards on 29 carries.

Gators redshirt senior QB John Brantley was sacked and fumbled the ball on the second play of the game, but UF’s defense held the Gamecocks.

Two possessions later after an interception by freshman safety De’Ante Saunders, three-straight runs including a 19-yard scamper by redshirt senior RB Chris Rainey took Florida down to South Carolina’s two-yard-line.

The Gators lost five yards before redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturgis connected on a 21-yard field goal for the first points of the game.

USC answered immediately with a drive of their own but missed a 40-yard field goal. They scored on their next possession, running the ball nine times on an 11-play drive ending with Shaw’s first touchdown of the afternoon.

The Gamecocks tacked on another touchdown just a few minutes later after recovering a fumble from Florida senior RB Jeff Demps on UF’s 46-yard-line. South Carolina ran the ball 10 consecutive times until Shaw dove into the end zone for his second score, giving USC an 11-point lead at the break.

The Gators once again stalled inside the five-yard-line on their first possession of the second half. After Florida drove the ball 59 yards, a false start by junior tackle Xavier Nixon on 3rd and 2 pushed UF back and resulted in Sturgis eventually hitting a 24-yard field goal to make it a one-possession game.

Taking over again with 12:14 left in the contest, the Gators handed the rock to Rainey, who ran 47 yards down the field before being caught from behind at the Gamecocks’ two-yard-line. Freshman QB Jacoby Brissett entered to run the offense from under center and pushed forward for the touchdown before being forced into an interception on the two-point conversion attempt.

South Carolina responded quickly as Shaw connected on a 46-yard pass to WR Ace Sanders, but Florida’s defense held and forced a 28-yard field goal.

The Gators failed to move the ball much on their next possession, punting to the Gamecocks, which ran the clock down before handing the ball back to UF deep in their own territory with just 42 seconds remaining.

Brantley finished 13/21 for 119 yards, and Rainey led Florida with 17 carries for 132 yards. Redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed was the Gators’ leading pass catcher with five receptions for 62 yards.

Florida will return home to face Furman on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a game that will air live on pay-per-view. A victory will make the Gators bowl eligible heading into their regular season-ending rivalry game with Florida State on Nov. 26.

Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka[/EXPAND]

38 Comments

  1. John S says:

    I’ve grown tired of the line of scrimmage league talk. Our defenses coaches obviously disagree given how we line up in obviously running situations. When we finally committed to stopping the run in the second half we had some success only to go back to the soft defense in Georgia’s last possession. Allowing 215 yards of rushing… from a team missing the best back in the country. There is no value in having multiple defensive formations if you can’t pick the right one. Muschamp get your defensive house in order.

  2. Aligator says:

    we are just a very immature and undisciplined team. i do not see how we are going to be that improves next year?
    we will finish 6-6 and i pray to god we do not lose a bowl game …

  3. Ryan says:

    This one is on the coaches. Make a freaking adjustment! Have you watched any film on Connor Shaw? The kids can’t throw yet you wait till we are down 11 to stack the box.

    • GG says:

      Starting to wonder about coaching also. Brissett comes in (should have taken over in the second quarter) and gives us a spark, then Brantley hobbles back in next series. The future is now, JBrantley has had his chance, now its JBrissett turn, think this guy can bring it.
      Sad to say, this group is the biggest bunch of underachievers I have seen in a long time.

  4. Ken (CA) says:

    Thank goodness we havve a really exciting basketball team this year, because contrary to my initial hopes, this football team is positively putrid. Can’t wrap up, hit them 2 yds behind the line and they get 5-7 yd gains. Neither line is even remotely effective, max protection still hammered Brantley. The coaching has been positively horrendous, especially on the defensive side. Empty backfield on 3rd down even I could see the Conner Shaw draw coming but nope, lets line up soft and give them a 20 yd gain. It was clear they were going to do nothing but run it the entire 4th quarter and burn the clock, and our defense didn’t seem to anticipate that at all bringing few up to stop it. The amazing thing is they always talk about how great our speed is, yet how often are our backs getting tripped up from behind and how many opponent QBs are flushed in the pocket and can’t ever seem to be caught. The only bright spot the last 2 weeks is we cut down on penalties, although the penalties we did have couldn’t have come at worse times.

    • g8ter27 says:

      Thinking the same thing today about the speed. Keep hearing how fast Rainey and Demps are yet they keep getting caught from behind and with regards to Rainey, that has been the case his entire time at UF. Those two might be the fastest guys that play football, but they are not the fastest football players once they strap the pads on and carry a ball. Hell, Oregon has at least 3 players that are faster on the field. I know we are young, I know this is Will’s first year, but taking all that into consideration we still look like crap!

      • CeeThree says:

        blaming Rainey for getting caught by Gilmore, who had an angle and ran less in total during that play, on a run that set up our only TD is bogus, misguided frustration imo. However I’m all on board with blaming the coaches, and the coach I put most if not all the blame on is Charlie Weis. His offenses weren’t that great at Notre Dame, especially when you factor in the competition, and I’m not jumping off a bandwagon, I was never on the Weis one.

        His quote in the preseason was “too many playcallers wait until halftime to make the adjustments, if a gameplan isn’t working, I scrap it right away, and go to something else, I don’t wait for halftime.”

        clearly he was blowing smoke because I’ve seen a single adjustment the past month and a half, and that was the pistol.

        Brantley can’t move, he’s a senior, there’s no upside to playing him, it’s over, it didn’t work out, yes he showed toughness, yes he made some decent throws at times this season, but it’s time to move on, he got his shot, feel bad for him, but let’s go, if his last name were different he’d have been run off over a year ago.

        Put Brisset under center, have him be the starter, give Driskel a package with zone reads like the one Trey has, let Jeff run in it, then he can throw off it to keep the D off balance.. put them in a position to do what they do best. Instead we’re banging our head against the wall doing the same crap over and over and over. I feel like Weis is just so dead-set on his system being “pro-style” he refuses to let the QB run. Michigan adjusted for Denard, you have to if you want to win. Let Jacoby and Jeff play to their strengths, gain some experience, and I’d bet $ we’d win out.

  5. ballengator says:

    I was very hopeful when first reading about the Muschamp/Weiss hiring. Couldn’t be more disappointed. Muschamp looks lost (especially coming off the field yesterday) and Weiss has nothing unique or an ability to insert plays or players in the right place. The Gators need a strong, offensive minded head coach and a tough d-coordinator as an assistant. I hope I am wrong but I see one to two more years of our teams wondering in a wasteland until a change is made.

  6. wingtee says:

    Gio. he makes sense

  7. Brett says:

    I can only hope our defense ends up like the 07 defense growing up in 08. This season shows these young kids you have to work hard and want it

  8. Mark says:

    The worst Florida team of my lifetime. I have really tried to lay off Muschamp and give him time even though this team has been coached very poorly.
    Well he has one more year for me to prove he can handle this job. If there isn’t significant improvement next year I will be calling for his head.

  9. aziatic41 says:

    I don’t know were to start. I commented on this board here during the 1st half of the game yesterday as soon as we got down 7-3. Connor Shaw is not a good quarterback. But I knew if he started against us instead of the third string guy for SC he would cause us problems with his aggressiveness and will to run in passing situations. And guys, I’m here to tell you that we made Shaw look like Micheal Vick yesterday. I’ve never seen a Steve Spurrier quarterback run as much as he did on us yesterday. Whats so upsetting is most of his runs were very predicatable and we still were unable to stop it.

    We have no pass rushing defense ends or ends that contain the outside nor do we have a front that can push the pocket like other SEC teams. And again our 3rd and 4th down defense is pathetic! We have to be ranked dead last in the FBS in 3rd and 4th down defensive stops; as well as last in 3rd and 4th conversions on offense.

    We’ll beat Furman and barely make a bowl game at 6-6 and I hate to say this but we are probably going to get crushed by a FSU. Our coaching staff has underachieved just as much as our players have. Muschamp bringing in the NFL coaches seem to be a mistake thus far. The coaching style in the NFL is way different in college. In college you are coaching kids not grown men, and that requires different teaching and motivational strategies. Our players have not responded to any adversity this year. When they get down they have quit in most situations the entire year, and falls on the coaches

    As far as us being stronger next year, I really don’t see any evidence of that. Brissett and Driskel will provide us with more athleticism and playmaking ability at the qb position but we have no wrs who can stretch the field. Also Im not convinved we’ll have the personel to run the prostyle offense either.

    What I do know is we need to recruit some studs to make up for the horrible overrated 2010 and 2011 classes Urban Meyer brought in

  10. alex says:

    FSU will beat us by 20+

    This team is bad, plain and simple. All those 5 stars don’t mean a thing.

    Nixon = terrible

    O.Hunter = terrible

    R. Powell = number 1 DE? I don’t think so

    Debose = that injury ruined his career, he can no longer cut, only straight speed

    Rainey = is a fumble waiting to happen but is are only threat

    Floyd = playing DE and it is painfully obvious that he is not a DE (not his fault, coaches set him up for failure)

    Patchan = Injuries ruined his career, no longer a 5-star prospect

    J. Wison = Injuries ruined his career

    D.Thompson = has been here 5 years, the most over-rated WR ever,

    Mack Brown = Will never play a meaningful snap at UF

    I could go on, and on and dont forget all the 5-star transfers (Gary Brown, John Brown, Chris Martin, Chris Dunkley, Johnathan Dowling etc)

    All these 5-star recruits from these herald recruiting classes; this goes to show you how meaningless Scout, Rivals, 24/7, ESPN is…There talent on this team is bone this. Besides Easley, Elam and maybe Jelani Jenkins there is no real talent on this team, we are now running on Vandy/Kentucky talent. Frankie Hammond JR, S. Paton, Q. Dunbar are not UF talent, bottom line.

    If you think this year is bad wait until next year, there will be anywhere from 4-6 more transfers coming soon.

  11. HardToKillGator says:

    Man! There is plenty of blame to go around. My wife claims it’s partially my fault. And, Adam, I know some part of our Gators poor play is on you too.

  12. Aligator says:

    well look at it this way, in two years muschamp may be coaching UTEP, but he will still be a head coach. Big programs go after up and coming head coaches, not great coordinators. I can see us getting Mullen or Malzahn or something only after they have razzle dazzled at another school. Foley really stuck his neck out on this one. yes they are young, but jesus they look lost … how do you not make adjustments??

  13. G8trpls says:

    The thing that bothers me the most is, there is no improvement week to week or half to half. This team plays uninspired football every week. John Brantley is a below average QB and he always has been. Please let Driskel or Brissett play for the sake of the future.

  14. G8trpls says:

    “I see a lot of improvement regardless of the results,” Muschamp said. “Everybody wants results and I do too. It’s about winning and I understand that. In the big picture of things, we’ve made tremendous improvement.”

    Coach Will Muschamp after yesterdays game. One word comes to mind, actually it’s two…..B.S.

  15. Rory says:

    Really y’all… All types of weather or did y’all forget!!! Everybody wants to jump on the we are terrible, poorly coached, inconsistent band wagon.. It takes more than one season y’all. But you know with your pedigrees in coaching I’m sure Foleys got y’all next in mind for the gig.
    Take a chill pill people did you really expect 9-3… If so I want some of what ever your smoking… Actually I’ll just call Janoris!!! The sky isn’t fallin and I’m sure these kids as well as our coaches don’t like losing. It takes more than a year to transition, and for all those this team did it that team did it, those were good teams.
    We were average at best last year and unfortuneatley we are the same or just a little less this year. Take a step back from the cliff and have hope!! If it doesn’t work so be it, but I like the fire and the future is bright!!! In all sorts of weather we Gators stick together!!! Go Gators

    • Aligator says:

      I for one am not being fickle, only expressing frustrations on this blog. I am a graduate and will root for the Gators first and foremost. While I did not expect 9-3, I also did not expect 6-6 and that is where are likely going to land. This is far worse that Zook did when he got here. You can blame it on the rain or whatever …. but this is far from what we all have grown to expect, even in transition. When Addozio was the head coach last year, they were not this bad.

    • uf_84 says:

      You keep telling yourself that and drinking the cool aid if it makes you feel better Bro. I didn’t expect any championships this year either, but this team should not be this bad and has shown zero improvement as the year has gone on. It becomes more and more obvious each week we bought ourselves a lemon. Muschamp is even making me long for the Zook years at this point. I’ll bet everyone in Austin Texas are exhaling a huge sigh of relief right about now for us hiring this guy away from them.

  16. Eli says:

    Jesus Christ people. I know this season has been disappointing and the team is absolutely putrid but let’s not jump ship. First off, blowing off steam on a message board isn’t going to do anything. I seriously doubt anyone here is a booster or anything of that nature, so the words of discouragement are going to waste. And it seems like we have a lot of coaching geniuses in here, because every single game there is criticism for the staff.

    Granted, there have been some very puzzling moves. Where was a QB spy for Shaw yesterday? Why could we not come up with a blocking scheme to keep Brantley upright? What the hell is the concept behind our RZ offense? But come on. Muschamp has a lot of overrated Urban recruits. Rainey/Demps are lost causes, our offensive line is absolute garbage, and we have receivers who think the football is on fire.

    But can we not abandon ship? How spoiled are we that two mediocre seasons in a row have us questioning to direction of the program? Anyone could have seen a 6-6/7-5 season coming. Muschamp simply does not have the personnel he wants. Give the man a year or two more and stop bitching.

  17. everybody relax says:

    Is this a dissapointing season? Absolutely. But think about it we have been in every game this yr except against the 2 best teams in the country. Our starting qb has been hurt all yr and we have 2 true freshman as backups playing in a system that our coaches didnt recruit for. Brissett and driskell cant even call in the plays right now for weis offense. Our defense is young and will only get better. You will not find more experienced coaches than quinn and weiss and muschamp has worked w some of the best in college football. These guys know more about football than you or i they arent idiots. Give it time. You cant recruit better than we have the last 2 yrs and our lack of depth at rb and receiver will only help us in recruiting because kids know they can come and play now. Give it some time. Mark my words fsu will not blow us out.

  18. Aligator says:

    Blowing off steam is not like jumping ship, people want to vent and they have a right too, that is one of the reasons Adam set this up. That said, it is disappointing to see where things are. That being said, hopefully they will get batter. If they don’t in a couple of years, I am sure Foley will fix it. I mean, it is not like our lives depend on these college kids winning national championships for us each year?? How shallow is that?

  19. John S says:

    I’m not jumping ship, and I don’t think anyone else on here is going anywhere either. You should be grateful that people are still passionate, because the other alternative is apathy, if that happens our program will truly tank. We’ll finish 6 and 6 not because we’re mediocre, but because we scheduled FAU, UAB, and Furman. If that doesn’t make your skin crawl I don’t know what will. It was Muschamp’s decision to blow up the offense and start over. Given the success Meyer had, I hardly think his offense held us back and was the true problem with this team, youth and entitlement was. We’re installing a more pro offense while the rest of the county and the NFL move to variations of the spread. QB’s are under center less than half the time.

    Muchamp’s decision to completely overhaul this team would be like telling Manning, Brees, Brady or Rodgers to run the option. It was arrogant. Meyer was smart enough to keep the defense the same while we transitioned the offense, Muchamp lacked that sense. This program was not broken when he took over. Hopefully next year with new players things we’ll start to come together, but make no mistake we are purely in rebuilding mode till at least 2013. I’m guessing we’ll be something like this year’s UT team for 2012.

  20. Joe says:

    Well at least Nixon and Easley kept their “I’m gonna get a really stupid penalty at the worst possible time in every game this year” streak alive.

  21. aziatic41 says:

    FSU is going to demolish us. As far as rebuilding, hopefully with the graduation of Brantley it will give our team a fresh start and a new look. The John Brantley era has arguably been one of the worst in the the last two decades at UF. It sucks to watch a quarterback that is so unathletic and scary play every Sunday for us. At times Brantley reminds me of an ordinary guy from a college student body or tailgating party playing qb for us. These last two years have with him at the helm has been horrific.

    I think if Muschamp doesn’t get our team to at least an 8 win and a UGA or SC win next year we may need to get rid of him. Maybe Malzahn or Mullen would be a better fit for us. Hell I’d even welcome a re-energized Urban Meyer back. I wanna see 2007-2008-2009 Gator Football. Not this struggling to score 10 points and terrible defense-getting shredded crap

  22. J-rod says:

    IN the article above the game recap of the fourth quarter says “The Gators failed to move the ball much on their next possession, punting to the Gamecocks,” talking about our drive mid fourth quarter. I believe on that drive we went run for 10yds, run for 9 yds and run for 4 yds. All with Rainey. After he ran for four yds and the second first down of the drive he layed on the ground with arms sprawled out dead tired until a lineman picked him up. Next play Rainey goes the wrong way and Brantley losses six yards. Drive killer because there was another huge hole and we try to throw the ball the next two plays and end up punting into the endzone. With all the other running backs on the team the coaches couldn’t sub them in for one play and give rainey a breather. Can’t blame that one on depth chart because there are plenty of backs in the stable to give a one play breather for Rainey.

    • g8ter27 says:

      J-rod, yet another retarded thing we do that you reminded me about. Exactly, Rainey is clearly out of gas and has run the ball 3 times in a row and what do we do? give it to him again. And that is not the first time we have done that. In the LSU game our back comes up stumbling like he just had his bell rung and barely can walk to the huddle so we of course do what any great coach would do and give him the ball again on the next play, which he is thrown for a 6 yard loss.

  23. ceif says:

    Well at least Nixon and Easley kept their “I’m gonna get a really stupid penalty at the worst possible time in every game this year” streak alive.

  24. ulysses1221 says:

    Bro I’m hurting about the loses swell, but let’s come the F down. Give muschamp and this players another year. If u were expecting this season to be like others u are crazy. Just check this fact out… Nick Sabah in his first year at Alabama went 7-6. Enough said

  25. Joe says:

    We have 8 qb’s on the roster and a 60% Brantley is the best we got. While I don’t agree with Saban and Miles on alot of things, I agree that you can’t allow unproductive players on your roster and if they aren’t cutting it, then cut them.

  26. aziatic41 says:

    @ulysses1221, True Nick Saban went 7-6 his first year but he didn’t get demolished like we have this year. Its the way we are losing our games. We are losing games in brutal fashion. Losing to UGA on two “4th down touchdown plays”, losing to Auburn who are horrific offensively and giving up a 3rd down and 22 conversion play in the 4th quarter, getting blown completely out the water by Auburn and LSU, and losing to a SC team without their best player and original starting quarterback.

    Our losses have been brutal and very sour this year. Yes, true we should give Muschamp time but we shouldn’t be losing winnable games and losing badly the way we have this season

    • Point of order – Saban lost to Louisiana-Monroe that year.

      • Will says:

        Nice adam! and its not like our losses were blowouts. We would have easily beat UGA if they had a decent kicker (14 points becomes 6) and auburn got one hell of an interference call and one no call in the 4th quarter i think that would have changed the outcome of that game. the coaches still need to make better adjustments, and our young qbs may need a bit more coaching, but if Brantley plays more than 1 quarter Saturday against Furman, i will pull my hair out! That should be the one game to give some gametime to our young signal-callers.

  27. Jnick says:

    Alot of negative things were going on saturday thats undeniable but on a positive note I want to give a shout out to Josh Evans he had his best game as a gator on Saturday.

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