Week 11: No. 1 Florida Gators at South Carolina

By Adam Silverstein
November 14, 2009

Location: Williams-Brice Stadium – Columbia, SC [Capacity: 80,250]
Time: 3:30 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: 75°F – Partly Sunny

TV: CBS / CBSHD
Online: CBSSports.com.
Sirius: 218; XM: 200

Florida Gators South Carolina Gamecocks
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Record: 9-0 (7-0) Record: 6-4 (3-4)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -17.5, O/U 43.5
Head-to-Head Stats: Gainesville Sun

KEEP AN EYE ON…
Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow…who has rushed for nine touchdowns this season, bringing him to 52 for his career, breaking the all-time SEC record held by Herschel Walker (Georgia, 1980-82). Tebow broke Walker’s record two weeks ago with a 23-yard score against Georgia. He has also set the SEC career record for rushing yards by a quarterback, passing Matt Jones (Arkansas, 2001-04).
South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier…who is taking over play calling duties for the first time all season.
– Senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes…who returns to action this week following a one-game suspension for attempting to gouge the eyes of Georgia Bulldogs running back Washaun Ealey two weeks ago. Spikes has missed three of the last four games, two of them due to injury.
– Special camouflage jerseys…which will be worn by the Gamecocks as part of the Wounded Warrior Project to honor military veterans.
– Florida’s 2009 senior class…who go into Saturday’s game with a 44-6 SEC record and have a chance to becoming the winningest class in conference history. The SEC record of 45 wins is shared by the 1996 Gators, 1994 Alabama Crimson Tide, 1998 Tennessee Volunteers and 2005 Georgia Bulldogs.

STREAKS:
– The Gators are in the middle of the longest winning streak in school history with 19 consecutive victories. They also hold the longest active winning streak in the NCAA and the best in the SEC in the past 15 years since the Auburn Tigers won 20 straight from 1993-94. 18 of Florida’s 19 wins have been by a double digit margin.
– Florida has won 11 straight games against Eastern Division opponents and three straight against South Carolina.
– The Gators have won 17 of its last 18 games against the Gamecocks, with its last loss coming in Columbia four years ago. Spurrier is 1-3 against his former team while Florida is 22-4-3 all-time against South Carolina.
– The Gators lead the SEC in rushing offense (240.7) and third-down efficiency (.451). They also come in No. 2 in total offense (438.7) and scoring offense (35.0).
– On defense, the Gators have only surrendered eight touchdowns all season (fewest of any team in the nation) and average 10.1 points per game (No. 1 in the nation). The defense has also only allowed 12 field goals for a total of 91 points and has recorded eight interceptions over the past three weeks (best in the nation).
– South Carolina is on a seven-game home winning streak, though they have never defeated the No. 1 team in the nation.

Read OGGOA’s complete Florida vs. South Carolina preview after the jump…


No. 1 Florida Gators vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Preview

Looking to rebound from plenty of criticism and questions, the No. 1 Florida Gators (9-0, 6-0 SEC) did little to quiet their critics even though they rolled to a 27-3 victory last weekend over the Vanderbilt Commodores. This week, the Gators hit the road to conclude their regular season Southeastern Conference schedule against the South Carolina Gamecocks (6-4, 3-4 SEC) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in Columbia, SC, at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Florida senior quarterback Tim Tebow recorded the 52nd rushing touchdown of his career last week, though he had a sub-par game overall, rushing 16 times for 27 yards and only throwing for 208 yards against one of the SEC’s worst defenses. The star of the game on offense was sophomore tight end Aaron Hernandez, who had a spectacular 64-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter to ice the game. The Gators defense did not lose a step without senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, giving up only 199 yards of total offense to the Commodores. Redshirt senior linebacker Ryan Stamper filled in nicely, though Spikes will be returning to his starting role against the Gamecocks.

This week, Florida looks continue their impressive winning streak against South Carolina, having taken the last three straight and 17 of the 18 prior meetings. The Gators’ offense has been under heavy scrutiny all week, and many fans are hoping it has the kind of breakout performance it did last season when Florida and head coach Urban Meyer put up 56 points against the Gamecocks, handing head coach Steve Spurrier the worst loss of his career.

The Gators continue to nurse their injuries and return to optimum health with almost every single starter except for defensive tackle Brandon Antwine (shoulder) slated to start Saturday. For the Gamecocks, starting defensive end Cliff Matthews (separated shoulder) practiced this week but is questionable and considered a game-time decision. Matthews is one of South Carolina’s best defensive players and can seriously impact the game if he is made active.

The Gamecocks stand as a huge roadblock to the Gators’ goal of remaining undefeated and in contention for another National Championship. Even though Florida has outperformed South Carolina in recent years, quarterback Stephen Garcia (2,421 yards, 17 total TDs, 6 INTs) has vastly improved the offense; the Gamecocks defense has also become one of the most stout in the SEC.

4 Comments

  1. Sarasota 'cane says:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/austin_murphy/11/13/nukeese-richardson/index.html

    There are two quotes in this article from your NuKeese blog. Of course the funny one is mine! He He

  2. Well-aware, but thanks for the g
    heads up. I actually mention it at the bottom of the follow-up nu’keese story.

  3. O-town Gator says:

    What makes me laugh is that the Vol fans can sure dish it out, but when it’s thrown back in their faces they can’t handle it.

    Back on topic, our Gators have their eyes on the prize and won’t take anything for granted – Coach Meyer, Tim Tebow and all the rest are determined to get to Pasadena (even though they’re taking the one-game-at-a-time approach). Having Spikes back at MLB gives us back our punch on defense at that position.

  4. Mr2Bits says:

    Guess Stergis forgot how to kick as the wide-left is back and Meyer doesn’t have to balls to rub together for not punching it in on 3rd and goal. Guess he forgot that the coaches open the paper and look at the box score. 17 looks a hell of alot better than 10.

    Adazzio has once again called plays that you would call for a pop-warner game. Tebow is holding the ball waaayyy too long and Moody, well 7+ yards per carry I guess only gets you 3-5 touches a game so we can continue to run the deflated Rainey/Demps dive plays. Way to go offense, keep listening to that d-bag.

    Another weekend of feeling highly disappointed and calling Adazzio most every curse word in the book.

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