Quick hits: No. 11 Florida Gators beats South Carolina 24-14 as Jim McElwain makes history

By Adam Silverstein
November 14, 2015

No. 11 Florida Gators football (9-1, 7-1 SEC) was a wire-to-wire victor on Saturday, ending its Southeastern Conference schedule with a decisive 24-14 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.

In leading the Gators to a 7-1 league record, head coach Jim McElwain set a new mark for SEC wins (seven) as a first-year coach at Florida. McElwain also tied four coaches for most total victories (nine) … and that’s with two regular-season and up to five total games remaining.

Here are five immediate takeaways from the Gators’ latest victory.

Defense falters late: The Gators’ defense was once again outstanding for the vast majority of Saturday’s game, until a couple of late passes exposed Florida’s secondary for two touchdowns. A throwback pass from wide receiver Pharoh Cooper to quarterback Perry Orth resulted in the Gamecocks’ first score, and Orth returned the favor to Cooper to give South Carolina 14 points in just over four minutes. Even as UF’s offense struggled, the defense held South Carolina to under 100 yards for most of the game. In the end, USC finished with 177, 55 of which came on the two scoring plays. Sophomore defensive backs Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson each picked off a pass, and the Gators also forced two fumbles but failed to recover either. UF finished with four sacks and six tackles for loss.

Welcome back, kid: After being suspended for two halves and sitting out the second half of Florida-Vanderbilt, freshman running back Jordan Cronkrite made a couple big plays for the Gators on Saturday, including wrestling away an interception (from former UF commit Chris Lammons) and turning it into a 41-yard touchdown to put his team up 14-0 in the opening half. Cronkrite also scored a three-yard rushing touchdown to put the first points on the board for Florida. Overall, he finished with 73 total yards and two scores.

[K]losing it out: Junior RB Kelvin Taylor was bottled up for most of the afternoon, but his game-sealing 53-yard run on 3rd and 8 late in the fourth quarter was as big as one could ask for from the third-year player. Taylor rumbled into the end zone for a touchdown on the next play, finishing Saturday’s game with 101 yards and a score. It was his third 100-yard game of the season (second in three weeks) and the fourth of his career.

Still shaky at quarterback: Anyone still holding onto the notion that a drop-off between redshirt freshman Will Grier and sophomore Treon Harris would be minimal needs to change their mind. Harris made a handful of quality throws Saturday but was mostly shaky and off-target while going 19-for-33 with 256 yards and two interceptions to his lone touchdown. Harris’s first turnover came on a third-down play in the end zone near the end of the first half as UF was prepared to go up three scores on South Carolina.

Moving the ball: Though Harris struggled and the Gators did not succeed running the ball (aside from Taylor’s long gain), Florida’s first two scoring drives were long ones – 15 plays for 87 yards and 12 plays for 76 yards. The team found a way to gain chunks of yards and did so with seven players registering receptions, three of which caught three or more passes. UF also finished 12-of-20 on third and fourth down conversions.

Everything else: Will be added soon.


  1. Dan says:

    Grier is better than Harris. But I maintain it’s not a huge drop-off. Grier struggled quite a bit at times. His last game (Mizzou) was quite pedestrian. Managed 2 offensive scores.

    • 1974Gator says:

      I’ll take “pedestrian” Grier over anything else we’ve got. He was going thru his progressions and delivering the ball on time and target 65+% of the time. He “did his job” and was getting better each game. The SC defense is not very good against the run and they stuffed us with the exception of Kelvin’s 53 yarder. A young, inexperienced O line and QB is gonna catch up with us against another high quality opponent. I expect to beat FSU but winning the SECC game is beyond my imagination. That said, we are still in the hunt to make it to the playoffs……..thank you Lord. GO GATORS!

    • Michael Jones says:

      You’re either a Harris homer or have something personal against Grier because it’s not even close. Different leagues. And the HS competition thing that everybody was making such a big deal about as the reason for touting Harris over Grier? Uh, yeah, not so much.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Point of clarification. Treon seems to be a good kid. He does what he’s asked to do, his teammates seem to like him, he competes and let’s not forget that for the most part he’s winning.

        But what Roper and Muschamp were thinking when they had Will Grier in the fold and then went after Harris like he was the second coming of Aaron Rodgers and then seemed to favor him over Grier, I will never get. But then again, of course they did! Consistent with all of their other brilliant offensive moves.

  2. thanna800 says:

    Grier is in a different league when it comes to his passing ability. With Grier we are dangerous without not so much.

    • Michael Jones says:

      And he’s a pretty damn good runner too. If Treon could pass as well as Will can run, we’d be in much better shape. But Treon did make enough good throws plus got lucky with Cronkrite’s toughness that we were able to win the game.

  3. Sharon Milner says:

    Proud of the Gators!

    But Alabama is really good!

  4. Michael Jones says:

    Kelvin Taylor’s improvement as a running back is almost staggering. He consistently makes the brilliant play-saving cut that our offensive line needs out of its running back. His ability to read holes and make the right cut is beginning to remind me of the great Emmitt Smith. Plus his quickness, acceleration, getting upfield without all the dancing, strength and just plain hard running are all much-improved.

    And, damn, what a coach that McElwain is . . . . . .

    Go Gators!!!

  5. Alex says:

    Nobody is claiming the Harris is the second coming of Tom Brady but I find it funny that everybody seems to have forgotten the UK game and the Mizzou game.

    Selective memory in order to fit a narrative.

    • KB says:

      I don’t want to speak for all but for me it is not selective memory. As Gator fans we should support and be behind Treon but in comparison to Grier there seems obvious differences in their command and operation of the offense. Grier is a better ball handler with a quicker throwing motion and release. Grier like Harris has shortcomings and both are young QB’s capable of getting better. However, it just seems as a passer and doing what Mac wants to do in this offense that Grier is ahead of Treon. I think if you look at how the defenses approach Harris there seems to be a similar approach or book if you will on him. For 2 weeks now you see teams having success with that blitz up the middle. Treon has to make adjustments and make teams pay for doing the same things but he is not quite there with his development yet as a passwer. Will was not perfect and was still growing into what he could become and Treon is too but it is clear if you watch the 3 games Treon played and 3 that Will played that Will is ahead of Treon as a passer. It is Ok to acknowledge that to this point while cheering for Treon and hoping he develops into what is needed for the offense to be successful this season.

    • Mike The Red says:


    • Michael Jones says:

      Oh that sounds so intelligent. It also sounds ironic. Yeah, I remember those games. What is your point? Are you talking about a bad throw or two as evidence that the rest of us have selective memory? Actually, that’s selective memory on your part.

  6. Mike The Red says:

    It is impressive what Coach Mac has done. He has this team held together with duct tape and bailing wire. He is doing more with less. Of course, he has also gotten lucky a few times.

  7. Steve Van Smack says:

    Atc1st, Grier was literally ahead of the WRs and delivering the ball on target when they evidently weren’t prepared. As time progressed, though, they started to “click” and this is what made the Gators dangerous. Treon simply needs to get the ball into the hands of the playmakers somehow, even with a shaky O line. If this O line can’t block SC , how are they going to block a quality D line ? The D will have to carry this tm and the Gators will have to continue to win ugly, unfortunately because that’s the way to describe the QB play of Harris, who lacks the skills of a competent passer.

Join The

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *