No. 10 Gamecocks fight back to top Gators 19-14

The No. 10/11 South Carolina Gamecocks (8-2, 6-2 SEC) withstood a ground-and-pound attack by the Florida Gators (4-6, 3-5 SEC) on Saturday evening at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC, shutting out and therefore outscoring the visitors 13-0 in the second half to pull out a 19-14 victory.

The outcome left the Gators having dropped five games in a row for the first time since 1979 and losing for the first time under the leadership of head coach Will Muschamp when rushing for 150 yards or more in a game (previously 15-0). Florida also lost for just the second time under Muschamp when leading at the half (previously 18-1).

Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor led the way for UF with 21 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns. USC only scored one touchdown on the evening but connected on 5-of-6 field goals to put its SEC East rivals away.

Continue Reading » No. 10 Gamecocks fight back to top Gators 19-14

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No. 2 Florida chomps No. 7 South Carolina 44-11

A hard-fought Southeastern Conference battled turned into a one-sided blowout on Saturday when the No. 2 Florida Gators, led by a career-high four touchdown pass performance by sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel, trampled the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks 44-11 in Gainesville, FL.

On a day in which ESPN’s College GameDay emanated live from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida (7-0, 6-0 SEC) proved that it is a new team in year two under head coach Will Muschamp, preventing head coach Steve Spurrier and South Carolina (6-2, 4-2 SEC) from winning a third-straight game in the annual series.

The Gators turned three fumble recoveries into 21 first-half points and went five-for-five in the red zone, scoring a touchdown on every trip as they put the SEC East crown within their grasp pending the outcome of next week’s game against Georgia.

Florida started the game on fire as sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy forced a fumble that was recovered on the South Carolina two-yard line by redshirt senior Buck linebacker Lerentee McCray on the first play from scrimmage. Faced with a third down, Driskel hit redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed for a short touchdown to give UF a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game.

Read the rest of the game story and watch video highlights…after the break!
Continue Reading » No. 2 Florida chomps No. 7 South Carolina 44-11

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Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators vs. South Carolina

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 80°F, sunny, winds W at 9 mph
Time: 3:30 p.m. EDT

Tickets: Starting at $100 on TiqIQ

TV: CBS/CBSHD (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: CBSSports.com | Mobile Video: CBS Sports app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper

No. 2 FLORIDA GATORS No. 7 USC GAMECOCKS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Record: 6-0 (5-0 SEC) Record: 6-1 (4-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -3.5, O/U 41

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on what has been going on with the Gators over the last week? No problem. OGGOA has been here the whole time posting a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam on Saturday.

Florida ignoring the BCS hype | Spurrier discusses the Gators | Brent Pease confident in passing game | Updates from Muschamp and Spurrier

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

Florida will be featured on College GameDay for a nation-leading 35th time in school history. The Gators will be hosting the program for the 12th time but first since Nov. 28, 2009. UF has already appeared on College GameDay twice this season (2-0) as the visiting team at Texas A&M and Tennessee. Florida is 7-4 overall as hosts in Gainesville and 23-11 all-time when featured on the program.

» OGGOA’s Q&A with ESPN analyst Desmond Howard
» ESPN: Seven video previews of UF-USC

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida leads South Carolina 23-6-3 in the all-time series and boasts a 12-1-0 advantage in Gainesville with its first and only loss coming in the last meeting (2010). The two teams have played consecutively every year since 1992; the Gators are 17-3 in those games but have lost the last two marking their first time falling in consecutive games to the Gamecocks since the 1930s.
» UF is 4-3 against USC over the last seven years since Spurrier took over.
» Florida is 11-1 against unranked opponents and 2-5 against ranked teams since Muschamp took over the program in 2011. The Gators earned both victories over ranked opponents this season, defeating Tennessee on the road and LSU at home.
» This is the highest-ranked South Carolina team that Florida has ever faced.
» The Gators have started the season 6-0 for the first time since 2009 and the eighth time overall in school history.
» Florida defeated a ranked opponent at home for the first time since Nov. 15, 2008 and beat an SEC West team in Gainesville for the first time since Oct. 17, 2009.
» The Gators were 0-5 when trailing at the half in 2011 but have started the 2012 season 3-0 in that category with all three victories vs. SEC opponents (two ranked).
» Florida is 9-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards and 0-4 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards. UF is also 10-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 8-3 when scoring first and 10-1 when leading at the half.
» The Gators have scored on 19-of-20 red zone trips (95 percent) but have only converted 11 of those possessions (55 percent) into touchdowns.
» Florida has converted 32-of-83 of its third-down attempts (38.6 percent) this season.
» The Gators have held their opponents to 26-of-92 on third down conversions (28.3 percent), which is good for seventh-best in the nation. UF was second nationally in third-down defense (27.3 percent) last season.
» Florida is out-possessing opponents by an average of 7:48 through six games, a margin that ranks fourth nationally.
» The Gators are outscoring opponents 98-23 in the second half and 57-10 in the fourth quarter. UF was the only team in the nation that had not allowed a fourth-quarter point until giving up 10 last week.
» Florida had a stretch of not allowing a touchdown in nine-straight quarters and is sixth in scoring defense nationally (12.3 points per game).
» The Gators are +7 in turnover margin through six games after being -12 in 2011. UF has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (329) since 2000.
» Florida has grabbed seven interceptions so far in 2012 (three games with two each) and is already closing in on its 2011 total of eight picks. UF has registered at least one pick in five games.
» The Gators are sixth nationally in pass efficiency defense.
» Florida has at least two kickoff returns for touchdowns in each of the last two seasons after never having more than one in a single season before 2010. UF has not yet registered one in 2012.
» South Carolina is facing its third top-10 opponent in as many weeks.
» Before losing last week, the Gamecocks had a school-record 10-game win streak.
» Spurrier is four wins away from holding sole possession of the school’s all-time wins record for a head football coach.
» South Carolina is the least penalized team in the SEC, losing an average of 34.3 yards per game via penalty.
» The Gamecocks are 12th nationally in total defense (296.3 yards per game).

Read the rest of the Florida-South Carolina preview including injuries and absences and which players to look out for from both sidelines.
Continue Reading » Gameday: No. 2 Florida Gators vs. South Carolina

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Q&A with College GameDay’s Desmond Howard

ESPN College GameDay will emanate from Gainesville, FL for the first time since 2009 on Saturday as the No. 2 Florida Gators (6-0, 5-0 SEC) host the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1 SEC) at 3:30 p.m. in a game that will air live on CBS.

It was announced Wednesday that Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte will be on hand to be the guest picker for the show, which will be set up and aired from the grass outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium’s façade that faces University Drive.

To get fans ready for the program and game, OGGOA had the opportunity to sit down for a question-and-answer session with ESPN‘s Desmond Howard, one of the three analysts who are part of the College GameDay crew.

Be sure to tune in to ESPN on Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon!

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: This is the third time already this season that Florida will be featured on College GameDay. How have you seen the Gators progress and improve from when the program was on-site for the Texas A&M game until now?
DESMOND HOWARD: “That’s simple. The offense has gotten better. Jeff Driskel has gotten more confident. I think the players around him are more confident in him, and the running game with [Mike] Gillislee has become more solidified. They’re playing a very physical brand of football on the offensive side and defensive side, so those are the biggest differences so far?”

AS: The first BCS standings were released on Sunday and obviously Florida being ranked No. 2 was a major point of argument for some. How do you feel about the Gators deserving that spot in the initial standings and do you really think the BCS is worth arguing about so early in the season?
DH: “I don’t have a problem with it at all. It’s like people need something to argue about and debate about so they talk about the BCS rankings. We’re in the middle of October. If anyone knows anything about football, you understand that this is going to shake itself out. Especially with Florida at No. 2 and Oregon at No. 3. You have Alabama at No. 1 so those teams, if they keep going the way they’re going, one of them is going to cancel the other one out. If this was Nov. 22 or something like that, then we’ll be having a conversation. But like I said, they’re still going to play each other in the SEC Championship if they stay on the same course they are on right now, so what is there to argue about? So no, I don’t have a problem with the BCS rankings whatsoever.”

Read the rest of this Q&A with Desmond Howard…after the break!
Continue Reading » Q&A with College GameDay’s Desmond Howard

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Gators reach new low, fall 17-12 to Gamecocks

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.

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

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Florida Gators at No. 13 South Carolina Gameday

Location: Williams-Brice Stadium – Columbia, SC [Capacity: 80,250]
Weather Forecast: 57°F, sunny, winds SSW at 6 mph
Time: 12:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
SiriusXM: 220/199
Online Video: CBSSports.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

FLORIDA GATORS (13) SOUTH CAROLINA
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Record: 5-4 (3-4) Record: 7-2 (5-2)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +3; O/U 40

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before week four action? No problem. OGGOA has been here all week compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday afternoon at 12:00 p.m.

Story: Florida’s The Hawk belt motivates defenders

Muschamp’s presser | Weis comments on offense | Muschamp’s update

HISTORY and STREAKS
» Florida leads the all-time series against South Carolina 23-5-3 and holds a 10-4-1 advantage in games played in Columbia, SC. Before falling to USC in 2010, UF had won four-straight contests and 18 of 19 dating back to 1964.
» This will be the first time since 2004 that the Gators are not ranked when playing the Gamecocks. South Carolina has never faced Florida when the former was ranked and the latter was not.
» Spurrier led UF as head coach from 1990-2001, picking up six SEC titles and a national championship. He was also the 1966 Heisman Trophy winner and played for the Gators from 1964-66.
» Spurrier is 2-4 when facing his former team.
» South Carolina will be the fifth ranked opponent that Florida has faced. The Gators are 0-4 against such teams and will have played four of the five games away from home.
» The Gamecocks are holding homecoming this weekend.
» South Carolina can clinch the SEC East if they defeat UF and Georgia falls to Auburn. Should they beat the Gators on Saturday, it will be the first time they have gone undefeated in the SEC East in school history.
» Florida is 5-0 when outrushing their opponent but 0-4 when being outrushed.
» The Gators are last in the nation in penalties, committing 78 in nine games. Florida has lost/given up 584 yards due to those miscues. Those numbers average out to UF committing 8.67 penalties per game for 64.89 yards.
» In their five victories, the Gators are outscoring opponents 54-3 in the first quarter, while in their losses they have been outscored 31-17. UF has also scored on their opening drive in four of nine games.
» Florida has half as many upperclassmen (19 seniors, 14 juniors) as they do underclassmen (33 sophomores, 33 freshmen) on the roster the season.
» Fourteen different Gators made their first career start this season including five freshmen and three redshirt freshmen; 15 total have seen action this year.
» UF’s offense has struggled as of late, and Florida has had major problems putting the ball in the end zone. The Gators have scored points in 25 of 36 quarters this season and touchdowns in only 19 of those quarters.
» Florida is No. 14 nationally and fifth in the SEC in total defense (306.1 yards per game). The Gators are also No. 20 nationally and fourth in the SEC in scoring defense (19.7 points per game).
» UF’s pass defense is allowing just 182.8 yards per game, good for fourth in the SEC and 11th nationally.
» The Gators’ defense is seventh in the nation in preventing third-down conversions, allowing just 30.3 percent of those attempted to be successful.
» Florida’s defense has forced the most turnovers in the SEC (312) since 2000. UF also has the most interceptions in the nation (73) since 2008.
» The Gators and Gamecocks lead one another in a pair of major statistical categories. Florida tops South Carolina in national averages of passing yards 189.3-179.8 (92nd-98th) and points against 19.7-20.1 (20th-24th), while USC leads UF in rushing yards 188.3-156.4 (36th-62nd) and points scored 29.9-26.0 (50th-72nd). The teams have played five common opponents, each defeating Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt and falling to Auburn. The Gamecocks, however, defeated Georgia 45-42, while the Gators fell 24-20.

LAST TIME OUT

Riding a pair of victories, Florida hoped to continue its momentum at home against South Carolina. The Gators wound up falling 36-14 to the Gamecocks in a game that saw Steve Spurrier lead his team to its first SEC East title while winning in The Swamp for the first time as a visitor. Things looked promising for UF early when Andre Debose returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, but South Carolina ran the ball down Florida’s collective throats with Marcus Lattimore carrying the rock 40 times for 212 yards and three touchdowns. The Gators accounted for just 226 total yards in the game and did not register a single point on offense until late in the fourth quarter.

INJURIES / ABSENCES

FLORIDA
» Probable: Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (arm), redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey (ankle), redshirt sophomore Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (concussion), redshirt freshman tackle Chaz Green (ankle)
» Questionable: Redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray (shoulder)
» Inactive: Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee)

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (#12)…who has completed 58.8 percent of his passes (94-of-160) this season for 1,360 yards and six touchdowns but also threw three interceptions including one returned for a score. Brantley had missed 10 quarters of action after injuring his ankle against Alabama but returned with limited health and mobility against Georgia.
» Redshirt senior RB Chris Rainey (#1)…who has 831 yards of total offense this season with five touchdowns (including a punt block return). Rainey is averaging 4.9 yards per carry and 15.3 yards per reception and leads Florida in rushing and receiving this season. He became the first player in school history to have a rushing, receiving and return touchdown in the same game, achieved the school and SEC record for career punt blocks (five), and is the active leader in that category nationally. He also rushed for 100 yards or more in three-straight games, the first UF player to do so since Fred Taylor last accomplished that feat 14 years ago.
» Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose (#4)…who jumped to second on the Gators’ receiving list with mirror image 65-yard touchdowns against Alabama and LSU. Fans have been waiting for Debose to emerge for some time, and his 272 receiving yards are the second-best on the team through its first nine games. Additionally, his 22.7 yards per catch is the highest average in the SEC and second nationally.
» Redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed (#11)…who had four receptions for a career-high 69 yards two weeks ago against Georgia. He also caught just the second receiving touchdown of his career that Saturday – his first this season.
» Sophomore safety Matt Elam (#22)…who is the most valuable member of Florida’s secondary in only his second year. He is tied for second on the team in tackles (53) and at one point created turnovers in three-straight games (fumble-INT-INT). His 12 tackles against LSU three weeks ago marked a career high, and his 6.5 tackles for loss this season is second-best on the team.
» Defensive tackles sophomore Dominique Easley (#2) and redshirt senior Jaye Howard (#6)…who have solidified the interior of one of the Gators’ strongest units. Howard is the team’s most experienced player on defense (26 starts), while Easley may be its most dynamic off the snap, with a first-step raved about by teammates and coaches alike. Howard and Easley have combined for 11.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks through nine games.
» Linebackers junior Jon Bostic (#52) and redshirt sophomore will linebacker Jelani Jenkins (#3)…who are 1-3 on the team in tackles. Bostic (65) and Jenkins (46) have each excelled in different areas for Florida. The former has six tackles for a loss and three sacks while the latter has one sack and five pass breakups on the year.
» Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs (#19)…who has returned for Florida after missing eight games one year ago with an injured back. He is 17-for-19 in field goal attempts on the season (long: 55) and is perfect with 21 extra points, leading the Gators with 72 points scored this season. Sturgis is second in the nation with 17 field goals made but missed a game two weeks ago (leg).

SOUTH CAROLINA
» QB Connor Shaw (#14)…who has started the last four games for the Gamecocks after beginning the season as a backup. Shaw threw four interceptions in his first start (vs. Kentucky) but has a 2-4 TD-INT ratio through the air over the last three games (though he has rushed for three scores).
» RB Brandon Wilds (#22)…who has stepped in as starting running back after Marcus Lattimore went down with an injury three weeks ago. Wilds averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 28 touches against Tennessee but struggled last week gaining just 21 yards on 10 carries at Arkansas.
»WR Alshon Jeffery (#1)…who is USC’s most dynamic healthy offensive weapon. Jeffery is the team’s leading receiver with highs in receptions (36), yards (487) and touchdowns (five). He is easily Shaw’s favorite target and is a tough match-up for any team. Jeffery needs just 15 yards to be the school’s all-time leading receiver.
» Defensive end Melvin Ingram (#6)….who has scored three times this season including two fumble recoveries and a 68-yard run on a fake punt. He also has 5.5 sacks on the season – fourth best in the SEC.

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