Gameday: Florida Gators at No. 11 South Carolina

Location: Williams-Brice Stadium – Columbia, SC [Capacity: 80,250]
Weather: 74°F (feels like 74°F), partly cloudy, winds ENE at 10 mph
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN2 (Joe Tessitore, Matt Millen, Maria Taylor)
SiriusXM: 85 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS No. 11/12 USC GAMECOCKS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Record: 4-5 (3-4 SEC) Record: 7-2 (5-2 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +13.5 | O/U: 42.5

PLAYER UPDATES

The Gators officially announced just an hour before the game that redshirt freshman quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg would be starting (and making his first career in-game appearance) in place of redshirt junior Tyler Murphy (shoulder). Mornhinweg becomes just the second freshman signal caller in school history to take his first snap as a starter (Jacoby Brissett, 2011).

Florida also made it known before the game that junior cornerback Marcus Roberson was suspended and would not participate due to a violation of team rules.

KEEP UP WITH THE GATORS

Busy during the week? Miss a feature, story or post on OnlyGators.com? No worries. Catch up on what you missed via the links below!

Story: LB Antonio Morrison (torn meniscus) out for the season | Notebook: Will Muschamp talks about fixing the Gators | Notebook: Brent Pease talks about his quarterbacks, job security | Notebook: Muschamp and Steve Spurrier respect each other | Statement: Jeremy Foley backs Muschamp | Story: LB Jarrad Davis next man up for Florida | Story: QB Skyler Mornhinweg likely to start

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida holds a 24-6-3 advantage in the all-time series against South Carolina having won 19 of the last 22 meetings between the programs. Under Spurrier, the Gamecocks are 3-5 against the Gators and have won two of the last three showdowns.
» UF dropped its second game this season to an unranked opponent last week and is now 18-3 against unranked teams under Muschamp after losing two in a row.
» Florida is 15-0 under Muschamp when rushing for more than 150 yards (7-13 when rushing for fewer than 150 yards). The Gators are also 18-4 when holding opponents to 21 points or less, 13-3 when an opponent rushes for fewer than 100 yards, 14-4 when scoring first (8-9 when an opponent scores first) and 18-1 when leading at the half (4-12 when tied or trailing at the break).
» UF has registered 105 interceptions since 2008, second-most nationally. Florida is also first in interceptions returned for touchdowns (17) and interception return yards (1,860).
» The Gators have forced the most turnovers among SEC teams this century (363).
» Florida had forced at least one turnover in 19-straight games before failing to do so last week against Vanderbilt.
» Despite struggling for the last few weeks, the Gators are still ranked in the top-10 nationally in pass efficiency defense (98.2), total defense (278.8 yards), passing defense (169.1 yards), first downs allowed (15.7 per game), third down conversion defense (.311) and yards allowed per play (4.74).

Read about the injuries and absences and much more…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators at No. 11 South Carolina

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11/13: Muschamp and Spurrier talk Florida-South Carolina, mutual respect; Murphy injury update

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp made his scheduled appearance Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference and touched on a number of topics surrounding his team heading into Saturday’s game against the South Carolina Gamecocks and head coach Steve Spurrier.

INJURY UPDATES

While sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries (sprained MCL) has already been ruled out of Saturday’s game, Muschamp said redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy (shoulder) and junior cornerback Marcus Roberson (ankle) remain day-to-day. Neither Murphy nor Roberson has practice this week as of press time.

Asked if Murphy’s shoulder was more seriously injured than it had been, Muschamp explained that nothing is torn but the player did experience some swelling and discomfort coming out of the last game. Florida did not think Murphy would start against Missouri, but he felt good enough at the start of the game and wound up playing. The same may happen this week, but he will have to see some practice time first.

Muschamp also said linebacker sophomore Antonio Morrison (torn meniscus) and freshman Jeremi Powell (torn ACL) were going under the knife Wednesday with Morrison’s surgery already completed. He will likely be out 2-3 months and back in time for spring practice.

MUTUAL RESPECT

Squaring off against Spurrier for the third time as coach of the Gators, Muschamp once again reiterated how much he respects the guy who helped build Florida football.

“I admire the job that he’s done as a head coach, period,” he said. “What he’s did and accomplished here at Florida in his 12 years and then the job he did at South Carolina and then the job he did at Duke and the Tampa Bay Bandits and the list goes on. He’s done it the right way, too. He does things the right way, does things first-class. He handles things the right way and I just have a lot of respect for the man.”

Spurrier shared a similar sentiment about Muschamp, saying the two have a good relationship and he very much respects how Muschamp is running the Gators.

Continue Reading » 11/13: Muschamp and Spurrier talk Florida-South Carolina, mutual respect; Murphy injury update

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11/11: Muschamp on Murphy’s injury, fixing Gators

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 34-17 loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores and upcoming road contest against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday, Nov. 16. The homecoming contest will kick off at 7:00 p.m. and air live on ESPN2.

BIG NAME LEADS LIST OF INJURED GATORS

Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy has been dealing with a shoulder injury since the LSU game but has yet to miss a start. Muschamp announced Monday that Murphy will not practice Monday or Tuesday but should be back out on the field Wednesday.

The player admitted later Monday that he would not be able to play if the game was that day, noting that the injury was aggravated – and potentially worsened – by getting hit in and falling on his shoulder multiple times against Vanderbilt.

“I’m missing Monday and possibly Tuesday,” Murphy said. “I need all the practice I can get. It’s just frustrating, being banged up a little bit, I have to sit out and try to get healthy. I’m just going to live in the training room and get healthy and try to get out there as soon as possible.”

There are rumors circulating that Murphy’s injury is worse than is being let on by the coaching staff, but to put that chatter in proper perspective, what exactly would Florida – a two-touchdown underdog to South Carolina – have to gain by lying about a season-ending injury the same day one is announced for another starter.

“It’s more of a day-to-day thing,” Murphy said about his ailment. “I’m just trying to get healthy so I can get back out there and try to contribute to helping this team.”

Muschamp also announced Monday that junior cornerback Marcus Roberson (ankle) will miss two days of practice but should return Wednesday. Freshman linebacker Jeremi Powell (knee) is scheduled for surgery this week, and sophomore left tackle D.J. Humphries (MCL) is doubtful for Saturday.

“He’ll be back this season, just based on the injury report this morning he’s doubtful for this weekend,” Muschamp said. “He can get into a stance and move and stuff, he just can’t press off of it right now. He’ll play [again] before the year is out.”

Continue Reading » 11/11: Muschamp on Murphy’s injury, fixing Gators

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Four Murphy turnovers doom Gators, Florida loses to Vanderbilt for first time since 1988

A horrible season for the Florida Gators got even worse on Saturday as the Vanderbilt Commodores entered Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL, on homecoming and picked up a 34-17 victory, beating their SEC East rivals for the first time since 1988.

Vanderbilt came through with a win in Gainesville for the first time since 1945, one that ended Florida’s 22-game winning streak in the series. It was also the Commodores’ first league victory against the Gators dating back to when they joined the SEC in 1992.

Florida dropped its fourth-straight game by falling behind early and never finding a way to recover. The Gators are now below .500 for the first time since 1992 and are in the process of breaking their consecutive bowl game streak, which currently stands at 22.

After winning the toss and deferring possession, Florida allowed its opponent to pick up an opening drive score for the third-straight week. Vanderbilt gained 62 yards on 13 plays, converting two first downs in UF territory, and took an early 3-0 lead.

The Gators responded immediately with a 12-play, 48-yard drive, but redshirt freshman kicker Austin Hardin missed a 44-yard field goal wide right.

Florida committed another miscue just minutes later when redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy, on 1st-and-10 from UF’s 25-yard line, threw an interception that was returned to the 10. On the very next play, VU running back Jerron Seymour rumbled into the end zone to put his team up 10-0 in the first quarter.

Continue Reading » Four Murphy turnovers doom Gators, Florida loses to Vanderbilt for first time since 1988

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Friday Final: Florida to square off with Mizzou

No. 22/22 Florida Gators coaches and players spoke this week ahead of Saturday’s road game against the No. 14/14 Missouri Tigers scheduled to kick off at 12:21 p.m. from Memorial Stadium in Columbia, MO, and air live on SEC Network affiliates.

Below are some stories, notes and quotes that fell through the cracks and did not make it into one of the six posts already published here on OnlyGators.com (see links).

Monday: RB Matt Jones out for the season | Will Muschamp recaps LSU, talks injuries, previews Missouri
Tuesday: Updated depth chart | Limping, struggling Gators down but not out
Wednesday: Injury and kicking game updates from Muschamp
Thursday: Brent Pease talks RB Kelvin Taylor, pass protection (plus more notes from Pease and D.J. Durkin)

FLORIDA CONTROLS ITS OWN DESTINY

With every team in the East division already having dropped a league game – with the exception of Missouri, a team Florida could hand a loss to on Saturday – the Gators are very much in control of their own destiny, at least as far as the Southeastern Conference is concerned. Florida still has all of its goals in sight – winning the division, moving on to the SEC Championship in Atlanta, GA – a fact that was not lost on the coaches or players this week.

» Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy: “A lot of people brought up saying we could still win the East, we still have a chance to get to Atlanta. That’s our number one goal. Everyone was just saying we really need to focus in and have a great week of practice and get ready to go on the road and put forth a great effort to beat Missouri. We have a bye week the week after so this is a big week for us. Nothing would be worse than losing to Missouri going into a bye week. That’s in the back of everyone’s head. Everyone’s ready to go and ready to get this game on the road.”

» Senior safety Jaylen Watkins: “We definitely turn our eyes towards the East now. We definitely would like to have that game, but we do have everything still in front of us that we want to accomplish his season, which is the Sec East and going to the SEC Championship. We just have to regain our focus and get ready to go play Missouri.”

» Junior cornerback Marcus Roberson: “We haven’t lost to a team in the East yet, so we just have to win on out from Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri is coming up. We just have to win out and keep a positive mindset. We can’t let the past or the games we lost affect our season ahead of us. We control our own destiny, so if we play good and just do and trust what the coaches [tell us], we’ll win.”

Continue Reading » Friday Final: Florida to square off with Mizzou

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10/9: Muschamp and Miles talk Florida-LSU

No. 17/17 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp made his scheduled appearance Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference‘s weekly coaches teleconference and touched on a number of topics surrounding his team heading into Saturday’s road contest against the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers. Les Miles, LSU’s head coach, also spoke Monday and Wednesday about this week’s match-up.

INJURY UPDATES

Updating his team’s injuries, Muschamp said junior cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) had his best practice since being injured a month ago and will be full speed for Saturday’s game. Additionally, freshman linebacker Jarrad Davis (facial laceration) will be fine to play.

Unfortunately, the news was not all positive for Florida as freshman LB Alex Anzalone sprained his ankle against Arkansas, was unable to practice all week and is already listed as out for this weekend’s game.

MAD HATTER ON THE GATORS

Miles discussed his team’s upcoming showdown with Florida on Monday at the start of his weekly press conference with local and national media.

“We’ll be challenged. A very, very talented team. They have good players. They’ll be coming to Tiger Stadium. Any time that we get these two teams matched up – I can think back into ’07 and think back into times that we’ve faced Florida in this stadium – they’ve always been very competitive, a great challenge certainly to both teams. So good, quality Florida team, ranked number 17, which in my opinion, they look a lot better than 17. They’re the No. 1 team defensively in the league. They’re allowing 12 points, 217 yards, 65 yards rushing and 152 yards passing. They lead in all major defensive categories. Again, a very sound scheme. They don’t give up big plays. Again, Will Muschamp does a great job with that defense.

“Offensively they’re averaging 25 points, just under 400 yards a game, 107 yards rushing and 200 yards passing. And they, again, good balance. The quarterback is a playmaker. Tyler Murphy, and they have two very, very quality running backs and this Trey Burton comes in. He’s a playmaker. He leads them in receiving, and he can play quarterback. … Seems like we’ve been playing that guy for a long time. We need check his eligibility. But a very, very quality team, and we’re looking forward to getting to work on him [Monday]. It’s a workday. We look forward to welcoming Florida to Tiger Stadium, and we expect that it will be a loud, very, very home team-friendly crowd.”

[Editor's Note: Burton has career statistics of 64 total yards and one rushing touchdown in three games against the Tigers.]

Continue Reading » 10/9: Muschamp and Miles talk Florida-LSU

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10/7: Muschamp recaps Arkansas, previews LSU

No. 17/17 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss Saturday’s 30-10 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks and his team’s upcoming road contest against the No. 11/10 LSU Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 12. The contest will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and air live on CBS.

WEEKLY AWARDS

Offensive Players of the Game: Senior wide receiver Solomon Patton
“He’s playing at a high level, creating plays after the catch. … Really proud of Solomon and how he’s playing. He’s a great young man, works extremely hard, has really dedicated himself to developing himself as a receiver and certainly is getting great results.”

Scrap Iron: Redshirt junior left guard Max Garcia
“Max is a smart guy. … Max is pretty solid all over. He was a guy that did a lot of things well for us. He can play left tackle, he can play multiple positions. He’s been a really good fit for us.”

Big Plays (Offense): Patton, senior WR Trey Burton, redshirt junior WR Quinton Dunbar, sophomore running back Matt Jones, redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy

Defensive Players of the Week: Junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy
Purifoy was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Ball Hawks: Purifoy, junior defensive tackle Darious Cummings, sophomore Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr., redshirt junior LB Michael Taylor

Hard Hat: Freshman LB Jarrad Davis

Special Teams Player of the Week: Senior safety Jaylen Watkins

COULD MUSCHAMP HANDLE THE DEFENSE ALLOWING 50 POINTS?

LSU’s suddenly impressive offense has registered some huge outputs in its first six games of 2013 (including three SEC contests).

The Tigers scored 35 and 59 points in respective victories over Auburn and Mississippi State and also posted 41 points in a loss to Georgia.

Asked Monday if he would be able to handle his defense coughing up that many points, Muschamp explained that it would have been a concern for him in the past but now all he cares about is leaving each game victorious.

“As long as we win, I don’t care what happens. I’ll be honest with you. I got real caught up with all of that stuff when I was a coordinator. But I’m a head coach. I want to win. If it takes 51-50, let’s go,” he said. Watch the film on Sunday and we’ll figure out what we need to do to get better.

“But I can tell you right now, I used to grab the stat sheets when I was a coordinator. Not anymore. There’s one stat that matters and that’s winning. Do what you got to do to win games. It’s hard enough on Saturday afternoon to worry about all that other stuff. Just do what you got to do to win.”

Fowler concurred that winning is most important to Muschamp but was honestly concerned with the possibilities of what could potentially happen if the Gators gave up that many points in a single game.

“He’ll be happy that we won, but 50 points? Nah, he wouldn’t be happy with that,” he said. “Oh, no, not 50 points. Even if we win, I’ll have a nightmare. Scared. Jesus. No. … I don’t even know how he would physically handle that. I honestly don’t know what would happen. I wouldn’t want to know. That would be crazy.”

Continue Reading » 10/7: Muschamp recaps Arkansas, previews LSU

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10/5: Florida vs. Arkansas post-game report

The No. 18/19 Florida Gators (4-1, 3-0 SEC) prepared all week for a hard-nosed, physical contest and got just that from the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-2, 0-2 SEC) on Saturday evening at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. After winning the game 30-10, Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with the media to provide some of his thoughts on his team and its latest victory.

CHRIS DIMARCO AS MR. TWO BITS

HIGHLIGHTS

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida extended its winning streak against Arkansas to nine games dating back to 1995 and hold a 9-1 record in the all-time series. The Gators have won nine-straight contests against the Razorbacks. UF has yet to lose a game to UA since the latter program joined the SEC in 1992.
» The victory pushes Florida to 3-0 in SEC play, marking the second-straight season it has begun the conference slate undefeated through three games.
» UF’s 20-point margin of victory is its largest so far in 2013.
» The Gators improved to 7-9 under Muschamp when rushing for fewer than 150 yards, 18-3 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points, 8-6 when an opponent scores first and 18-1 when leading at the half.
» The Hogs have not defeated a ranked opponent since 2011.
» Florida improved to 18-1 against unranked opponents under Muschamp.
» The Gators won the time of possession battle once again and have done so in every game this season. But the 32:22-27:38 margin was the smallest of the 2013 campaign.
» Florida registered two sacks on Arkansas, more than three times the average number of sacks the team was allowing per game entering the contest (0.60).
» The Gators have forced at least one turnover in 16-straight games.
» UF has forced the most interceptions among SEC teams this century (358).
» Florida has registered a nation-leading 104 interceptions since 2008. UF is also first in interceptions returned for touchdowns (17) and interception return yards (1,832).
» The Gators registered at least one passing touchdown for the seventh-straight game but were held without a rushing score for the first time since Nov. 10, 2012.
» Florida gave up 275 yards of total offense to Arkansas, the most allowed by UF’s defense in a single game this season.
» The Gators have now yielded eight red zone trips through five games. In those eight appearances, opponents began two of drives already in the red zone.
» UF has held 12-straight SEC opponents to 20 points or less.
» Florida did not commit a penalty in the first half, the first time that has happened in a single half under Muschamp during his three seasons with the team. UF was flagged eight times for 84 yards in the second half, however.

» Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy completed 72.7 percent of his passes (16-of-22) for 240 yards and three touchdowns, all career-best marks.
» The Gators have not failed to score in the red zone since Murphy took over as the primary signal caller. UF is a perfect 9-for-9 on scoring opportunities inside the 20.
» Senior wide receiver Solomon Patton also set career marks with 124 yards, two touchdowns and six receptions (tying a career-high) on Saturday. He is the first wideout since Riley Cooper to catch two touchdowns in a single game and register two 100+ yard games in a single season (2009).
» Junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy grabbed his first career interception and celebrated by returning it 42 yards for a touchdown. He also forced a fumble on a sack.

Continue Reading » 10/5: Florida vs. Arkansas post-game report

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