Steven Orr Spurrier went into the Swamp with his Gamecocks and walk out champion of the SEC East. South Carolina thoroughly dominated the Gators last night and won comfortably 36-14. The Gamecocks out played and out schemed the Gators who once again reverted to uselessness on offense after putting forth 2 good games in the prior weeks. Florida did not really do what it said it would, namely go with 3 QBs. Instead John Brantley took the vast majority of the snaps and the result was yet another humiliating offensive performance in the Swamp. Brantley missed open receivers, constantly had his passed batted down at the line and his team lacked any semblance of rhythm when he was in the backfield.
Ironically things started off perfectly for Florida. Andre Debose took the opening kickoff 99 yards for a score and the Swamp was rocking. South Carolina then settled down and weathered the storm by putting together 2 scoring drives in the 1st quarter. Florida on the other hand had absolutely nothing to show for after the first half was over. By the half Florida had barely 50 yards of offense and managed to convert only 2 first downs. S.C. was much more effective. Star RB Marcus Lattimore alone had outgained Florida and was well on his way to amassing 217yds on the ground.
It took Florida 10 drives to finally score any points! When the game was well out of reach in the fourth quarter, Jordan Reed, the player who can actually move the chains in this offense, was allowed to play and responded by throwing for a 26 yard touchdown pass. South Carolina held the ball for more than double the time of possession of Florida, and had it not been for the last garbage drive at the end the Gamecocks would have run twice the amount of plays as Florida.
Lattimore was the difference maker in this game. He not only rushed for 217 yards but punched in 3 touchdowns to finally break the will of the Florida defense. The Gator defense cannot be blamed for this loss because it was able to hold the Gamecocks to 22 point in 3 quarter despite the fact it was getting no help whatsoever from the offense. The defense was on the field for about 70% of the first half and in the 3rd quarter the Gator offense managed only 11 plays on 3 drives, 2 of which ended in turnovers. So to be realistic, no defense can hold for that long without any help. Eventually in the fourth the Gamecocks would break things open.
The Gators are seriously lacking competency on offense. It is time to take a long hard look at the work of O.C. Steve Addazio as his offense has failed miserably all year long and so has his offensive line, which he once described as one of the best in the nation. If there are no wholesale changes made in the offseason, this team will continue to struggle against SEC opponents because this offense is not fooling anyone and everyone knows which plays are coming and when. Meyer needs to realize that signing #1 recruiting classes alone is not close to being enough to build a championship team, somewhat has to coach up these kids and put them in a position to win.
Spurrier and the Gamecocks earned this victory and will go to Atlanta to plays for the SEC against an Auburn team that already beat them earlier this year in a close fought game. They dominated the Gators in the trenches and imposed their will in the running game. Alshon Jeffery was held to 52 yards on 6 catches, but some of those early catches resulted in key first downs while the game was still undecided.
You could tell it was bittersweet for Steve to win in the stadium he christened as “the Swamp” and where he would experience his glory years as a player and coach. With time winding down his players drenched him with Gatorade and tried to pick him up and walk him off Florida Field as a hero. The Ol Ball Coach resisted and jumped off. Then later his offensive linemen would try again, this time they managed to pick him up and take a few steps forward. Spurrier acknowledged his players and fans, then quickly jumped off his players shoulders for a second time and ran off to midfield. That gesture did not go unnoticed amongst Gator fans. Steve is a class act and a true Gator. I wish him the best of luck and I have no doubt his team can take the Tigers.
This was South Carolina’s first ever win at Florida Field.
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Written by The Gator Great