May 19, 2024

South Carolina vs Florida preview and prediction

Will Muschamp’s return to Florida could be an interesting one, as South Carolina looks to play spoiler to the Gators’ SEC East chances.

Photo by: arctic_whirlwind

The Florida Gators' football team lines up for kick off against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Sept. 13, 2014. Photo courtesy of creativecommons.org, no changes made.

This week in the SEC, South Carolina (5-4, 3-4 SEC) will face off against Florida (6-2, 4-2 SEC) in Gainesville.

After a strong 6-1 start for the Gators, they essentially controlled their own destiny. The Gators needed to beat both Arkansas and LSU to cruise to the SEC Championship Game in December.

However, the Razorbacks put a hitch in Florida’s plans after an impressive 31-10 destruction last week. In the loss, the Gators had just 241 total offensive yards — only 12 of which were rushing yards — and they were dominated in ball possession. To add on to their struggles, they now have to deal with the loss of starting quarterback Luke Del Rio to a knee injury.

On the other hand, South Carolina is coming off of three straight wins, two of those wins being in the SEC. Last week, the Gamecocks beat the Missouri Tigers, 31-21. South Carolina was led by true freshman quarterback Jake Bentley on offense who had over 250 yards and two touchdowns. Also, freshman running back Rico Dowdle had his second game with over 100 yards rushing — he had 149 yards and a touchdown. The Gamecocks defense has also managed to step up in recent weeks and only allowed 21 points to the high powered Tigers’ offense.

The rushing game will be key for South Carolina, and the team will need Dowdle to have another big game. This would be helpful to take the pressure off of Bentley, who will face his toughest test of the season against the impeccable Gators’ pass defense. Bentley has yet to turn the ball over through the first three starts of his career, but he will find it hard to continue this week — the Florida defense ranks third in the nation in total defense.

Offense will be the main focus for Florida this week, as the team’s performance last week against Arkansas was dismal. The Gators had just 241 total yards, and they turned the ball over twice. This left the solid Florida defense in bad shape as it was on the field for 40 of the 60 total minutes.

The Gators simply cannot allow to leave their defense on the field for that long. With backup Austin Appleby playing this week, he will need help from sophomore back Jordan Scarlett to help open up the playbook and keep the defense off of the field.

Prediction

This game will be extremely low scoring — Florida’s offense has been nearly nonexistent in recent weeks and South Carolina will face the hardest defense it will see all year. Jake Bentley’s streak of not turning the ball over will end, and he will throw multiple interceptions against the stout Gators’ pass defense. Florida will win, 21-13, in a close one and further its chances of making it to the SEC Championship Game.

Edited by Adam Milliken

Featured image by arctic_whirlwind

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