Florida Gators vs South Carolina Gamecocks Breakdown
Date: Saturday, November 14, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Last meeting: 2014 South Carolina defeated Florida 23-20 in Overtime in Gainesville. Florida leads the all-time series 24-8-3.
Last time out:
• Florida defeated Vanderbilt 9-7
• South Carolina lost to Tennessee 27-24
Meet the Gamecocks:
• Interim Head Coach: Shawn Elliot (1-2 in his 1st season at South Carolina)
• Conference: Southeastern Conference Eastern Division
• 2015 Overall Record: 3-6
• 2015 Conference Record: 1-6
• Rank: Not Ranked
Player(s) to Watch:
• Junior Wide Receiver, Pharoh Cooper. Cooper is the go to player for the Gamecocks. He has 656 yards receiving with 5 receiving touchdowns to go along with 105 rushing yards and a touchdown.
• Junior Quarterback, Perry Orth. Orth finally settled the quarterback position for South Carolina. He has thrown for 1,180 yards and 7 touchdowns. He has thrown for 200 yards in 3 of his last 4 games.
5 Things to Know About South Carolina
1. In 9 games Pharoh Cooper is average 90 all-purpose yards per game.
2. South Carolina has beaten Florida 4 of the last 5 years, with Florida’s only win coming in 2012. The Gamecocks have never beaten Florida 3 times in a row.
3. South Carolina is 109th nationally in rushing defense giving up 208 yards per game.
4. Since taking over for Steve Spurrier Interim Head Coach Shawn Elliott is 1-2, with the only win coming over Vanderbilt.
5. South Carolina ranks 13th in the SEC in total defense surrendering 428 yards per game.
5 Things to Pay Attention To
1. Better Noon Start
In the Gators first noon start they were definitely sluggish. It would be hard to blame the performance on the game time, but they will need to make sure they are awake and alert to avoid another battle, this time on the road.
2. Defensive Line Depth
Florida’s defensive line has been phenomenal thus far this year, but Saturday their depth will be tested. Jonathan Bullard is questionable and Jordan Sherit will miss the first half due to a targeting call the week before. Some players with less playing time this year will need to step up and be productive. Freshman CeCe Jefferson will play some inside to fill the potential loss of Bullard.
3. The Kicking Adventure
Last week was quite the adventure for the Gators field goal team. They experienced a missed extra point, a fake field goal fumble and a game winning field goal from a kicker that’s been nursing injuries. This is an area that needs to growth and becoming more consistent.
4. Aberration or Trend
By far Florida played its worse offensive game of the season. Turning it over 4 times and scoring only nine points, this is hopefully not the beginning of a trend. The Gators have been very good in protecting the ball this year. Florida is +9 in turnover margin this season.
5. Pharoh Cooper
Pharoh Cooper is the primary play maker for the Gamecocks and they will look to get the ball in his hands. He could line up at wide receiver, running back, quarterback and punt return. He is very dangerous and the Gators will need to keep an eye on where he is on the field.
5 Things to Expect
1. Some More Tweaks to the Offense.
Last week Florida attempted to do some different things in the passing game, and I expect the same this week to get some more positive mojo going. We could see more crossing routes, get the running backs involved in the passing game. The running game will need more consistency, will they do more with Treon in the running game.
2. Tight Ends Are A Focus.
The Florida tight ends totaled 1 catch for 24 yards against Vanderbilt. McGee and Lewis had zero receptions. They have been a staple of the offense this year and McElwain will get them back involved in the offense.
3. Ball Control by the Gamecocks.
Vanderbilt ran 62 plays last week and 14 were pass plays. They were able to get the game into the 4th quarter by controlling the clock and creating turnovers. South Carolina will probably pass more, but running back Brandon Wilds is capable of carrying the load for the Gamecocks to keep them in the game.
4. Better Ball Handling.
To say Florida was careless with the ball last week would be an understatement. Most of those turnovers could have been avoided with better care for the ball. With the Florida offense looking to get on track, the margin for error is minimal. They were in position to score on a couple of those turnovers. They can’t try their luck two weeks in a row.
5. A Looser Team.
McElwain expressed that some players were pressing last week. Now that the SEC East is wrapped up, this team can play a little looser and with some positive energy. Florida can focus on playing their game and having fun which this team has done for the majority of this season.
5 Keys to Victory
1. Avoid Complacency.
While Florida may be a looser team, they still have to avoid complacency. Regardless of what happens Saturday afternoon Florida will still go to Atlanta, approaching this game with that collective attitude is a sure fire way to get beat. If the Gators come with fire and focus, they should walk away winners.
2. Make the Gamecocks One Dimensional.
South Carolina has done a good job being balanced and efficient on offense. Florida will need to stop the Gamecocks running attack, which they will need to help make Orth comfortable. Getting South Carolina in 3rd and long will give the Gators opportunities to create pressure and force some turnovers.
3. Take Advantage of Scoring Opportunities.
The Gators had 7 drives begin in plus territory last week and capitalized on one of them. The failure to finish on scoring opportunities made the game closer than it should have been. Florida’s defense will give the Gators more favorable scoring opportunities, the offense will need to do their part and finish those drives.
4. Offense is Effective and Efficient.
We want to see more explosion from the offense, but right now, they need to find some consistency in all areas. In the last 4 games Florida has rushed for 129, 55, 258 and 93 yards. Finding a steady running game will go a long way to finding the efficiency needed on offense.
5. Don’t Give the Game Away.
Against Vanderbilt, the only way Florida would have lost that game is giving it away. Florida was fortunate they walked out as victors and the same rules apply this week. They will need to avoid turnovers and other mistakes that give South Carolina a chance to upset the Gators at home. Florida is a better team, but turnovers are always the great equalizer.
5 Signs It Was a Good Day
1. Zero Turnovers.
It can’t be stated enough that turnovers are key in any game, but especially for this offense. If the Gators can go on the road again and avoid turnovers against a struggling South Carolina defense they should control this game with quality defense.
2. Offense Finds Balance.
In 2 of the last 3 games, Florida has struggled to find balance on offense. While Treon is still trying to find his way in the passing game, the running game needs to get going and help create some balance and keep the defenses guessing. If Florida is balanced on offense we will see a much better game from the team overall.
3. Pharoh Cooper is Limited.
Cooper has the ability to take a game over with his versatility and explosiveness. Florida has the secondary to keep him contained and if Cooper is a non-factor, that is a major factor in the ability for South Carolina to create big plays. It will be hard for them to sustain drives against one of the best defenses in the SEC and nation.
4. Kicking Game is Clean.
I almost wanted to skip over this, but here’s to hoping the game winner by Austin Hardin will spark some confidence and consistency. If this area of the game is better and clean on Saturday, it may change some of the play calling in those scoring situations, knowing there is a quality kicking game to count on.
5. Multiple Explosive Plays on Offense and Defense.
When this team is at its best, explosive game changing plays are occurring on both offense and defense. If the Gators get that back on Saturday, it will infuse some needed confidence in the offense and erase some of the bad memories from the Vanderbilt game.
Like no other sport, college football is game to game and one week does not guarantee anything the next week. Florida will play a much better game this week. This will be another hard fought game for the Gators. The defense will once again carry the day and control the Gamecock offense. The Florida offense will play much better, establishing the run and hitting some plays in the passing game against a defense that has struggled to stop anyone this year. South Carolina has been tough since Elliott took over and will be within striking distance, but the Gators defense will be too much in the 2nd half for South Carolina to overcome.
Florida 24 South Carolina 10