GAINESVILLE – You may not be able to teach on old dog new tricks, but you can teach the Ol’ Ball Coach about the wonders and joys of a dominating running game.
At the tender age of 65 years young, 20 years after he put his swagger back into Florida football, Steve Spurrier has seen the light in his sixth year as South Carolina’s head ball coach. Of course, that’s easy to do when you have a veteran offensive line, a quarterback who plays within his abilities and a freshman running back the likes of 6-0, 218-pound Marcus Lattimore, who gets stronger the more times he’s fed the pigskin. You know, kinda like Emmitt Smith, who is on Ben Hill Griffin Stadium’s Ring of Honor with Spurrier but opted not to play for the Ol’ Ball Coach when he returned to turn around his alma mater’s decaying program.
Who knew, Emmitt, who knew?
Yep, Spurrier’s old “Fun ‘N’ Gun” passing offense at Florida, which was good enough to win six SEC championships and one national title, has become the “Run 4 Fun” rushing offense at South Carolina. The Gamecocks worked Urban Meyer’s Gators silly in the place Spurrier nicknamed “The Swamp” for a dominating 36-14 victory that gave No. 23 South Carolina (7-3, 5-3 SEC East) the Eastern Division crown and a berth in its first SEC Championship Game against SEC West champion Auburn.
“Sometimes the Gators get out alive!” Spurrier said. “Just a tremendous team victory, really proud of our team. Good night for South Carolina, for the Gamecocks.”
Lattimore rushed for 212 yards on 40 carries, three of them touchdown runs of 7, 21 and 11 yards. Spurrier had asked Lattimore, who missed most of the second half of last week’s 41-20 loss to Arkansas in Columbia after taking a hit to the knee, if he was up to carrying the ball 40 times.
“When he says something, he means it,” Lattimore said after the game.
Quarterback Stephen Garcia, a junior from Tampa Jefferson, rushed for 28 yards and one score and threw for 156 yards while directing an offense that totaled 239 rushing yards, 395 total and did not have a turnover. Often maligned during his previous years at South Carolina, sometimes even by his coach, Garcia now has a victory over top-ranked Alabama and a victory on the road at Florida to hang on his resume.
“This was a huge win for us,” Garcia said. “To win on the road against a Florida team is very tough and we ended up winning.”
When the clock ticked to 0:00, some of the Gamecocks lifted Spurrier onto their shoulders and walked him on the field to meet Meyer. Since signing on at South Carolina for the 2005 season, the same year Meyer took over in Gainesville, it was Spurrier’s first victory in his old stadium where he won the 1966 Heisman Trophy as Florida quarterback and then put the Florida program on the national map with a glorious 12-year run from 1990-2001. Spurrier is now 2-4 in matchups with Meyer, who has won two SEC titles and two BCS national championships.
The loss by the Gators (6-4, 4-4 SEC East) shockingly came after Florida had won its last two games over Georgia and Vanderbilt and appeared to have righted its season after a three-game losing streak in October.
“We just didn’t execute,” Meyer said. “We were on the field all night (defensively). That was a pretty good team we played.”
Dominating? Besides the final score, South Carolina had 24 first downs to Florida’s 11, outgained Florida 395-226, outrushed the Gators 239-35, converted 8 of 16 third-down plays (to Florida’s 2 of 14) and controlled the clock by better than a 2-to-1 margin (40:46 to 19:14).
It was so dominating that Spurrier seemed to remove Lattimore after a gain of 11 yards to the Florida 10 with 3:56 remaining only to put him back in for one final run. Lattimore broke four tackles after taking a handoff from Garcia and appeared to be stopped at the Florida 3 when offensive tackle Garrett Chisholm came off his block and pushed the stalled scrum and Lattimore into the end zone to complete the 11-yard scoring run with 2:43 to play.
Florida led just once 14 seconds into the game when redshirt freshman Andre Debose returned the opening kickoff 99 yards, his second kickoff return for a touchdown this season.
After that, Florida couldn’t do anything to help its defense. The Gators had 59 scrimmage plays, just five more than South Carolina’s total rushing attempts of 54 (the Gamecocks ran 76 plays total) and they hurt their own cause with two turnovers. Florida had five penalties early in the game that prevented the Gators from getting their three-quarterback (John Brantley, Trey Burton and Jordan Reed) offense, which had totaled 89 points and more than 900 yards in victories over Georgia and Vanderbilt, going against South Carolina.
“Obviously, it was a severe letdown,” said Brantley, who threw for 130 yards (16-31-1) and was sacked twice. Burton completed one pass for 15 yards and rushed once for one yard. Reed, a 6-3, 240-pound redshirt tight end and Wildcat quarterback, totated 12 yards on eight carries and completed three of seven passes for 46 yards, including a 26-yard swing pass to Chris Rainey, who took it to the end zone with 7:12 left to play to cut the South Carolina lead to 29-14.
Florida, falling to 3-3 with its third loss in a row on Florida Field, closes out the home portion of its schedule next Saturday against Division I-AA powerhouse Appalachian State at 12:30 p.m. The game will be available on pay-per-view from cable outlets around the state.
No. 23 SOUTH CAROLINA 36, No. 22 FLORIDA 14
Game 10 / Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 / Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida / Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field
SCORE BY QUARTERS
1 2 3 4—Total
South Carolina Gamecocks 9 6 7 14—36
Florida Gators 7 0 0 7—14
FLA—Andre Debose 99 kickoff return (Chas Henry kick) at 14:46. Key play: Debose took the game’s opening kickoff toward the Florida sideline (the short field) with Mike Gillislee as a blocker ahead of him; a devastating block by Ronald Powell prevented anyone from getting close and Debose’s speed carried him into the clear for the touchdown, his second kickoff return for a score this season. Score: Florida 7, South Carolina 0.
USC—FG Spencer Lanning 49 good at 9:40. Drive: 9 plays, 29 yards, 2 first downs, 5:06 time elapsed after Zack Brust’s kickoff for Florida went out of bounds, giving the Gamecocks the ball at their own 40. Key plays: Following a timeout, Lattimore rushed over left tackle for 4 yards and a first down to the Florida 37. Score: Florida 7, South Carolina 3.
USC—Marcus Lattimore 7 run (Lanning kick hit the left upright) at 2:36. Drive: 6 plays, 46 yards, 3 first downs, 2:49 time elapsed following Chas Henry’s 46-yard punt and kick-catching interference by Will Hill after fair-catch call by Ace Sanders. Key plays: Lattimore had a 14-yard run and Garcia completed two passes to Alshon Jeffery for 12 and 13 yards, the latter into a wide-open middle that gave South Carolina a first-and-goal at the Florida 7; Lattimore scored on the next play. Score: South Carolina 9, Florida 7.
USC—FG Lanning 47 good at 4:37. Drive: 11 plays, 43 yards, 3 first downs, 5:26 time elapsed following Henry’s 36-yard punt. Key plays: Garcia threw a screen pass on the second play to Lattimore that was good for 11 yards and a first down; Garcia threw a pass to Jeffery for 7 yards to the Florida 47 that picked up another first down; Garcia and Jeffery hooked up on a 4-yard completion for another first down on third-and-1 at the Florida 38. Score: South Carolina 12, Florida 7.
USC—FG Lanning 41 good at 0:00. Drive: 9 plays, 45 yards, 3 first downs, 3:19 time elapsed following Henry’s 43-yard punt that went out of bounds at the South Carolina 32. Key plays: Garcia completed a 14-yard pass to Jeffery on third-and-6, converted another third-down play with an 11-yard pass to Tori Gurley and then threw a screen pass to Lattimore who raced 20 yards across the field and out of bounds to set up Lanning’s field goal on the last play of the half. Score: South Carolina 15, Florida 7.
USC—Lattimore 21 run (Lanning kick good) at 10:05. Drive: 8 plays, 72 yards, 4 first downs, 4:55 time elapsed following second-half kickoff. Key plays: Garcia completed a pair of third-down passes for 19 yards to D.L. Moore and 12 yards to Tori Gurley, the latter followed by rushes of 18 and 21 yards (TD) by Lattimore. Score: South Carolina 22, Florida 7.
USC—Stephen Garcia 8 run (Lanning kick good) at 13:35. Drive: 4 plays, 28 yards, 1 first down, 1:52 time elapsed following Stephon Gilmore’s interception of John Brantley and 9-yard return to the Florida 28 on the next-to-last play of the third quarter. Key plays: Lattimore rushed for 18 yards on the last play of the third quarter, recovered Garcia’s fumbled lateral and then threw a block on Garcia’s touchdown run. Score: South Carolina 29, Florida 7.
FLA—Chris Rainey 26 pass from Jordan Reed (Henry kick good) at 7:12. Drive: 8 plays, 70 yards, 3 first downs, 1:58 time elapsed following Lanning’s 39-yard punt and Chris Rainey return of 0 yards to the 30. Key plays: Brantley completed a 20-yard pass to Deonte Thompson on the first play of the drive; Brantley’s 11-yard pass completion to Carl Moore on the sideline converted a third-and-5 play from the South Carolina 45; Reed came in on fourth-and-2 at the South Carolina 26, took the snap, ran toward the line to draw in the defenders and then hit Rainey out in the flat and Rainey did the rest. Score: South Carolina 29, Florida 14.
USC—Lattimore 11 run (Lanning kick good) at 2:43. Drive: 4 plays, 25 yards, 1 first down, 2:14 time elapsed following Jeff Demps’ fumble and Josh Dickerson’s recovery at the Florida 25. Key plays: On second-and-6 play from the Florida 21, Lattimore galloped for 11 yards and a first down; Following a breather, Lattimore returned to the lineup and rushed up the middle where he was met by a host of Florida tacklers at the 3. The scrum looked like it was going nowhere until South Carolina offensive guard Garrett Chisolm fell off his block and into the pile, moving it into the end zone. Score: South Carolina 36, Florida 14.
Attendance: 90,885 (third highest all-time).
Weather: Clear skies, 57 degrees, relative humidity 71 percent, winds from the NE at 2 miles per hour.
Officials: Matt Moore, referee; Johnny Hibbett, umpire; Lane Thomas, linesman; Kirk Lewis, line judge; Tony Josselyn, back judge; Jeff Batts, field judge; Chris Conley, side judge; Steve Howard, scorer.
Coin toss: South Carolina wins toss, defers to second half and kicks off defending the South End Zone.
Kickoff: 7:26 p.m. End of Game: 10:40 p.m. Elapsed time: 3:14.
Records: Florida 6-4, 4-4 SEC East; South Carolina 7-3, 5-3 SEC East.
Next games: Florida vs. Appalachian State, 12:30 p.m. Nov. 20 (PPV/ESPN3.com); South Carolina vs. Troy, 12:21 p.m. (SEC Network/ESPN3.com).
Rankings above are Bowl Championship Series standings for Week 4
To see the final statistics for the Gators and Gamecocks, click below:
04 Miami (Ohio) W, 34-12 (1-0, 0-0 SEC East)
11 South Florida W, 38-14` (2-0, 0-0 SEC East)
18 at Tennessee (SEC) W, 31-17 (3-0, 1-0 SEC East)
25 Kentucky (SEC) W, 48-14 (4-0, 2-0 SEC East)
02 at Alabama (SEC) L, 6-31 (4-1, 2-1 SEC East)
09 Louisiana State (SEC) L, 29-33 (4-2, 2-2 SEC East)
16 Mississippi State (SEC) L, 7-10 (4-3, 2-3 SEC East)
30 Georgia (Jacksonville) (SEC) W, 34-31 ot (5-3, 3-3 SEC East)
06 at Vanderbilt (SEC) W, 55-14 (6-3, 3-4 SEC East)
13 South Carolina (SEC) L, 14-36 (6-4, 4-4 SEC East)
20 Appalachian State 12:30 p.m. (PPV/ESPN3.com)
27 at Florida State TBA (TBA)
WEEK 11 GAMES
For the scores, standings and future schedules after Week 11’s games, click below: