The second ranked Florida Gator football team welcomed the seventh ranked South Carolina Gamecocks to the Swamp on Saturday for what many believed to be a close matchup between two top ten SEC East opponents.
That was not the case.
The Gators stomped the Gamecocks 44-11 forcing turonvers on both defense and special teams to help create a short field for the Florida offense on multiple occasions. While the Gators only gained 29 total yards of offense in the first half, the team forced three turnovers in the half, all of which resulted in touchdown passes by Gator sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel, who threw a career high four touchdowns in the matchup. Gator head coach Will Muschamp says with all the emphasis he and his coaching staff put on creating turnovers, he is not surprised by today’s stat line.
As has been the story all season long, the second half brought even more success for the Gators than the first. Florida moved the ball much more effectively in the latter part of the game, gaining 154 yards and scoring on all three of its offensive drives in the third quarter. Driskel explains why the Gators continue to have success in the second half.
Part of the reason Florida was able to prevent South Carolina from getting into the end zone was because of Gator punter Kyle Christy. The sophomore was constantly pinning the Gamecocks inside their own 20 yard line by averaging 54 yards on his seven punts. Muschamp says being effective on special teams is essential to his team’s success.
Although the Gators did put up 44 points, both team’s defenses did play well during the game as neither squad gained 200 yards of offense. Florida senior running back Mike Gillislee was held to 37 yards on 19 carries, while South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who did not start the game because of a hip injury he suffered earlier in the week, was a non-factor in the game, only running the ball three times for 13 yards.
With the victory over South Carolina, Florida now improves to 7-0 on the season, matching its win total from last year. Coach Mushcamp says he’s happy he and his team are giving the Gator Nation something to cheer about.
The Gators will now focus on preparing for the Georgia Bulldogs next weekend in Jacksonville. Florida clinches the SEC East with a win over the Bulldogs.