The Florida Gator football team (6-4, 3-4) sent their seniors off in style for their last home game at the Swamp with a dominant performance against the South Carolina Gamecocks (6-4, 3-4) on Saturday, winning 38-6. With this win, the Gators are now bowl eligible.
— Florida Gators Football (@GatorsFB) November 13, 2022
The Gators controlled both sides of the ball in the first half
The Gators’ offense came out firing to begin the first half. Scoring on four consecutive possessions and pounding the rock with ease. After methodically moving its way down the field on their first drive, quarterback Anthony Richardson capped off a 75-yard drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown.
For the second score, Richardson aired out the ball 15 yards, finding Ricky Pearsall in the end zone to put the Gators up 14-0.
Yet, it would not stop there. On the following possession for the Gator offense, Trevor Etienne quickly found the end zone on an 85-yard touchdown.
The final score of the half for Florida came by way of kicker Adam Mihalek splitting the uprights from 28 yards out. This field goal put the Gators up 24-0 over the Gamecocks.
On defense, the Gators came out strong against the Gamecocks. They did not allow their opponents to score at all in the first quarter. They forced three straight punts and it looked to be heading for four until some trickery by the Gamecocks
After Trey Dean III made a good play to stop South Carolina on third down, many thought a punt was in order. Although, Gamecock head coach Shane Beamer did not. From the Florida 48-yard line, they went for a fake punt and hit receiver Dakereon Joyner down the sideline for a 48-yard touchdown. They went for two as well but failed to convert. This would be the final score of the half for either team, which led to the first half ending 24-6 in favor of Florida.
A Calmer Second Half for the Gators Offense But Not The Defense
Florida’s defense controlled the second half of this game as well. And while the offense shot out of the cannon in the first half, it began to slow down in the second half. The defense came out clicking on all cylinders. They forced three straight turnovers to begin the third quarter, but the offense only managed to score on one of them.
On the second possession of the half for South Carolina, defensive tackle Desmond Watson ripped the ball away from the ball carrier to give Florida possession in their opponent’s territory. Then, Anthony Richardson found Jonathan Odom, for his first career touchdown in the Orange and Blue.
Odom was happy to get it but instantly threw his praise towards the Gator run game that allowed him to have these types of opportunities.
Due to the Gators only scoring points on one of the three turnovers, they only led 31-6 entering the fourth quarter.
The defense continued its dominance into the fourth quarter as well, not allowing the Gamecocks to score. The closest the defense ever came to allowing points was at the beginning of the fourth quarter. However, they came up with a fourth-down stop in the red zone to end those thoughts.
There would be one final score on offense for Florida. A little bit past the halfway mark in the fourth, Montrell Johnson Jr. found the end zone from eight-yards out to cap the night at 38-6 in favor of the Gators. Johnson Jr. also had a career night himself. On 24 carries, he amassed a career-high 161 yards and one touchdown.
But it was the defense that stole the show against the Gamecocks and it was given some much needed appreciation from the Florida Gators Football Twitter account.
A defense appreciation post. pic.twitter.com/VPMDpL2nGi
— Florida Gators Football (@GatorsFB) November 12, 2022
Seniors are excited about the future of the program
Before the media had the chance to talk to some of the seniors, they were given the chance to talk to head coach Billy Napier. When asked about the seniors in the program, he very quickly singled out one guy on the defense.
Senior Ventrell Miller played his final game in the Swamp on Saturday. When asked about where the future stands for the Gator defense, he could only show excitement and praise for Napier and the underclassmen.
Fellow senior Trey Dean III said he, like Ventrell Miller, was excited and confident about the future for the younger guys at Florida.