2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 11 - Florida at South Carolina
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Nov. 12 at South Carolina 17 … Florida 12
CFN Analysis: The South Carolina defense and the line came through to keep the SEC title hopes alive. The Gamecocks made three sacks and camped out in the backfield with the pressure coming from all angles and several different spots. … Brandon Wilds might not be Marcus Lattimore, but he carried the attack for stretches with a tough 120 yards on 29 carries, while Connor Shaw ran for 88 yards and two scores and threw for 81. … The USC passing game just isn’t going to be there. It’s not getting better. … The ten-win regular season is still there for the taking with the layup against Citadel next week before closing out against Clemson.
The offensive line had a hard time against the South Carolina defensive front, and John Brantley didn’t get enough time to work, but Chris Rainey got room to move and he had one of his best games of the year with 132 yards on just 17 carries. … There’s no downfield passing game. Brantley isn’t playing all that well, but the receivers aren’t exactly helping the cause. The receivers aren’t getting any separation. … Jonathan Bostic made 12 tackles to lead the D, but the Gators only came up with three tackles for loss. … With Furman up next, Florida will be bowl eligible, but it’ll take a win over Florida State to turn the season into a positive.
(AP) COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Quarterback Connor Shaw ran for 88 yards and two touchdowns to lead South Carolina to a 17-12 win over Florida on Saturday.
Freshman Brandon Wilds ran for 120 yards as the No. 15 Gamecocks (8-2, 6-2 Southeastern) pounded the Gators (5-5, 3-5) and left themselves a chance to make it to a second straight SEC title game.
South Carolina led 14-3 after Shaw's sneak just before the half, but Florida rallied. A 2-yard touchdown run by Jacoby Brissett made it 14-12, but the Gators never threatened again.
The win gives South Carolina six SEC victories for the first time since joining the league in 1992. But the Gamecocks will need Georgia to lose to either Auburn on Saturday or Kentucky next week to win the SEC East.
Florida (5-4) at South Carolina (7-2) Nov. 12, 12:00, CBS
Here’s The Deal … Florida had beaten South Carolina 18 times in 19 games going back to 1939, and it had never lost in Gainesville – with most of the “home” losses coming Tampa. But last year, Marcus Lattimore rumbled over the Gators as Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks rolled to a 36-14 win and the SEC East crown. The East is still on the table, for South Carolina, but it’ll take some work and some hope. Meanwhile, Florida is just trying to put the pieces of a once-proud program back together.
Florida struggled throughout last year, but it would’ve won the East had it taken care of business at home against the Gamecocks. Since that loss, Florida has gone 3-5 in SEC play including an ugly four-game losing streak before getting back on track with a win over Vanderbilt.
Will Muschamp’s first year has been too much of a fight, with an offense that can’t move the ball on a regular basis and a defense that’s not playing up to its talent level or coaching skill. However, a win over South Carolina will mean a 7-4 record – assuming a win next week over Furman – before hosting Florida State. After going 0-for-October, if Florida can win all four November games and come up with a bowl victory, this will be the hot team going into 2012.
South Carolina could run the table in the East and still finish second in the division unless Georgia loses to Auburn this week or Kentucky next week. If the Dawgs lose again and the Gamecocks beat the Gators, it’ll be on to the SEC title game for a second straight season. For a program that’s known nothing but mediocrity and misery throughout its long history, no matter how down the East might be over the last two seasons, two division titles would be a major accomplishment.
Just as the offense has sputtered without QB Stephen Garcia and RB Marcus Lattimore, the defense has picked up its production – until last week. The Gamecocks were torn apart by Arkansas for 435 yards in the 44-28 loss to open the door for Georgia, but there’s still a chance at a ten-win season by winning out. Even if there isn’t an East title to take home this year, if the year can finish up with wins over Florida and Clemson on the way to a 10-2 record, it would be just the second ten-win season in school history.
Why South Carolina Might Win: The defensive line could suffocate the Gator offense.
The Gamecocks aren’t generating a slew of sacks and they’re ninth in the league in tackles for loss, but this is an ultra-disruptive group that’s always generating pressure and always finding ways to screw things up. The defense might have only come up with one sack and seven tackles for loss against Arkansas last week, but it beat up quarterback Tyler Wilson along the way and forced a horrible throw into the arms of Devin Taylor, who took it 48 yards for a score.
The Florida offensive line has been mediocre at best, a liability at worst, and it hasn’t done all that well against good pass rushing lines able to tee off into the backfield. Alabama set up a camp behind the Gator line, Tennessee made negative play after negative play, and Georgia’s Jarvis Jones wore Gator QB John Brantley as a hat. South Carolina hasn’t turned the dogs loose in a while because it hasn’t had to. Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Tennessee’s passing games are so sad that the USC D spent its time focusing on just generating enough pressure to screw things up. Against Florida, getting to Brantley from the ends shouldn’t be a problem. And then the mistakes will come.
Florida is 110th in the nation in turnover margin, giving the ball away 17 times on the year including eight in the last four games and at least two in five games. South Carolina isn’t ultra-careful with the ball, but it’s not bad with a +0.22 margin on the season. However …
Why Florida Might Win: Turnovers have been a big problem over the last few weeks. Fumbles were never a worry when Lattimore was running the ball, but the Gamecocks haven’t had the same luck over the last few weeks with five fumbles in the last two games, losing them all, to go along with four interceptions in the last three outings. But there are bigger issues to deal with.
Hello, South Carolina’s offense, where are you? The days of Steve Spurrier leading Florida to soaring offensive heights are long gone, with his Gamecocks sputtering and coughing against mediocre defense after mediocre defense. It’s not like they’ve had to deal with LSU and Alabama; but still, generating more than a few touchdowns on offense each game has been like pulling teeth, needing the defense to come up with big plays to help set things up.
Five of the 11 touchdown passes thrown came in the win over Kentucky, and there hasn’t been more than one scoring pass thrown in the other eight games. Meanwhile, the Lattimore-less running game hasn’t exactly been consistent, running for just 79 yards – but three scores – last week against Arkansas. Florida gave up 200 yards on the ground just twice this year, and getting rolled over by LSU and Alabama isn’t anything to be too ashamed about.
What To Watch Out For: Florida used to have a nightmare of a time with penalties under Urban Meyer, but things have sunk to a new low under Muschamp. The Gators are dead last in the nation in penalties, but after committing 14 for 106 yards against Georgia, they came up with a season-low three for 17 yards last week, showing a new-found discipline against Vanderbilt. Meanwhile, South Carolina committed ten penalties earlier in the year against the Commodores and sinned nine times last week for 45 yards. In a game with two struggling offenses, penalty yards and field position will matter.
John Brantley needs to come up with a big win. A great passing prospect, he was supposed to shine this year with the new coaching staff and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, but it hasn’t happened yet with just six touchdown passes and three picks after throwing a mere nine touchdown passes and ten interceptions last year. In his first game back from an ankle injury he completed just 12-of-34 passes against Georgia, but they went for 245 yards and a score.
Last week he was more accurate against Vanderbilt completing 16-of-24 passes for just 173 yards.
His receivers aren’t allowing him to push the ball down the field, with most of the big plays coming from short passes to the backs, but against the USC secondary, he has to take a few chances. The Gamecocks hadn’t exactly faced a who’s who of passing games until last week, and then Tyler Wilson, Jarius Wright, and Arkansas went nuts.
What Will Happen: South Carolina will make it two in a row over the Gators for the first time since the 1930s. The pressure from the Gamecock line will screw up Brantley, while the linebackers will be disciplined enough to keep the big runs from Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey to a minimum. It’s going to be ugly, but the USC defense will make the stops needed late to overcome a sluggish day from Connor Shaw and the attack.
CFN Prediction: South Carolina 20 … Florida 13
Click For Latest Line From ATS: South Carolina -3.5 O/U: 45
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