The Gators look to bounce back this week after a pitiful showcase of football last week against the Missouri Tigers. After back to back loses the team is now searching for leadership. Many players in the locker room admitted last weeks game was “uninspired football” they came out flat because of their playoff hope being tarnished after the Georgia loss. However, there’s plenty of football to be played. Last year the team lacked mental and physical toughness, this year they’ve seemed to solve the toughness side the of the game but they still lack the mental side. This week the Gators take on their former coach Will Muschamp and he brings in a wounded South Carolina team. Can the Gators finally get in the win column? Read along as Harrison Tenzer and I give you a breakdown of today’s game.
Harrison‘s Key Matchups:
Franks vs South Carolina’s Secondary
South Carolina’s secondary is extremely depleted. It’s so bad that Muschamp has said its the worst injury bug he’s ever seen…. and he coached here in 2013. They’ve given up less than 24 points once all season vs power 5 teams all year and that was vs Vanderbilt. Also, they’re fresh off giving up 44 to Ole Miss with 379 yards through the air, Franks has to take advantage of that. Will he is the 6 million dollar question that will likely decide the game
Florida Defense vs South Carolina’s Playmakers
On offense for SC, you have Jake Bentley who I think 90% of America isn’t sure if he’s good or not. The Gamecocks have weapons around Bentley such as Debo Samuel who is going to play on Sundays alongside Bryan Edwards. Florida’s defense has to do a good job of containing those two. During the Georgia game, Florida had no answer for WR Jeremiah Holloman and RB D’Andre Swift. As for last week against Missouri, RB Damarea Crockett and WR Emanuel Hall both had great games against this defense. If the Gators want to win this game they have slow down Samuel and Edwards.
Offensive X-factors: Florida’s Running Backs
Florida did a great job establishing the run against Tennessee, Miss St, LSU, and Vanderbilt, but as of late they’ve seemed to have gone away from it. Florida must get back to running the ball effectively if they want to win. The Gamecocks are giving up over a 180 yards per game this season, Florida is averaging just about 184 per game so it should be a productive day for Scarlett and Perine.
Defensive X-Factor: DE Jachai Polite
Jachai Polite has had a phenomenal season so far totaling 7 sacks, and 10.5 tackles for loss. Although lately, Polite has been quiet. At one point during the season, he was averaging a sack every game leading up to the Georgia loss. Polite is due for a big game. If Florida wants to have any success on defense it all starts up front with their defensive line reckonings havoc, which could all start with Polite.
Overall Feeling and Prediction
Harrison: Overall this game has good WRs vs A banged up and thin secondary’s with average at best Quarterback play. With that being said Florida is more talented almost everywhere else including the head coach, and play calling. It’s going to come down to what defense blows a coverage or two and if Feleipe Franks makes the throws to win the game. I don’t trust Franks at all, but I trust the rest of this team. Most importantly I trust Dan Mullen to go in his bag to get out a much-needed win to stop the bleeding.
Florida 23, South Carolina 16
Darien: It’s a tough one to call for me. The mood around this locker room just seems defeated. Yes, the players have come out and said to the media that they’re ready to bounce back and showcase their toughness, but it doesn’t matter until the product on the field matches. It all comes down to coaching in my opinion. Muschamp won’t take many chances and depend on his defense to win the game. Look for Muschamp to bring in mixed coverages to confuse Franks at the line of scrimmage. Mullen will try to make things simple as possible for Franks. Look for screen passes, one read passing plays and a heavy dose of the running backs. It’ll be more of a defensive battle but I think Mullen brings out a trick play that seals the deal.
Florida 21, South Carolina 13.
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