- Date: November 6, 2021
- Time: 7:30pm EST
- Venue: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, South Carolina
- TV: SEC Network
- Record: Gators (4-4) Gamecocks (4-4)
Week 9 Recap
Last week, Florida lost to Georgia 34-7. The Gators lack of offense was not a major surprise given the Bulldog’s elite defense. Anthony Richardson got the start, but left the game with an injury. He finished the day 12/20 for 82 yards and added 26 yards on the ground. Emory Jones finished the game, and completed 10 of 14 passes for 112 yards and added 22 yards on the ground. The running game was stifled as compared to normal weeks, averaging just 4.1 yards per carry. They still gained 161 yards rushing, but this was due to 39 carries as a team. Dameon Pierce was by far the best running back last week, gaining 69 yards on just 9 carries.
The defense played well all things considered. They gave up 161 yards through the air on 19 attempts and had two interceptions, both by Rashad Torrence II. They gave up 193 yards on the ground, which is another poor performance against the run, after a similar result against LSU. Trey Dean III led the team in both tackles and tackles for loss, with 8 tackles and the only tackle for loss, which was a sack.
What to Watch
Florida’s Front 7 Against the Run
Florida has struggled as of late stopping the run. The Gators linebacker core has been without Ventrell Miller for the entire season, but that has been the only major injury in the front seven. The defensive line is full of solid players that at times have each shined, yet recently this group has struggled to stop the run. South Carolina on the other hand, has struggled to run the ball, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. This is a classic case of a stoppable force meeting a movable object.
The Gators have yet to really have any singular receiver pop to fill the voids of Kadarius Toney and Kyle Pitts. The leading receiver is Jacob Copeland, who has 25 catches for 450 yards. The yardage by him is solid, but nothing exceptional. Justin Shorter is second with 23 catches for 279 yards. No one else has over 200 yards.
Keys to Success
Quarterback play has been a big concern as of late. Anthony Richardson struggled in his limited action against Georgia. Emory Jones had been struggling in his last couple starts, and was mediocre against Georgia. Jones may start against the Gamecocks with Anthony Richardson recovering from a concussion. Jones on the year is 129/190 for 1417 yards and 10 touchdowns with 9 interceptions, and has added 517 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. South Carolina is not a good defense, so Jones has to have a great performance to prove he deserves to play the rest of the year. The Gators need to find consistent play out of one of them, and this may be Emory Jones’s last chance.
On the season, Florida is -7 in terms of turnover margin. This is 123rd in the country. They have forced 9 turnovers, 3 fumbles and 6 interceptions. They have turned the ball over 16 times. The Gators have only fumbled twice but have 14 interceptions. It is very difficult to win games when you are turning the ball over almost twice as much as opponents are. The interceptions have also often resulted in opponents’ touchdowns and have frequently occurred in clutch situations. The Gators desperately need to cut down on turnovers.
Last week against Georgia, the Gators had just one sack and it was by a safety. The defensive front was unable to affect the game at all in any aspect. Florida should go out to an early lead, and to keep that lead an effective pass rush is a necessity. Brenton Cox Jr was extremely ineffective last week and has yet to have a big game this season. Zach Carter has been up and down, and those downs have occurred in the last few games. On the interior, Gervon Dexter has been solid but has not added a ton as a pass rusher. Daquan Newkirk and the rest of the defensive tackle group aren’t freak athletes or skilled pass rushers, so the burden falls on Dexter and the defensive ends.
Florida vs South Carolina Score Prediction
Gators 42 – Commodores 21
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