Blue & Out: Gators blown out by Gamecocks
The South Carolina Gamecocks took over The Swamp with a convincing 36-14 victory Saturday night before 90,885.
Published: Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 8:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 11:55 p.m.
With the SEC's East Division title on the line, Florida coach Urban Meyer ordered a blue-out game for the Gators and their fans earlier in the week.
Three things to know
1. Andre Debose returned the game's opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to give the Gators a 7-0 lead, but the Gamecocks pretty much dominated the next 59-plus minutes to pin a humbling one-sided loss on Florida.
2. It was an historic performance by Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks. It was USC's first victory at Florida Field and gave the Gamecocks their first SEC Eastern Division title in school history.
3. From start to finish, the UF offense was pretty much a muddled mess. The Gators' only offensive touchdown came on a 26-yard pass from Jordan Reed to Chris Rainey with only 7:12 left in the game.
What he got instead was a blowout game.
A blowout loss.
And this was a painful and humbling one for sure. Not only did it crush the Gators' championship hopes, it came at the hands of Florida coaching legend Steve Spurrier, whose South Carolina Gamecocks took over The Swamp with a convincing 36-14 victory Saturday night before 90,885.
"We're just not very good," UF coach Urban Meyer said. "We're not executing very good. We've had not-good teams before. Execution-wise, we're not where we need to be. We're just not a great team now."
Meyer was asked what was the most disappointing aspect of the defeat.
"It's hard for me to start to let you know that," he said. "It probably takes some in-depth thought."
The defeat drops UF to 6-4 on the season and 4-4 in the SEC. The victory sends South Carolina (7-3 and 5-3) to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta for the first time in school history. It was also the Gamecocks' first victory at Florida Field.
Perhaps the worst part of the Gator nightmare Saturday night came at game's end, when Spurrier received a victory ride on the shoulders of his players.
Was it one of Spurrier's biggest wins in The Swamp?
"I'll answer it this way: It's the latest," Spurrier said. "We feel fortunate to come down here and beat them.
"It's one of the biggest (wins in USC history). Now that we've won it, it's in the top five. We'll celebrate the SEC East a little more than they do. ... God smiled on the Gamecocks tonight. We had a lot of good things go our way early in the game. Just a tremendous team victory. We really just gave everybody on the team a game ball."
As bad as the night went for the Gators, it could have been worse, the way the Gamecocks dominated play on both sides of the ball for the majority of the night.
The most dominant Gamecock of all was true freshman tailback Marcus Lattimore, who ran over and through the Gators for 212 yards and three touchdowns on a whopping 40 carries.
The second-most dominant Gamecocks were the 11 on defense. South Carolina suffocated the Florida offense, holding the Gators to a mere three first downs and 67 total yards through the first three quarters.
The Gators had no answer for Lattimore or the USC defense.
"I think (our defense) was on the field all night, and that kid is a good back," Meyer said.
The Florida offense had an even harder time trying to crack the attacking USC defense.
UF's lone offensive touchdown came midway through the fourth quarter on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Reed to Chris Rainey.
The Gators came into the game hoping to exploit a banged-up USC secondary that had struggled in recent games. But the Gators' downfield passing game was missing for most of the night, especially when the game was on the line.
"We just didn't execute," Meyer said. "The plan was to get downfield. We just weren't able to execute. Our whole offense struggled."
Junior quarterback John Brantley played the majority of the game. He completed 16 of 31 passes for only 130 yards, was sacked twice and threw an interception.
"There's really no explanation right now," Brantley said. "We just couldn't get things going. You can't do that against a good team like South Carolina. South Carolina played a great game and we couldn't get things going."
Of the Gators' 226 total yards of offense, 159 came in the fourth quarter after the outcome had been decided.
Given what transpired over the course of the night, perhaps the most amazing thing of all was the Gators actually led the game 7-0 when redshirt freshman Andre Debose returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. The score came 14 seconds into the game.
"Coach (Meyer) called the perfect play and we executed," Debose said. "I just saw a whole bunch of grass and a helpless kicker. I made him miss and ran as fast as I could."
Any momentum gained by that quick early strike was slowly eroded by Lattimore and the ball-control USC offense, and the attacking, dominating Gamecock defense.
The Gamecocks dominated the rest of the first half.
Spencer Lanning kicked field goals of 49, 47 and 41 yards, and Lattimore scored on a 7-yard run to give USC a 15-7 lead (that seemed much larger than it actually was).
Lattimore put the game away for the Gamecocks early in the second half, when he sliced through the porous Florida defense for a 21-yard TD run that put USC up 22-7.
Led by Lattimore, the Gamecocks rolled up 24 first downs and 395 yards of total offense.