For Florida fans, it must have been fun and refreshing watching the offense move up and down the field in Baton Rouge last Saturday night. Against a large, loud and hostile crowd, quarterback Kyle Trask and the Gators were poised, composed and efficient, especially in the passing game.
Those expecting a similar offensive show from the Gators in Columbia on Saturday are going to be disappointed. The offense is going to struggle against a fast, physical South Carolina defense that pretty much wrecked a potent Georgia offense last Saturday. The Gamecocks forced four turnovers, gave up no first downs during two overtime periods and held the Bulldogs to just 17 points. Oh, yeah, and they also made veteran quarterback Jake Fromm look like a lost freshman at times.
So, the Gators are going to have a difficult time with this USC defense, and it starts where it always does, up front. The Florida offensive line is going to have all kinds of problems with defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and the USC defensive front. There will be no ground game, as usual, and the Gamecocks will then try to get all over Trask with the pass rush, just like they did to Fromm.
This is going to be a defensive struggle throughout. And if the Gators are without defensive ends Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga (and I think they will be), that’s going to be a big problem, just like it was against LSU.
This is going to be a low-scoring game that is going to be in doubt throughout.
It’s never easy.
But the Gators are going to be just a little bit better on both sides of the ball and find a way to escape Columbia with a victory that keeps them in control of their own destiny in the SEC East race.
Prediction: Florida 21, South Carolina 18.