Football Season On The Line Against Gators

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When the season started, there was talk of SEC titles and National Championships for the Gamecocks, and now at 4-5 with only three games left, the only time those milestone possibilities are discussed is talking about Gamecocks opponents.  This week South Carolina is traveling to Gainesville, Florida to take on the 5-3 Gators who are holding out hope to win the SEC East.  The Gamecocks, on the other hand, are hoping to fight their way into a bowl game and a winning record by the end of the season.    The question is which of these scenarios will give one team the advantage?

There are definitely some positives about this season for South Carolina.  They enter this game 19th in the nation in passing yards per game and Dylan Thompson is on track to set the Gamecocks all-time single season passing yards record.  They also are 23rd in the nation in scoring offense per game at almost 36 points every game.  But no one is going to be concerned with individual records and team stats in a few weeks if they finish the season with a losing record.  So what does this game look like?

On one hand Florida brings one of the nation’s top defenses into this game, holding opponents to less than 300 yards a game this season.  However, both Alabama and Missouri put up more than 40 points against them this year.  South Carolina may not be winning games lately, but they have put up more than 500 yards of total offense in four consecutive games.  Their high powered offense has been hard to slow down and with Rory Anderson returning at tight end, they have yet another weapon in their arsenal.  With Coach Spurrier returning to Gainesville, he will probably pull out the stops to ensure the offense puts up a lot of points.

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This strategy could actually work this week for the Gamecocks.  Although their defense has struggled, especially late in the game, the Gators are not a very potent offense like many of the teams South Carolina has played this year.  Although they had a better week last week, it was against Vanderbilt, a team in which many others could say the same thing after they’ve played them.  This could be the game in which the Gamecocks could win a shootout because the Gators just don’t have enough firepower even against the struggling defense of South Carolina.

Gamecock fans are definitely nervous heading into this week.  A loss Saturday means the best they could hope for is a .500 season, and that’s with a win against a Clemson team who is hot right now.  No, this game is a must win to salvage this season, no doubt about it.