Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators win sixth straight with rout of Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks

GAINESVILLE

When Urban Meyer heard that his former boss and close friend Lou Holtz had picked his Gators as a possible upset special going up against South Carolina on Saturday, Meyer wasn't the least bit insulted. The Gamecocks had the third-best defense in the nation and entered the game having won six of seven. So Meyer clearly understood where Holtz was coming from. Heck, he was worried about the same thing. But with a unit of his own that's ranked No. 4 nationally in scoring

defense and an offense that has become nearly unstoppable, Meyer had no worries at all.

In front of a sold-out Ben Hill Griffin Stadium crowd, No. 3 Florida defeated No. 24 South Carolina 56-6, becoming the first league team in SEC history to win six consecutive games by a margin of 28 or more points. It was the worst loss for South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier in his college tenure.

"I had that same, sick feeling in my stomach," Meyer said, referring to a possible upset. "I watched them on film, I saw the talent level. All you've got to do is give Coach Spurrier a couple of weapons and you've got a problem. He's got a couple of good weapons, but so do we."

Meyer's weapons were potent.

To get a sense of just how well the Gators are playing offensively — and how quickly they are jumping on opponents — consider this: Florida (9-1, 7-1 SEC) has outscored its opponents 125-7 in the first quarter this season. Florida has now earned victories against five of the nation's top 28 defenses. Against the SEC's best defense, Florida amassed 519 total yards, including 346 rushing yards against a unit that was allowing 101.4 per game.

"We prepared so hard throughout the week," said junior wide receiver/running back Percy Harvin, who had touchdown runs of 26 and 80 yards, the latter a career long. "Our offense battles our defense throughout the week, so when it comes to the game, it becomes pretty easy."

The Gators' first possession Saturday ended with a fumble by Jeff Demps, and their second went nine plays and just 32 yards before they were forced to punt.

But when the points started coming, they came fast.

Florida scored three touchdowns in a 2:15 span, taking a 21-0 lead with just more than two minutes to play in the first quarter. By early in the second quarter, South Carolina (7-4, 4-4) had given up more points (28) than it had all season in an entire game.

"It got out of hand early," Spurrier said. "We're not a great team by any means. Today, we played like we're not a good team at all."

And once again, the Gators defense had its hand in the mix. Florida's first two touchdowns were a direct result of the defense.

Facing third and 5, South Carolina quarterback Chris Smelley was intercepted by junior linebacker Brandon Spikes, who returned it 12 yards for a touchdown with 4:37 remaining in the first quarter. On the Gamecocks' next possession, Smelley was intercepted by Ahmad Black, which set up Harvin's 26-yard touchdown run.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was 13-of-20 for 173 yards and two touchdowns, a 46-yarder to Deonte Thompson and a 5-yarder to tight end Aaron Hernandez. He also rushed for one touchdown.

"We've got a lot of playmakers on offense and defense, and guys are just going out and trying to win," Tebow said. "That's our goal, just to win."

The Gators held South Carolina to 53 rushing yards, and Spurrier's two-pronged quarterback rotation of Smelley and Tampa's Stephen Garcia was held to a combined 19-of-37 for 120 yards and three interceptions.

"Their defense was playing great," Garcia said. "We really hurt ourselves by committing those turnovers. It's hard to dig out of a 21-0 deficit. They threw a lot of coverages and made things difficult all night."

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

No. 3 UF 56

No. 24 S.C. 6

Florida Gators win sixth straight with rout of Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks 11/15/08 [Last modified: Saturday, November 15, 2008 10:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  2. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  3. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  5. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule

    Tennis

    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]