Odds and Ends

Steve Spurrier's second return to Gainesville as coach of South Carolina was nowhere near as tense for Gator fans as his first one. In the two years since then, Urban Meyer and his staff have recruited a team full of speed demons.

Spurrier's Gamecocks simply lack sufficient firepower to hang with a team like Florida, and Spurrier's playcalling genius was unable to do much to disguise that. The gap is wide and getting wider.

Nothing illustrates the difference between Florida and South Carolina right now more definitively than a look at Percy Harvin's numbers. With five minutes remaining and him having long since gone to the bench, Harvin was outgaining the Gamecocks by himself 173 yards to 156. He also had two touchdowns more than them. Until Spurrier has some players capable of creating big plays with their athleticism, his offense will continue to be just a shadow of what Gator fans remember so well and this game will be an annual win for Florida.


Florida's unreal first quarter dominance continued against the Gamecocks, as they exploited Gamecock ineptitude on their way to a 21-0 lead. A pair of interceptions and a bizarre attempted kickoff throwback all led directly to Florida touchdowns. The Gators have outscored their opponents 101-0 in the current six game winning streak.


When Brandon Spikes intercepted two passes against LSU, he picked up a penalty for celebrating the one he returned for a touchdown because he was so excited. The junior had never intercepted a pass before on any level, much less scored off of one. On South Carolina's third possession, Spikes did it again. He made a leaping catch of Chris Smelley's pass under pressure and then trotted in from twelve yards out to put Florida's first points of the day on the board. Spikes chose a good time to have a big day on national television - defensive All American team ballots for the Football Writers Association were due in this weekend.


Part of the reason for South Carolina's meltdown against the Gators may have been the intimidation factor of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. A quirk of the South Carolina schedule meant the Gamecocks had played just three road games coming into Gainesville. Those three had been at Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Kentucky, none of which are among the larger and more intimidating venues in the conference. Whatever the reason for the early failures, once Florida expanded their lead to 28-0 at the 11:17 mark of the second quarter the Gators had already scored more points against the Gamecocks than anyone had in a game this season.


With three games remaining to pad his numbers, Brandon James has already set a Florida single season record for punt return yards. The previous mark has been Jacquez Green's 392 yards during the 1997 season. James broke the record with a spectacular 39 yard punt return in the third quarter, giving him 427 for the year.


The fourth quarter has become developmental time for Florida each week, as a variety of young players get the chance to see action against SEC competition during this string of blowouts. Among the standouts this week was freshman safety Will Hill, who picked up his first career interception by making a beautiful play on a ball Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia had thrown while rolling to his right. Hill returned it thirty yards to the South Carolina 42 and set up the Gators eighth touchdown of the day to make it 56-6.

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