By the Numbers: Gamecocks vs. Gators

With the Gamecocks in the throes of the dreaded “Orange Crush”, the numbers may tell a story of a team on the rise and a defense that can’t. Florida has looked great in their last two outings, and the Gamecocks have not. Numbers don’t lie, and this is what they say.

632- Total rushing yards for the Gators in the last two games. With the advent of Treon Harris taking snaps for Florida and the Gamecock D’s inability to stop the mobile quarterback this year, Florida may be looking to gash another defense on the ground. Florida currently ranks 12th in the SEC in total rushing offense, but don’t let that number fool you: 12th in the SEC translates into 32 in the nation. The Gamecocks will benefit from the return on star linebacker Skai Moore, but they will need to shore up their rush defense in order to keep the game competitive.

10- The number of turnovers the Gamecocks have forced this year. 5 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries may seem like great numbers, until you factor in the fact that Dylan Thompson has turned the ball over 10 times in the air alone. The focus the last few weeks according to defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward has been forcing turnovers, but perhaps it hasn’t quite translated completely yet. Although the Cocks forced a turnover against Tennessee, they were unable to stop the Vols on the ground, mostly due to poor tackling. Florida running back Matt Jones will look to expose this weakness in the defense, and the Gamecocks will need to force turnovers to keep Jones and company off the field.

7- Mike Davis is the 7th ranked running back in the SEC by total yards rushed. Already over the 800 yard mark, Davis is within striking distance to surpass all his competition with the exception of Cameron Artis-Payne. Steve Spurrier isn’t your typical coach, but as he said in this week’s press conference, you have to run the ball to help an ailing defense. Keeping the ball in the hands of the Gamecock stable of running backs may force the Gators defense, statistically one of the best in the nation, to force the issue. If they do that, Thompson and Spurrier will exploit any mistake the Gators make by throwing deep to the Carolina receivers—something both the HBC and the senior captain are already inclined to do. All this, however, is predicated on the Gamecocks committing to the running game and exposing the Florida defense to mistakes.

1-10- The Gamecocks record against the Gators in the Swamp (since joining the SEC). At one point, the Gators won 14 in a row against South Carolina. The lone win in Gainesville came in 2010, which enabled the Cocks to win the SEC Eastern Championship. Carolina has a chance in the game this weekend, but if they want to win, they’ll have to shore up defensively and avoid costly turnovers and penalties.

South Carolina vs. Florida kickoff is noon est, and the game is televised on the SEC Network.

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