Place: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida
Steve Spurrier built Florida into a powerhouse in the 1990s behind a high-powered offense that helped produce six SEC titles and one national championship. When Spurrier – now the head coach at South Carolina – returns to Gainesville on Saturday, he’ll hardly recognize the program he left.
That won’t make the task any easier for Spurrier and No. 8 South Carolina against the fourth-ranked Gators, who have used a staunch ground game to remain undefeated and climb to No. 2 in the season’s initial BCS standings.
The Gamecocks have won the last two meetings, including a 36-14 win in 2010 that marked their first win in Gainesville following 12 consecutive losses.
South Carolina Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1 SEC): The Gamecocks had their 10-game win streak snapped in a 23-21 loss last week at Louisiana State in the second of three straight matchups against top-10 opponents. LSU, which lost at Florida a week earlier, limited star running back Marcus Lattimore to a season-low 35 yards on 13 carries.
Lattimore rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns at Florida two years ago but missed last season’s matchup due to a knee injury. Quarterback Connor Shaw, who struggled in last week’s loss, hurt Florida more with his legs than his arm last season, rushing for 88 yards and two TDs in South Carolina’s 17-12 victory.
Florida Gators (6-0, 5-0): Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel threw for only 77 yards in last week’s 31-17 win at Vanderbilt, but he ran for three touchdowns and 177 yards – eclipsing the school-record 166 yards rushing by a QB set by Tim Tebow. Florida ranks last in the SEC in passing and has accumulated a combined 138 yards through the air in the past two games.
That number has been offset by a running game featuring Mike Gillislee, who has three 100-yard games and has rushed for seven touchdowns, and a defense that is third in the SEC against the run. Florida has shown its mettle by erasing halftime deficits to beat Texas A&M, Tennessee and LSU.
1. Florida has already matched its regular-season win total from a year ago.
2. Lattimore has run for 10 touchdowns this season and has rushed for 37 TDs in 27 career games.
3. The Gators lead the all-time series 23-6-3 and have won 17 of 20 meetings since South Carolina joined the SEC.