1) Kelvin Taylor will rush for over 100 yards. South Carolina’s got a porous defense that’s surrendering 428 yards a game, including 208 per game on the ground. And this offensive line took a step backwards last week against Vanderbilt, meaning they’ll be looking to bounce back. Expect a big day from Taylor on the ground.
2) Florida won’t give up a touchdown. The Gamecocks have a good kicker in Elliott Fry who may get them some points here and there, but South Carolina’s offense is one dimensional and won’t function in the red zone. Not even against a depleted Gator defense.
3) Treon Harris will throw at least two touchdown passes. I also expect Harris to have a bounce back performance. He looked good (well, better) toward the end of the Vandy game, completing five of the six passes he attempted in the fourth quarter. He seems to be more comfortable in the pocket, and the more he operates from between the hashmarks, the better off he’ll be. He also has the luxury of facing a brain dead Gamecock defense with little star power and nothing to play for.
4) Florida’s defense will intercept multiple passes. South Carolina’s offense relies heavily on Brandon Wilds in the running game, but when QB Perry Orth is forced to throw, bad things can happen. Orth has been picked off six times on 166 pass attempts this year, which is due to a combination of weak offensive line play and bad decision making. Florida’s defense will happily exploit both those things, and DBU- meaning Vernon Hargreaves, Jalen Tabor Keanu Neal, etc.- will rise again.
5) A Florida player will get ejected for targeting for the third straight game. There exists no knowledge of anything to reasonably predict this, but my hope is that the use of reverse psychology here will break the streak of Florida players getting ejected for targeting penalties that should not be called.
6) Jordan Scarlett will score a rushing touchdown. It’s time for the Gators’ big time backup to get some love in the scoring column. He was a workhorse late against Georgia, but is still looking for that elusive first touchdown in an SEC game. Florida should blow this game open, though, and get him plenty of opportunities to get it.
7) South Carolina will accrue less than 250 yards of total offense. For essentially the same reason as prediction #4. Florida knows the only real threat to hurt them is Brandon Wilds- Pharaoh Cooper can’t do diddly if Orth can’t get him the ball- so they’ll load the box and take their chances with Orth through the sky.
8) Florida’s offense will produce a play of 25 or more yards. What starts out as a shaky defense will only get tired as the Gators continue to roll. Here comes a highlight reel play from somebody, and if you want a guess on who that somebody is, I say Antonio Callaway.
9) Florida will lead by double digits at halftime. This isn’t to say I expect Treon Harris to come flying out of the gates completing his first twelve passes. But I do think he’ll get into a groove fairly quickly against the anemic SC defense. Meanwhile, Kelvin Taylor and Jordan Scarlett will give him some confidence by gaining yards for him when all he has to do is hand the ball off to them. And of course, the defense figures to set up a short field or two with a turnover. Florida should be up by at least ten, and probably more, at halftime.
10) Florida will struggle for a quarter or two, but then they’ll put the game away by midway through the third quarter. I see no more danger in South Carolina than I do in Florida Atlantic. What that means is, Florida has to self destruct to such an unbelievable extent in order to lose that this same extent of self inflicted wounds would also probably cost them the game against FAU. Carolina wants to make a bowl game, so they’ll play tough. Hence the first part of this prediction. But at some point, pure talent and coaching wins. Florida wakes up well before they need to and remove the Gamecocks from bowl consideration with a resounding win in Williams-Brice Stadium.
Projection: Florida 34, South Carolina 9