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ESPN College Gameday 2012: Florida Defense Will Overpower South Carolina Offense

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ESPN College Gameday 2012: Florida Defense Will Overpower South Carolina Offense
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

College Gameday will head to the Swamp on Saturday to see the crucial SEC East matchup between the Florida Gators and South Carolina Gamecocks.

Coming off a 23-21 loss at LSU last weekend, South Carolina will be playing to keep their SEC title hopes alive. Florida will be looking to extend to stay undefeated and continue on the road to an SEC championship matchup with Alabama.

The Gators have had great success in their past appearances on Gameday, going 23-11, 2-0 this season. Their defense has been dominant, allowing just 20 points in three home games.

South Carolina's offense will pose the biggest threat Florida has seen thus far. Quarterback Connor Shaw's play will be a major factor. His inability to run the ball last week and his two interceptions were too much for the Gamecocks to overcome.

If he can be effective on the ground and limit his mistakes through the air—as he did against Georgia—South Carolina could make this a game.

Of course, you can't mention the Gamecocks' offense without talking about Marcus Lattimore. He has scored a touchdown in 13 of his last 14 games and can wear down a defense. But his status for Saturday's game is still unknown as he battles back from a bruised hip.

He played last week against LSU but was ineffective, rushing 13 times for just 35 yards as he obviously struggled with the hip injury.

As powerful as the Gamecocks are on offense, Florida has the ability to stop them. The Gators are allowing just 3.27 yards per rush and have surrendered only three passing touchdowns while intercepting seven passes.

There aren't any standout defensive stars on the Gators, just a cohesive group of solid players, according to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

You'll hear me say to the guys, 'I think the best player on our defense is our defense,' We have a number of guys who we feel like can make plays on our defense; I think that's good.

Florida will have to rely on that defense to shut down Shaw and create issues early. If the Gators can stifle the Gamecocks' running game and make Shaw go to the air, it could be an ugly game for South Carolina and its high-powered offense.  

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