South Carolina vs. Florida: Post Game Grades for Gators Win vs. Gamecocks
The No. 2 Florida Gators dominated the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks all day long, winning 44-11 in a blowout. The Gators answered any questions of whether they are legitimate national-title contenders, showing they are a force to be reckoned with this season.
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel was extremely impressive, throwing four touchdowns in the best game of his career. The play of the Gators defense and special teams was also key to the Gamecocks becoming Gator Bait.
Here are the complete post game grades.
Jeff Driskel — A+
If you put all of the Driskel doubters in a room, you could hear a pin drop. The sophomore quarterback had the best game of his career, completing 11-of-16 passes for 93 yards and four touchdowns.
Driskel was effective with his medium yardage completions and also showed mobility with his legs.
Driskel was extremely efficient and remained calm, even against the ever-dangerous South Carolina defensive line. He just keeps getting better and better, making the Gators heavyweights in the contention for the national title.
Mike Gillislee — C-
It wasn't his fault, but Gillislee never really got it going against the South Carolina defense. The Heisman candidate totaled only 37 yards on 19 carries—by far his lowest production of the season.
The simple fact was that the Gamecocks were not going to let Gillislee beat them. The offensive line struggled to open up holes and that was that.
Trey Burton — C+
Burton was a nice changeup for the Gators offense, coming in to run the Wildcat. Burton totaled only ten yards on five carries but he was able to keep drives alive when needed. Burton was also effective in keeping the Gamecocks defense off balance.
Jordan Reed — A
Reed came up huge for the Gators, catching two touchdown passes from Driskel in the red zone. The tight end's two scores tied the amount that he had all of last season.
Standing at 6'3", 240-plus, Reed is a great target for a young quarterback to have down near the goal line. Reed also showed off his speed, breaking off a 39-yard reception on a screen pass.
Quinton Dunbar — B
Driskel found Dunbar on a curl route in the red zone that the wideout took for a touchdown late in the second quarter. Dunbar did a good job of creating separation from the corner and then making a move to the end zone after the catch.
Frankie Hammond — B
Hammond, who combined for two catches for negative-one yards in the previous two contests, found the end zone at the end of the third quarter on a six yard reception from Driskel. The senior receiver finished with two catches for 16 yards and a score.
Offensive Line — C-
Driskel was smiling for most of the day, but that wasn't always the case—especially early on. The offensive line gave up three sacks, which isn't terrible considering who they were going up against. Heck, Jadeveon Clowney could make even NFL offensive lineman look childish (watch next season).
The most disappointing part, however, was their inability to open up running lanes for Gillislee. The Gators averaged only 1.9 yards per carry on 48 attempts. All Gillislee needed was a glimpse at daylight, but he saw nothing but Gamecocks from the time he took the handoff.
Credit South Carolina, though, as they sport the best defensive line in the country.
Defensive Line — A
The Gators defensive line did a great job at getting after the quarterback all day long. Dominique Easley, Leon Orr and Dante Fowler Jr. each had one sack. However, that understates how much pressure quarterbacks Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson faced every snap.
By making them uncomfortable in the pocket, the two quarterbacks combined for only 17-of-40 passing with no touchdowns. The defensive line was also effective at plugging the holes in the running game, limiting the Gamecocks to less than 1.5 yards per carry.
Linebackers — A
The defense played well all around, and the linebackers were no exception. Jelani Jenkins was a standout, totaling four tackles, including one sack.
The corp of linebackers was key in pressuring the Gamecocks quarterbacks by disguising blitzes and shooting the gaps. The backers were also extremely discipline in stopping the run, leaving no room for Marcus Lattimore to break through.
Anytime Lattimore has only 13 yards rushing, even if he is injured, it's been a good day for your front seven.
Defensive Backs — A+
Will Muschamp could not have asked for a better game from his secondary. The Gators defensive backs had an enormous impact on the game, allowing the Gamecocks receivers no separation, which led to the defensive line getting after the quarterbacks.
Josh Evans led the Gators with seven tackles, including one for a loss. Evans also had two pass breakups, which tied for a team high.
Sophomore Loucheiz Purifov had one of the plays of the day, sacking Shaw on South Carolina's first play from scrimmage and causing a fumble. This led to an early score for the Gators and they never looked back from there.
Kyle Christy — A+
It's not often that the punter is named the player of the game, but Christy is definitely worthy of consideration. The sophomore punter averaged more than 54 yards per punt on seven attempts, including a 62-yarder.
Christy's long, directional kicking neutralized return specialist Ace Sanders, who may be the most dangerous returner in the nation. Props to Christy on an amazing performance.
Caleb Sturgis — B
Sturgis hit a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter to give the Gators a 30-8 lead.
It was a fairly uneventful day for the kicker, aside from his blocked extra point that was returned for two points. Didn't matter much in the end though, as this game got out of hand fast.
Andre Debose — B+
All week Debose heard the Sanders hype, but he showed that he is dangerous with the ball in his hands as well. Coming out of halftime, Debose had a 39-yard return that gave the offense the ball past the 40 yard line.
The Gators went on to score a touchdown and the party in Gainesville was underway.
Coaching — A+
Spurrier has the national title trophy and the untouchable legacy, but Muschamp showed that there is a new sheriff in town. The Gators were dominant from start to finish, which is reflective of the job Florida's coaching staff did at preparing their team.
The Florida offense struggled in the first half, despite scoring three touchdowns, but the Gators coaching staff made great halftime adjustments—orchestrating an opening drive for a touchdown in the second half.
Muschamp and his staff were also creative with their play calling on offense, using screens and different looks to neutralize the Gamecocks' pass rush.
Spurrier didn't have his players ready to play; Muschamp did. Simple as that.
Want a new favorite for the College Football Coach of the Year Award? Muschamp is your man.