Florida Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 8 Game vs. South Carolina

Stephen Sheehan@@StephenPSheehanCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2012

Florida Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 8 Game vs. South Carolina

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    What a difference a year makes. 

    In 2011, Florida went winless in October, but after a 44-11 stomping of South Carolina, Will Muschamp's team has a chance to seal a division title. 

    In a game that many expected to be a defensive struggle, it turned out the Gators' oft-criticized passing attack had some tricks up its sleeves. 

    Quarterback Jeff Driskel only completed 11 passes, but four of them—including two to Jordan Reed—were touchdowns. 

    With Marcus Lattimore rendered useless due to injury, the Gators defense put on another signature performance, holding the Gamecocks to just 191 yards. 

    Let's take a look at the winners and losers from the Gators' Week 8 win over the Gamecocks.

Winner: Jeff Driskel

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    Jeff Driskel might have had the most efficient quarterbacking performance in Gator history. 

    UF's rising sophomore star attempted just 16 passes and completed 11 for four touchdowns. 

    The 6'4" signal-caller overcame three sacks and some solid pressure by the Gamecocks' defensive front and found holes in the defense. 

    Although the offense certainly didn't dominate, tossing four touchdowns against a top-5 defense grades out as a huge win in my book. 

Loser: Mike Gillislee and the Running Game

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    Despite possessing the ball for over 35 minutes, Florida didn't run the ball too well on Saturday. 

    UF entered the game with one of the SEC's most proficient rushing attacks, but put up just 89 yards on 48 carries against South Carolina. 

    The Gators' offensive line didn't get much push against Jadeveon Clowney, Devin Taylor and the rest of the Gamecocks' defensive front, making it hard for Mike Gillislee to get anything going. 

    After a 34-carry, 146-yard performance against LSU, the senior running back has rushed for just 104 yards and no touchdowns during the last two weeks. 

    With a matchup against Georgia looming, the going won't get much easier for the run-oriented offense.

Winner: Defensive Line

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    For all the hoopla about Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor, the Gators' defensive line proved its a force to be reckoned with. 

    Sharrif Floyd—who resembles a hulking Ninja Turtle with his neck roll and massive upper body—led the way with four tackles, including one for loss, and a huge blocked field goal. 

    The true junior got plenty of help from the rest of Florida's deep group as Dante Fowler, Leon Orr and Dominique Easley combined for three sacks that resulted in 23 yards lost. 

    As long as this group continues to dictate the line of scrimmage, the Gators will keep rolling.  

Loser: Team Discipline

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    Besides the paltry rushing performance, there wasn't too much to criticize about the Gators on Saturday, however, one area that needs to be cleaned up is penalties. 

    On a day when South Carolina managed just 191 total yards of offense, Florida gave them 74 yards on seven penalties. 

    UF was flagged for three personal fouls, including two on the Gamecocks' first drive, which ended with a field goal.

    Will Muschamp certainly can't be pleased with giving away so much free yardage, so the Gators must be more disciplined on both sides of the ball. 

Winner: Special Teams

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    Whether it's Urban Meyer or Will Muschamp at the helm, one thing hasn't changed: The Gators have incredible special teams play. 

    UF made momentum-changing plays in the game's most under-appreciated facet, blocking a field goal and forcing three fumbles in the kicking game. 

    With the Gators off to a slow start offensively until late in the second quarter, the special teams gave the team life and the offense more possessions. 

    Luckily the Gators took advantage and put plenty of points on the board. 

Winner: Gator Nation

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    Sitting just five rows from the field, the celebration in the Swamp was deafening. 

    Many fans expected a close game that could have gone either way, but we were rewarded with a convincing thrashing against Steve Spurrier's No. 7 squad. 

    Between hosting College GameDay, getting redemption for the last two years, beating Spurrier and inching one step closer to an SEC East title, it was a victorious day all around for Gator Nation. 

    Will Muschamp got his signature win, and the Gators proved they're the real deal Saturday night. 

    Watch out Georgia, the Gators are on the prowl. 


    The video above was shot first-hand during the team's traditional postgame celebration near the student section of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.