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Florida vs. South Carolina: Game Grades, Analysis for Gators and Gamecocks

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2015

Florida running back Kelvin Taylor (21) runs for yardage as South Carolina safety T.J. Gurley (20) defends during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Columbia, S.C. Florida won 24-14. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press

The Florida Gators survived a furious fourth-quarter rally from the South Carolina Gamecocks, and kept their College Football Playoff hopes alive with a 24-14 win on the road on Saturday. 

In a matchup of two teams formerly headed by Steve Spurrier, the Gators defense was staunch for all but a few minutes late in this game, at one point only allowing 43 total yards into the fourth quarter. 

With that, let's check out the game grades for each team's positional units. 

Florida Gators

Rush Offense: B-

The Gators gained just 148 yards on the ground on Saturday, helmed by Kelvin Taylor's 105 yards on 20 carries. But it was Taylor's huge gain on third down late in the fourth quarter that put the game on the ice, and a final dagger is certainly worth a bump in grade. 

Pass Offense: B-

Treon Harris had two interceptions that helped keep the Gamecocks within striking distance throughout the contest. But he still had a touchdown pass to Jordan Cronkrite and finished with 19-of-33 passing with 256 yards while not making any blatantly terrible decisions. 

Rush Defense: A+

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Don't ever expect to make it out alive if you end up fighting the Florida defensive front in a foxhole. The Gators were animals upfront, giving up just 21 yards on the ground. Wideout Pharoh Cooper led the team with 16 yards rushing, 13 coming on one play. 

Pass Defense: A-

The Gamecocks were ultimately limited to just 180 passing yards, but the Florida secondary was gashed twice on consecutive drives in the second quarter, which helped let the Gamecocks back into the game. Florida still had two interceptions, but lapses in the fourth quarter can have dire consequences against better opponents. 

Special Teams: A

No gripes. Austin Hardin hit all his kicks, including a 39-yard kick. Johnny Townsend averaged 46.5 yards on four punts and the Gators didn't give up any huge returns. 

Coaching: A-

A 10-point win against a three-win team doesn't necessarily scream dominance. But this game was only close for a few fleeting moments in the fourth quarter. The Florida offense isn't dominant, but the Gators have perhaps the best defense in the country. Plus, winning on the road in the SEC is never easy. 

Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press

South Carolina Gamecocks

Rush Offense: F

What is there to say about the Gamecocks' rushing attack? They had 23 carries and just 21 yards—less than a yard per carry. Florida's defensive frontline is impressive, but the Gamecocks never found real estate on the ground. 

Pass Offense: C+

Collectively, the Gamecocks didn't get much going in the pass game either. Perry Orth was just 13-of-24 for 163 yards with two picks. However, it was the wide receiver pass from Pharoh Cooper to Orth, followed by Orth's touchdown pass back to Cooper in the fourth quarter that injected nearly enough energy to fuel a comeback. 

Rush Defense: B-

Overall, the Gamecocks' rush defense was solid, giving up just 148 yards on the ground. But it was the fourth quarter lapse—when Kelvin Taylor burst up the middle on 3rd-and-8 and got all the way to the 1-yard line—that squashed South Carolina's comeback. 

Pass Defense: B

The South Carolina secondary gave up 256 yards and a score but also had two picks on Treon Harris. The Gamecocks also got a decent pass rush on Harris to limit his options. Conkrite's first quarter touchdown was the longest pass play the Gamecocks gave up. Ultimately, they bent but didn't break. 

Special Teams: A 

No real issues here. Sean Kelly averaged 46 yards on six punts, while Elliott Fry connected on his only two extra points. 

Coaching: B-

Shawn Elliott just couldn't get his offense going until it was too little, too late on Saturday. The Gamecocks played better than expected but just couldn't get enough rhythm offensively to make a true game of it. 

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